NEH announces $17.9 million in awards and offers for 233 humanities projects

Project Y (Manhattan Project) at the Los Alamos lab, Los Alamos Historical Society
Photo caption

Project Y (Manhattan Project) at the Los Alamos lab.

A new NEH grant to the Los Alamos Historical Society will help conserve a collection of artifacts relating to the history of the Ancestral Pueblo people, the Manhattan Project, and Los Alamos in the post-WWII era.

Courtesy of the Los Alamos Historical Society

WASHINGTON, (December 4, 2014)

The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) announced today $17.9 million in grants for 233 humanities projects. These include research for a book on a Hollywood-based Jewish spy ring that infiltrated and sabotaged Nazi and fascist groups in the U.S. in the 1930s and 40s, and the conservation of artifacts pertaining to the history of the Ancestral Pueblo people, homesteaders, and the Manhattan Project held by the Los Alamos Historical Society.

Grant awards announced today will support a wide variety of projects, including research fellowships and awards for faculty, traveling exhibitions, the preservation of humanities collections at smaller institutions, and training programs to prepare libraries, museums, and archives to preserve and enhance access to their collections. Grants will also support humanities initiatives at historically black colleges, Hispanic-serving institutions, and tribal colleges and universities, and help institutions improve and secure long-term support for their humanities programs and resources. 

“It is my great pleasure to announce the latest round of NEH grant awards,” said NEH Chairman William Adams. “Whether through preserving important cultural artifacts or supporting new discoveries about our common past, NEH grants play a critical role in making the insights afforded by the humanities available to all to help us better understand ourselves, our culture, our society. The remarkable scope of projects represented here speaks powerfully to the depth and excellence of humanities work that is going on across the country.”

This award cycle also marks the first grants made under NEH’s new Digital Projects for the Public grant program. Projects supported through this program include the development of a 3D strategy game, “Pox in the City,” that will immerse players in the challenges of containing a smallpox outbreak in 1800s Philadelphia, and the creation of an interactive digital platform to provide cultural and social history for the AIDS Memorial Quilt.

Other funding will help preserve the personal papers of Lincoln University alumni Thurgood Marshall and Langston Hughes, and support applied research to determine a safe range for humidity levels for storage of rare books.

Among the grants announced are research fellowships to examine the ways in which the slave trade financed the importation of British books, many of which promoted abolitionism, indirectly contributing to the creation of libraries in early America, and for preparation of a biography of 18th century Shakespearean forger, William Henry Ireland.

Other supported projects include the establishment of a learning community at Virginia Union University focused on African-American heritage, the creation of an endowment for a center for southern studies at Mercer University, and the production of a documentary on Gertrude Bell, the English woman who played a decisive role in the history of Iraq and the modern Middle East. 

This award cycle, institutions and independent scholars in forty-two states and the District of Columbia will receive NEH support. Complete state-by-state listings of grants are available here (52-page PDF).  

In this cycle, grants were awarded in the following categories:

  • Awards for Faculty support advanced research in the humanities by teachers at Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Hispanic-Serving Institutions, and Tribal Colleges and Universities.
  • Bridging Cultures through Film Grants support the development and production of documentary films that examine international and transnational themes in the humanities.
  • Challenge Grants strengthen the humanities by encouraging non-federal sources of support and helping institutions secure long-term improvements in and support for their humanities programs and resources. Recipients are required to match NEH funds on a three-to-one or, in some cases, two-to-one basis.
  • Digital Projects for the Public Grants support projects such as websites, mobile applications, games, and virtual environments that significantly contribute to the public’s engagement with humanities ideas.
  • Fellowships support college and university teachers and independent scholars pursuing advanced research.
  • Fellowships for Advanced Social Science Research on Japan is a joint activity of the Japan-U.S. Friendship Commission (JASFC) and the NEH. Awards support research on modern Japanese society and political economy, Japan’s international relations, and U.S.- Japan relations.
  • Humanities Initiatives Grants are intended to strengthen and enrich humanities education and scholarship at Hispanic-Serving Institutions, Historically Black Colleges and Universities, and Tribal Colleges and Universities.
  • NEH On the Road Grants extend the reach of museum exhibitions redesigned for travel to smaller-scale institutions in cities throughout America.
  • Preservation and Access Research and Development Grants support projects that address major challenges in preserving or providing access to humanities collections and resources.
  • Preservation Assistance Grants help institutions—particularly small and mid-sized institutions—improve their ability to preserve and care for their humanities collections, including special collections of books and journals, archives and manuscripts, prints and photographs, moving images, sound recordings, architectural and cartographic records, decorative and fine arts, textiles, archaeological and ethnographic artifacts, furniture, and historical objects.
  • Preservation Education and Training Grants help the staff of cultural institutions obtain the knowledge and skills needed to serve as effective stewards of humanities collections. Grants also support educational programs that prepare the next generation of conservators and preservation professionals, as well as projects that introduce the staff of cultural institutions to recent improvements in preservation and access practices.
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