Two Maryland Institutions Receive NEH We the People Grants

ANNAPOLIS, Md., (September 27, 2004)

Humanities matching funds will bring up to $6 million for history programs in the state

Two Maryland cultural institutions will receive up to $1.5 million in NEH We the People Challenge Grants, the National Endowment for the Humanities announced today. These grants--and four others awarded in three other states--are the initial grants in a new special challenge grant competition that is part of the Endowment's We the People initiative, which supports model projects that strengthen the teaching, study, and understanding of American history and culture.

St. Mary's College of Maryland, in collaboration with Historic St. Mary's City, will receive up to $500,000 from NEH to support an endowment for staff and curricular programming at the Center for the Study of Democracy. The Center focuses on an interdisciplinary and hands-on understanding of early Maryland as an "emerging democracy" and applies the lessons of the region's history to a domestic and international discussion of democracy's role in the modern world. The Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History and Culture will receive up to $1 million from NEH to support an endowment for staff salaries, teacher development institutes and workshops, curriculum development, public programming, and acquisitions on the history and culture of African Americans in Maryland. The museum's signature interpretive program, "An African American Journey," will have an enduring impact on students and teachers as an integral part of the Maryland State Department of Education's state curriculum with dynamic lesson plans written by Maryland teachers and reviewed by nationally-renown scholars.

These new grants require the awarded institutions to match federal funds on a 3-to-1 basis and are offered to strengthen programs and institutions that focus on United States history and culture. The six institutions, if successful in raising the required $13.7 million in matching funds, will receive almost $4.6 million in federal funds from NEH. Together the federal and nonfederal funds will provide more than $18 million in new support for the humanities at these institutions.

"America's story traces its beginning back to the people and places of Maryland," said NEH Chairman Bruce Cole. "These two institutions will help citizens understand the price of freedom, the struggles for independence and rights, and the enduring ideals that define who we are as Americans and why. The people of Maryland should take great pride in knowing that their state is leading the way in conveying the lessons of history to audiences young and old, from coast to coast, and around the globe." Maryland Lt. Governor Michael S. Steele, host of today's announcement in the historic Maryland State House, said, "These awards reflect the excellence of these two institutions and their commitment to keeping alive the history of our state, from its first European settlement in St. Mary's City through the important contributions of Maryland's African Americans today." In addition to the awards in Maryland, the following institutions received We the People Challenge Grants:

  • Florida Department of State, Tallahassee, will receive up to $1,000,000 in NEH funds to support an endowment for archeological research and public programming at Mission San Luis, a historic site of Spanish and Native American interaction from the early era of the European colonization of North America;
  • Library Company of Philadelphia will receive up to $1,000,000 in NEH funds to support an endowment for research fellowships, acquisitions, and staff salaries for the Program in Early American Economy and Society;
  • National Constitution Center, Philadelphia, will receive up to $500,000 in NEH funds to support construction of a Changing Exhibits Gallery space and an endowment for partial support of the Director of Exhibits and expenses related to temporary exhibitions; and
  • University of Virginia's Miller Center of Public Affairs, Charlottesville, will receive up to $577,500 in NEH funds to acquire computer equipment and software, develop teaching modules, and endow staff salaries and workshops for, an online resource for studying the American presidency.

As part of the Endowment's We the People initiative, NEH invited proposals for challenge grants designed to help institutions and organizations secure long-term improvements in and support for humanities activities focused on exploring significant themes and events in American history, with particular interest in projects that advance knowledge of the founding principles of the United States in their full historical and institutional context.

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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