Budget seeks increases in funding for federal humanities grant programs
President Barack Obama’s fiscal year 2010 budget request for the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) seeks funding of $171.315 million, an increase of $16.315 million over the agency’s FY 2009 appropriation. The request includes $10 million for the Endowment to administer the National Capital Arts and Cultural Affairs program, which the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts currently operates. The 2010 request recommends enhanced support for many of the Endowment’s grant programs in the humanities, including significant increases both for the agency’s Federal/State Partnership and the 56 state humanities councils it supports, and for NEH programs that fund basic research and original scholarship in the humanities.
“The President’s budget request demonstrates his strong commitment to the humanities and will allow the Endowment to do more of what it does best—support excellent projects in all areas of the humanities for scholars, curators, teachers, students, and the general public throughout the nation,” said NEH Acting Chairman Carole M. Watson.
The FY 2010 budget request will enable the Endowment to provide support for projects to preserve significant cultural and intellectual resources and improve public and scholarly access to them. For example, NEH will establish a new grant program, “Sustaining Cultural Heritage Collections,” which will enable institutions to plan or implement preventative conservation measures that prolong the useful life of humanities collections. NEH also will reintroduce preservation research and development grants for projects that address major challenges in preserving and maintaining access to humanities collections and resources. Through its We the People program, NEH will continue to fund humanities projects that strengthen the teaching, study, and understanding of the nation’s history and culture. The proposed budget also will enable the Endowment to support both projects that enrich humanities teaching and learning in our nation’s schools and colleges, as well as those that provide opportunities for Americans to engage in lifelong learning in the humanities, such as projects for public audiences in anticipation of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, a national observance that will take place between 2011 and 2015.
The NEH cultivates the best in humanities scholarship and understanding by awarding grants to cultural institutions such as museums, archives, libraries, colleges and universities, public television and radio stations, as well as to individuals such as scholars and teachers. NEH grants support all types of humanities projects—from museum exhibitions, to documentary films, scholarly monographs, workshops for teachers, and preservation of archives and other cultural resources—to bring the wisdom of the humanities to all Americans. The NEH’s work is complemented and enhanced by the outstanding local programming of the 56 state and territorial humanities councils.
The agency’s FY 2010 budget request will support the following NEH strategic objectives:
- Improve the quality of humanities education offered to American schoolchildren and college students;
- Support and broaden the programs of the 56 state humanities councils;
- Preserve and democratize Americans’ access to important cultural and intellectual resources in the humanities;
- Provide opportunities for citizens of all ages to engage in a lifetime of learning in the humanities;
- Enhance NEH’s role as a leader in humanities research and scholarship and create new opportunities for scholars to advance our knowledge and understanding of the humanities;
- Encourage innovative uses of digital technology in humanities research, education, preservation and access, and public programming;
- Reinvigorate the study and understanding of the nation’s history and culture and enhance the study and understanding of the history and culture of other nations; and
- Stimulate nonfederal support for the nation’s cultural and educational institutions and for humanities projects and programs.
Additionally, the request includes new oversight responsibility for the National Capital Arts and Cultural Affairs program. With the program’s transfer from the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts, NEH will manage a redesigned program of competitive grants to arts, historical, and cultural institutions in the District of Columbia.
Additional information is available in the summary and highlights (7-page PDF) or the detailed budget request (97-page PDF) of the Endowment's FY 2010 appropriation request. A table (1-page PDF) with the FY 2010 funding request figures, by division and office with FY 2008 and FY 2009 appropriation amounts, is available as well.