New Grants to Support Humanities Preservation Efforts

WASHINGTON, (December 29, 2003)


Awards include U.S. Newspaper Program and nine education and training projects

The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) today announced that 162 U.S. cultural institutions in 41 states and the District of Columbia will receive $5.5 million for projects that will take steps to preserve significant books, newspapers, films, audio recordings, papers, and other important records of cultural history. Several of these projects also have received offers of federal matching funds totaling $260,000; institutions receiving such offers must generate equivalent support from individual, foundation, and corporate donors.

The new NEH grants include four projects that will advance the Endowment's program for the preservation of U.S. newspapers, nine education and training projects, which include three regional preservation field service programs, and 149 "Preservation Assistance Grants" for projects in museums, libraries, and archives across the country. A complete list of new humanities preservation and access grants is available as an Adobe PDF file in the above box.

"Too many of our significant cultural materials are threatened with physical deterioration as they age in our nation's libraries, museums, and archives," said NEH Chairman Bruce Cole. "These new grants demonstrate the Endowment's longstanding commitment to supporting the work of protecting and preserving these materials for study by future generations of Americans." The Endowment's U.S. Newspaper Program (USNP) is a cooperative national effort to locate, catalog, preserve on microfilm, and make available to researchers newspapers published in the United States from the 18th century to the present. With technical support provided by the Library of Congress, NEH supports statewide projects conducted in accordance with national standards and best practices. Four USNP projects will receive new grants totaling more than $1.8 million to continue ongoing projects in Illinois (Chicago Historical Society), Michigan (Central Michigan University, Mount Pleasant), New York (University of the State of New York, Albany), and Pennsylvania (Pennsylvania State University, University Park).

Nine of the grants announced today will support education and training, which is an important component of the Endowment's national preservation effort. Three grants (University of Delaware, Newark; State University of New York (SUNY) Research Foundation, Buffalo; and the University of Texas, Austin) will support graduate-level programs in the preservation of cultural collections. A fourth grant (New York University, Tisch School of the Arts) will support the development and implementation of a master's degree program in archiving and preserving moving images. Grants to the Upper Midwest Conservation Association (Minneapolis, Minn.), the Southeastern Library Network, Inc. (Atlanta, Ga.), and the Conservation Center for Art and Historic Artifacts (Philadelphia, Pa.) will support regional preservation field service programs that provide surveys, workshops and seminars, disaster assistance, and information services to the staff of museums, historical organizations, libraries, and archives in the Upper Midwest, Southeast, and Mid-Atlantic regions, respectively.

Three years ago NEH launched Preservation Assistance Grants, a new grant category to enhance the capacity of institutions to preserve their humanities collections and to reach libraries, archives, museums, and historical organizations that do not normally compete for NEH funding through its other preservation categories. With awards of up to $5,000, recipients may use these grants to support

  • preservation assessments of their collections (e.g., California State Railroad Museum, Sacramento; Maine Historical Society, Portland; Mepkin Abbey, Moncks Corner, S.C.);
  • consultations with preservation professionals (e.g., Denver Museum of Nature and Science, Colo.; Cascade County Historical Society, Great Falls, Mont.; Institute of American Indian Arts, Santa Fe, N.M.);
  • attendance at preservation training events (e.g., Tampa Bay Library Consortium, Inc., Tampa, Fla.; Massachusetts Audubon Society, Lincoln; Portland State University, Portland, Ore.); and
  • the purchase of preservation supplies and equipment (e.g., Museum of Northern Arizona, Flagstaff; Western Carolina University, Cullowhee, N.C.; Richard I. Bong WWII Heritage Center, Superior, Wis.).

NEH grants are awarded on a competitive basis. Throughout the year, humanities experts outside of the Endowment and members of the National Council on the Humanities consider all applications and advise NEH on the quality and significance of each proposed project.

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