The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) will mark the 10th anniversary of the tragedy of September 11th with a series of events and opportunities for remembrance and reflection across the country.
The September 11 Digital Archive, created by the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media at George Mason University and the American Social History Project at the City University of New York Graduate Center, is the largest public collection of digital materials produced in the wake of 9/11. The online collection contains more than 150,000 items, including first-hand accounts, emails, digital photographs, videos, and artworks created in response to the events of 9/11. The preservation of this born-digital archive has been supported by a “Save America’s Treasures” grant administered by the National Endowment for the Humanities in partnership with the National Park Service, the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Institute of Museum and Library Services.
In New York, NEH’s state partner, the New York Humanities Council is sponsoring a Community Conversations series around the 9/11 National Day of Service and Remembrance. In more than 100 classrooms, museums, libraries, and community centers around the state, New Yorkers will gather to participate in community-based discussions exploring how New Yorkers and people everywhere were transformed and interconnected in the aftermath of 9/11. Each conversation uses a short text as a catalyst for discussions about the ways people responded to the events of 9/11. The Council also provides online toolkits for “do-it-yourself” discussions that include texts suitable for different age groups, a series of questions and guidelines for starting conversations, and tips on how to host a conversation about this difficult topic. Consult the Council’s events calendar to find a local Community Conversation on 9/11 for adults, young adults, and kids in the New York area.
The Illinois Humanities Council, in partnership with the Project on Civic Reflection, Fourth Presbyterian Church, and WBEZ will lead public discussions on remembering and making meaning of 9/11 at three venues in Chicago on the morning of Monday, September 12th. Those unable to attend in person may listen to a WBEZ broadcast of a conversation on the same topic between local academic, civic, and community leaders.
At the Penn Museum in Philadelphia, Outside the Wire’s Theater of War will perform dramatic readings of scenes from Joseph Addison’s Cato, a Tragedy for military personnel and their families as a catalyst for town hall-style discussions about the lasting impact of the September 11 attacks on U.S. citizens, communities, and the nation at large. First performed in 1713, Cato – a once wildly popular play beloved by the Founding Fathers—follows the Roman Senator Cato in his final days, recounting his last stand against the tyranny of Julius Caesar. This interactive event is supported by the Pennsylvania Humanities Council.
NEH’s educational website EDSITEment also provides a range of materials for parents and schoolteachers on teaching the history and context of 9/11 and how to communicate with children about the 9/11 attacks. The site offers an interactive timeline of September 11, 2001, information and worksheets on efforts to memorialize 9/11, suggested essay and discussion topics, and lesson plans built around the question “What Makes a Hero?”