The NEH, Given a Reprieve (for Now), Doles Out $39.3 Million to Fund US Humanities Projects

The agency has had a difficult year.

The NEH helps support the preservation of Tulsa's Philbrook Museum of Art in Oklahoma. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) has awarded $39.3 million worth of grants to 245 humanities projects across the US. Beneficiaries range from an exhibition of George O’Keeffe’s rarely seen commercial art to a film about the lives of Mexican immigrants in California.

The third and final funding round of the fiscal year will be watched more closely than usual amid an ongoing battle over the agency’s future. Trump has pledged to eliminate the NEA, along with the National Endowment for the Arts. But the House Appropriations Committee recently approved a bill to fund the agency through 2018. (Congress has yet to fully vote on the measure.)

The latest grants illustrate the breadth of the NEH’s program, which supports museums, archives, universities, state humanities councils, and individual scholars.

At $5.87 million, the bulk of the funding has been earmarked for scholarly editions and translations. The agency will finance the publication of presidential papers from the second term of George Washington’s tenure, John Adams’ final months in office, and James Monroe’s presidency.

Meanwhile, the national digital newspaper program, which focuses on the creation of a historically significant digital newspaper archive between 1690 and 1963, will receive $3.57 million. The NEH also issued an $8,000 grant to an initiative that will help bring smaller versions of major NEH-funded exhibitions to regional museums around the country.

“NEH grants ensure that Americans around the country have the opportunity to engage with our shared cultural heritage,” NEH Acting Chairman Jon Parrish Peede said in a statement. “From traveling exhibitions and teacher workshops to efforts to preserve local history, these projects demonstrate the power of the humanities to build connections, stimulate discovery, and contribute to vibrant communities.”

Other projects awarded funding include Blue Star Families’ “Books on Bases” program to bolster literacy for military families; the digitization of historical Civil War records in Kentucky; and the preservation of artifacts salvaged from the Civil War-era warship USS Monitor in Virginia.

A full list of grants by geographic location is available here.


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