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NEH Announces $21.1 Million for 248 Humanities Projects

New grant awards support veterans’ discussion groups and humanities at community colleges


National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH)

WASHINGTON (March 23, 2016) — The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) today announced $21.1 million in grants for 248 humanities projects. Among these is a grant for the creation of a free online archive of 65,000 personal interviews collected since 2003 by the national oral history project, StoryCorps.

“NEH grants bring the humanities to life for Americans by helping preserve valuable cultural resources, advancing research, and supporting films and exhibitions that communicate the lessons of history and culture to new audiences,” said NEH Chairman William D. Adams. “We are pleased to announce our support for these 248 exceptional research, educational, preservation, and public programs in the humanities.”

This round of funding marks the first grant awards made under two new NEH grant programs: Dialogues on the Experience of War and Humanities Initiatives at Community Colleges. These programs were created under the NEH initiative The Common Good: The Humanities in the Public Square, which seeks to demonstrate and enhance the role of the humanities in civic life.

Among the projects funded through Dialogues on the Experience of War grants is a literature and film discussion program focusing on World War I and the Vietnam War for veterans in Alabama communities and related semester-length courses in Alabama state correctional facilities. Twelve Humanities Initiatives at Community Colleges grants were awarded, including to Sitting Bull College in North Dakota to record and preserve interviews with native speakers of the Lakota/Dakota language for use in language classes at the tribal college. 

Institutions and independent scholars in 44 states and the District of Columbia will receive NEH support. Complete state-by-state listings of grants are available here (47-page PDF).

These new NEH grants support projects ranging from scholarly research and traveling exhibitions to the production and development of films and creation of new undergraduate courses in the humanities. Grants will also support new digital tools for study of the humanities, efforts to expand access to historic collections, and the study and preservation of languages at risk of extinction.

They include a grant to develop digital methods of cataloguing, searching, and analyzing thousands of ancient graffiti left by Romans on the walls of Herculaneum and Pompeii. NEH summer stipends will allow scholars to write about depictions of women of the Assyrian Court in sculptures excavated at the ancient Iraqi site of Nimrud—which was destroyed in 2015—and research student exchange programs between the U.S. and Nazi Germany in the 1930s.

One documentary project supported by this round of NEH grants is the production of a film on school desegregation in Mississippi by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Douglas Blackmon. Another project focusing on American history is a traveling exhibition examining New Orleans’ role as the country’s largest and most profitable slave market from 1808 until the end of the Civil War.

Grants were awarded in the following categories (asterisk denotes new grant programs created under the Common Good initiative):

Dialogues on the Experience of War*

Support the study and discussion of important humanities sources about war and military service

Digital Humanities Start-Up Grants  

Encourage innovations in the digital humanities by supporting the planning stages of projects

Documenting Endangered Languages Fellowships and Preservation Grants

A joint initiative between NEH and the National Science Foundation (NSF) to support fieldwork and other activities relevant to recording, documenting, and archiving endangered languages, as well as the preparation of transcriptions, databases, grammars and lexicons of languages that are in danger of being lost

Enduring Questions Grants  

Allow faculty members to develop a new undergraduate course that grapples with a fundamental question addressed by the humanities

Fellowship Programs at Independent Research Institutions

Provide scholars with research time and access to resources that might not be available at their home institutions  

Humanities Collections and Reference Resources Grants

Allow institutions to preserve and provide access to collections essential to scholarship, education, and public programming in the humanities

Humanities Initiatives at Community Colleges*  

Strengthen and enrich humanities education and scholarship at two-year institutions

Media Projects: Development Grants

Enable media producers to collaborate with scholars to develop humanities content and to prepare programs for production  

Media Projects: Production Grants  

Support the preparation of a media program for distribution  

Museums, Libraries, and Cultural Organizations: Planning and Implementation Grants

Support exhibitions, reading and discussion programs, and other interpretive humanities projects for broad public audiences

NEH On the Road Grants

Bring NEH-funded traveling exhibitions to small and mid-sized museums across the country

Summer Stipends Support full-time work by a scholar on a humanities project for a period of two months


About the National Endowment for the Humanities

Created in 1965 as an independent federal agency, the National Endowment for the Humanities supports research and learning in history, literature, philosophy, and other areas of the humanities by funding selected, peer-reviewed proposals from around the nation. Additional information about the National Endowment for the Humanities and its grant programs is available at:

Media Contacts: Paula Wasley at (202) 606-8424 or