The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) today announced $18.6 million in grants for 199 humanities projects across the country. These grants will provide digital access to the personal papers of Helen Keller and enable the creation of a new permanent exhibition at the Delta Blues Museum on the history and influence of this quintessential American musical genre. “These new NEH-supported projects deepen our understanding and appreciation of the traditions, values, and historical figures who have shaped our country,” said NEH Senior Deputy Chairman Jon Parrish Peede.
These projects help preserve and tell the story of essential chapters of American history, such as the digitization of artifacts excavated at Plimoth Plantation documenting the daily lives of early English settlers and Native American inhabitants of the area, and work at the American Discography Project to make Thomas Edison phonograph recordings available online through the Library of Congress’s National Jukebox archive.
Other projects illuminate the unique history and culture of a particular state, city, or region. “New England’s Hidden Histories” will collect and publish 18,000 pages of records from the nation’s founding era from the archives of northeastern churches, while a grant to the New-York Historical Society will provide for the digitization of 66,000 photographs documenting the construction of the New York subway system. Other funding will support creation of a new permanent exhibition at the Idaho State Museum on the role of Native Americans in the history and culture of Idaho.
Additional awards will ensure the preservation of nearly 30,000 pounds of correspondence, manuscripts, photographs, and memorabilia from author Ray Bradbury, and support production of a documentary on the life and legacy of Mae West, one of the most powerful women of early Hollywood, whose writing and film roles served as a barometer ofrapidly changing social mores in 20th-century America.
Projects funded through NEH Dialogues on the Experience of War grants will support humanities-based programs for military veterans and their families. These include a grant to Aquila Theatre for Citizen Soldiers, which trains veterans and civilians to conduct public performance-and-discussion events on war-related themes in classical Greek and contemporary American drama.
NEH Summer Stipends for scholars will enable archival research for more than 60 publications, including a book exploring the rise of forensic science in the 19th century and a cultural history of the Social Security number.
Other supported projects include curricular efforts at the University of Dayton to develop undergraduate courses and experiential learning opportunities in American history, music, sociology, and computer science related to the life and work of Paul Laurence Dunbar, Dayton native and prominent African-American writer, and an initiative at Pawnee Nation College in Oklahoma to integrate Pawnee language, history, and culture into the tribal college’s natural science curriculum.
NEH Documenting Endangered Languages grants, administered in partnership with the National Science Foundation (NSF), will provide for a digital repository of Coeur d’Alene, a nearly extinct Salish language spoken in northern Idaho, to facilitate language revitalization. And grants awarded through Humanities Open Book, a joint venture between NEH and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, will give second life to important out-of-print humanities books on classics, medieval studies, American, European, and Asian history, and science education.
Grants were awarded in the following categories:
Dialogues on the Experience of War
Support the study and discussion of important humanities sources about war and military service. 13 grants, totaling $1.2 million.
Documenting Endangered Languages Fellowships and Preservation Grants
Joint initiative between NEH and the National Science Foundation (NSF) to support fieldwork and other activities relevant to recording, preparation, and archiving endangered languages, as well as the preparation of transcriptions, databases, grammars, and lexicons of languages that are in danger of being lost. 10 grants, totaling $733,828.
Fellowship Programs at Independent Research Institutions
Provide scholars with research time and access to resources beyond what is available at their home institutions. 9 grants, totaling $1.6 million.
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. 41 grants, totaling $7.5 million.
Expand the role of the humanities in the undergraduate curriculum at two- and four-year institutions. 23 grants, totaling $1.3 million.
Humanities Open Book
A joint program with the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to give a second life to outstanding out-of-print books in the humanities by turning them into freely accessible e-books. 3 grants, totaling $491,715.
Media Projects: Production Grants
Support the preparation of media programs for distribution. 5 grants, totaling $2.2 million.
NEH On the Road
Bring NEH-funded traveling exhibitions to small and mid-sized museums across the country. 12 grants, totaling $12,000.
Next Generation PhD
Support efforts by institutions to plan for and implement changes that transform scholarly preparation in the humanities at the doctoral level and incorporate broader career preparation for PhD candidates. 4 grants, totaling $89,146.
Public Humanities Projects: Community Conversations
Support one- to two-year-long series of community-wide public programs that are centered on one or more significant humanities resources, such as historic artifacts, artworks, literature, musical composition, or films. 3 grants, totaling $1 million.
Public Humanities Projects: Exhibitions
Support permanent exhibitions that will be on view for at least three years, or traveling exhibitions that will be available to public audiences in at least two venues in the United States (including the originating location). 10 grants, totaling $2 million.
Public Humanities Projects: Historic Places
Support the interpretation of historic sites, houses, neighborhoods, and regions. 1 grant, totaling $52,532
Support full-time work by a scholar on a humanities project for a period of two months. 65 grants, totaling $390,000.