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NEH in the News

Selected articles on NEH-supported projects.
Posted: June 21, 2018 Communities First to host dialogues on Michigan water, Great Lakes

Communities First Inc. was recently awarded a $5,000 grant to engage the Flint community in conversations around the cultural, social, historical, and environmental impact that the Great Lakes have on Michigan residents. Communities First was one of 15 organizations to receive the grant, awarded by The Michigan Humanities Council and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

“This grant allows us to combine aspects of our popular Culture Shock and Green Life programs to offer a unique experience for Flint families. We are excited to receive this grant and look forward to the dialogue this project will create,” said Glenn Wilson, Communities First Inc. CEO and president.

Communities First's Green Life program will use the funds to facilitate three different community conversations about the topic of Michigan water and shorelines. The conversations will explore the personal connections minority or underserved Flint residents may or may not feel with the "Third Coast" and the importance of Michigan's coastline to the entire state and its residents.

Posted: June 20, 2018 Duluth Students Take First Place at National History Day Contest
Fox 21 Online

Two Duluth students won first place in the Junior Group Exhibit category at the national finals for the National History Day Contest at the University of Maryland, College Park on June 14.

Colin McShane and Chase Baumgarten took the top prize with their project titled, The U.S. Government vs. the Reserve Mining Company: A Compromise of Environment and Industry.

Both students attend Stella Maris Academy – St. John’s Campus in Duluth and received a $1,000 cash prize sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the title of NEH Scholar.

Contest officials say that more than half a million students from all 50 states, and some international schools, competed in this year’s contest.

“The National History Day Contest requires intensive research and analytical thinking skills,” said National History Day Executive Director Dr. Cathy Gorn. “Each student involved in the competition spends countless hours researching, writing, and editing. Only the top projects make it to the National Contest and it requires a truly superb entry to win. These students should be proud of this accomplishment.”

National History Day is a nonprofit organization based in College Park that seeks to improve the teaching and learning of history.

Posted: June 20, 2018 East Haddam Student Awarded At National History Day Contest
The Haddams Patch

Last week, 66 students represented Connecticut at the prestigious 2018 National History Day Contest at the University of Maryland. Having won statewide competitions, they joined more than 3,000 students from the U. S. and overseas to compete at the national level.

According to a news release, high school and middle school students wrote papers, created exhibits, produced documentaries, designed websites and staged performances Inspired by the theme "Conflict & Compromise in History," exploring topics ranging from discrimination and child labor to women's rights.

Mia Porcello, from St. Timothy's School in West Hartford, was selected to attend the June 13 National Endowment for the Humanities Day on the Hill event. She journeyed to Capitol Hill with 20 other National History Day Contestants to meet with her members of Congress and tour the U.S. Capitol.

Posted: June 20, 2018 Live 765: Robots, a modern opera, coming to Delphi this weekend
Journal & Courier

The Delphi Opera House has not actually staged an opera since the first — and only — production back in 1882, when the Litta Opera Company from Chicago performed. The stage is not very large, said Brosman, which might make a full-scale production difficult to accommodate. “Robots,” however, is set in a classroom and is a single set, making it perfect for the venue.

“It deals with elementary students; the message and delivery are simple,” she said. “It works for us and works for the show.”

The cast is small — only 11 members — and there is no orchestra, only a piano.

The opera is part of the Red Brick Theatre series, a collaboration between the Delphi Opera House and the Delphi Public Library, and is funded in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities as part of the Indiana Humanities’ One State/One Story: Frankenstein. Organizations around the state received stipends and books promoting the 200th anniversary of Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein.”

Posted: June 19, 2018 Dresden students place second in National History Day competition
Zanesville Times Recorder

Dresden students, Sylvie Devore and Haley Rutan, came in second in the Junior Group Website division of last week’s National History Day competition.

Devore and Rutan developed a website in reference to The Indian Removal Act: Conflict, Compromise, and Displacement of the Five Civilized Tribes.

Sofia Fish and Azalea Rohr, of Sanford Middle School in Minneapolis, Minnesota, won the category with a website on the Great Lakes Great Legacy?: The Compromise of the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement.

More than a half-million students around the world entered the contest at the local level, with the top entries advancing to state/affiliate contests.

The top two entries in each category were invited to the National Contest at the University of Maryland, College Park. Competitors represented the 57 affiliate members, including every state, Washington, D.C., American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, and international schools in South Korea, South Asia, and China. More than 3,000 middle and high school students presented documentaries, exhibits, papers, performances, and websites related to the 2018 theme Conflict & Compromise in History.

First-place entries in the junior and senior division’s five categories of documentary, exhibit, paper, performance, and website are given the title, “National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Scholar” and receive a $1,000 award sponsored by NEH, while second and third-place entries in all categories receive $500 and $250, respectively.

Posted: June 19, 2018 Optical scanning technology used to restore wax recordings of indigenous languages
Tech Xplore

A team of researchers at UC Berkeley has embarked on a project to save wax recordings made a century ago using modern technology—they are calling it the "Documenting Endangered Languages" initiative. As they describe in a post they have made on the UC Berkeley Library website, the group has plans to use optical scanning technology to retrieve the recordings and then to save them in digital format.

The recordings were made using the Edison phonograph (some in 1900 and some in 1938) and are part of a collection of recordings of indigenous people speaking, singing or praying. The recordings were made by anthropologists interested in studying the languages spoken by in California. The subjects sang or spoke into the wide-open end of a megaphone connected to a device that recorded the sounds onto wax cylinders. Those cylinders now reside at Berkeley's Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology. Over time, the cylinders have degraded or have been damaged in other ways. In this new effort, which is part of a larger effort called Project IRENE, the team plans to transfer those songs or spoken words from the wax cylinders to digital media to preserve them.

The optical scanning method used by the group was developed by a team at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab and is based on a chromatic confocal microscope. It works by taking very precise measurements of the as it rotates. The measurements are then used to create a three-dimensional map of the cylinder. Another computer is used to read the maps and specially designed software converts it to sound. In addition to recovering sound from the cylinders, the software can also filter noise.

The initiative is being sponsored by the National Science Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities. The goal is to transfer and preserve approximately 100 hours of audio representing 78 indigenous languages, many of which no longer exist. Retrieving them from the cylinders, the researchers note, is the only way to preserve them. They report that some of the results will be made available online. Others, will not, however, as they represent culturally sensitive material.

Posted: June 19, 2018 'House and Home' exhibit opens today at Kennedy-Douglass
Times Daily

An On The Road exhibition has found a home, sweet home, this summer at the Kennedy-Douglass Center for the Arts.

The National Endowment for Humanities On the Road Exhibition, titled, "House and Home," opens today at the Kennedy-Douglass Center, 217 E. Tuscaloosa St., according to a release from the city's Department of Arts and Museums.

"House and Home" is provided by the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C., in partnership with the Mid-America Art Alliance.

According to the department release, the exhibit is designed to share the story of American housing and neighborhoods. It "draws on themes originated by the National Building Museum to encourage visitors to explore how our ideal of the perfect house and our experience of what it means to 'be at home' have changed over time," the release states.

Domestic furnishings, home construction materials, photographs, films and interactive features are included in the exhibit. "Together, the objects and images illustrate how transformations in technology, government policy, and consumer culture have impacted American domestic life," the release states.

The city received a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities for public programming to go along with the exhibit. The first program is called "Our Neighborhood" and will be at 6 p.m. July 12 at the Florence Indian Mound Museum. It includes a question-and-answer session with panelists Mary Shell, a preservation planner with the Alabama Historic Commission; Florence Planning Director Melissa Bailey; and Jason Fondren, planning consultant with Birmingham's KPS Group.

Posted: June 15, 2018 New 2-Part American Experience Documentary THE CIRCUS Premieres October 8-9 on PBS
Broadway World

"The Circus,"a four-hour, two-part documentary, explores the colorful history of this popular, influential and distinctly American form of entertainment, from the first one-ring show at the end of the 18th century to 1956, when the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey big top was pulled down for the last time. Written, directed and produced by Sharon Grimberg and executive produced by Mark Samels, "The Circus" premieres on AMERICAN EXPERIENCE Monday and Tuesday, October 8-9, 2018,9:00-11:00 p.m. ET (check local listings) on PBS.

A transformative place for reinvention, where young women could become lion tamers and young men traveled the world as roustabouts, THE CIRCUS allowed people to be liberated from the roles assigned by society and find an accepting community that had eluded them elsewhere. Drawing upon a vast and richly visual archive and featuring a host of performers, historians and aficionados, "The Circus" brings to life an era when Circus Day would shut down a town, its stars were among the most famous people in the country, and multitudes of Americans gathered to see the improbable and the impossible, the exotic and the spectacular.

"There's nothing in the world like a circus," said ringmaster Johnathan Lee Iverson. "You cannot come to a circus and still believe as you previously did. Circus is a peek into what we could be, how great we could be, how beautiful our world could be. It's about making your own miracles, conjuring your own miracles.

Major funding for AMERICAN EXPERIENCE provided by Liberty Mutual Insurance, Consumer Cellular and by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. Major funding for "The Circus" provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the Human Endeavor. Additional funding for AMERICAN EXPERIENCE provided by the Robert David Lion Gardiner Foundation, The Documentary Investment Group: Burton D. and Gloria Rose, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and public television viewers. AMERICAN EXPERIENCE is produced for PBS by WGBH Boston.

Posted: June 15, 2018 Libraries celebrate Juneteenth in Kenton and Humboldt
Star News

Two local library branches plan special events to celebrate Juneteenth, sometimes called Independence Day or Freedom Day, especially in African American communities.

It commemorates the arrival of Union soldiers in Texas on June 19, 1865, two years after the Emancipation Proclamation, when they announced that slavery was abolished in Texas and other Confederate states.

From 2-4 p.m. June 17, the history of Juneteenth, early literacy and stories from Eva Abrams of Rainwater Storytelling will be featured at the Kenton Library, 8226 N. Denver Ave. Kenton also will have family crafts, books, prizes and light refreshments.

The North Portland Library, 512 N. Killingsworth St., will have a program of words and music from 3-4:30 p.m. June 17. Events at both branches are supported by The National Endowment for the Humanities and The Library Foundation.

Posted: June 15, 2018 Lecture series: 500 years of maritime Florida
Historic City News

St Augustine Lighthouse and Maritime Museum informed local Historic City News reporters that an archaeological speakers series will be held beginning this month and running through March 2019.

Thanks to a grant from the Florida Humanities Council with funds from the National Endowment for the Humanities.