Washington, DC (January 10, 2023) — The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) today announced $28.1 million in grants for 204 humanities projects across the country. These include the expansion of the “Mapping Color in History” portal, which allows art historians to track historical and scientific data on paint pigments used in South Asian and Himalayan art, and the production of an educational game and website that teaches Hopi heritage, history, and culture through a virtual reality-based interaction with two heritage sites, Balcony House in Colorado and Wupatki National Monument in Arizona.
“The range, diversity, and creativity of these new projects speak to the wealth of humanities ideas and deep engagement of humanities practitioners across our country,” said NEH Chair Shelly C. Lowe (Navajo). “From Tulsa, Oklahoma, to Hilo, Hawai‘i, NEH funding reaches thousands of towns and communities, supporting local organizations, fostering creative projects, and providing access to high-quality humanities for all Americans.”
Numerous grants awarded today support innovative projects that use emerging digital tools and technologies to further humanities research and increase the accessibility of public programs, cultural and archival materials, and educational resources for large audiences. New funding will support the creation of a virtual museum showcasing murals and other works created by New Deal artists in Gallup, New Mexico; augment the SlaveVoyages website to include data on slave trade networks across the Indian Ocean and Asia between 1500 and 1939; and create “Jane Austen’s Desk,” an immersive web platform that will let users explore Austen’s writings, personal artifacts, and historical documents within a recreated interior of the writer’s home. Two other grants will enable creation of a web tool to transcribe polyphonic music composed before the 1300s in standard musical notation and engage undergraduate researchers and scholars in a cooperative research and teaching project to create a virtual reality model of a Viking longship.
Sixteen new NEH Infrastructure and Capacity Building Challenge Grants will leverage federal funding to stimulate private investment in capital improvement projects at historical and cultural institutions. Among these are a grant to support restoration work and structural upgrades to the Miami Freedom Tower, considered the “Ellis Island of the South” for its role as an assistance center for Cuban refugees in the 1960s, and funding for renovations to the North County Children’s Museum in Potsdam, New York, to increase space for exhibitions and public programs.
Other awards support the long-term care of the nation’s humanities and cultural heritage collections by funding research into new methods of preventative conservation, and preservation training for staff involved in collections care. These include an award to Bay Area Video Coalition to conduct a national assessment of audiovisual preservation in the United States to develop resources and best practices for archiving and preserving fragile audiovisual heritage materials; and a grant to the Florida Institute of Technology to develop machine learning methods for identifying ancient Indus civilization scripts on digitized archaeological materials. Additional funding will support the creation of a field school at the Brush Arbor Cemetery in Starkville, Mississippi, to train undergraduate and graduate students in culturally sensitive community-based archiving and research practices for documenting the history of African-American heritage sites, and the expansion of emergency preparedness training programs and disaster-response resources available to cultural organizations through the Foundation for Advancement in Conservation’s Alliance for Response program.
NEH Humanities Initiatives grants will fund educational resources, programs, curricula, and other projects that enhance teaching and learning in the humanities at 29 two- and four-year colleges and universities. These awards will support: the creation of a minor in medical and health humanities at Sam Houston State University; the development of a curriculum at the University of Denver to engage students in community-based archival research on the history of youth activism in the Chicano movement, El Movimiento, in Colorado, New Mexico, and Wyoming; a faculty and student project at Georgia College to collect oral histories related to the life and works of Flannery O’Connor; and the expansion of Portland State University’s Higher Education in Prison Program providing college-level liberal arts courses to incarcerated students at a women’s correctional facility.
Newly awarded NEH Fellowships and Awards for Faculty will support advanced research and writing projects by humanities scholars on topics such as the business practices of family joint-stock companies operating in the Levant between 1830 and 1930; the history of Moscow’s Kamerny Theatre, an influential avant-garde theater founded by Ukrainian-Jewish director Alexander Tairov and dissolved during Stalin’s purges in 1950; attitudes toward old age in the early American republic; the role of the Highlander Folk School in Tennessee in training leaders of the civil rights movement; and an account of Hollywood’s “dance-ins” of the 1940s-60s, the uncredited dancers who rehearsed a star’s choreography prior to filming during the Golden Age of the Hollywood musical.
This funding cycle also includes a $1.7 million cooperative agreement with the education nonprofit iCivics for the continuation of the Educating for American Democracy initiative. With previous funding from NEH and the Department of Education, the nonprofit—in partnership with research centers and schools at Harvard, Arizona State, and Tufts universities—led a task force of educators, scholars, and policymakers in developing “The Roadmap to Educating for American Democracy,” which offers a framework for teaching K-12 civics and history. This new two-year agreement will support the implementation of the Roadmap in K-5 pilot programs at elementary schools serving urban, rural, and tribal communities. The implementation project includes the creation of an advisory team of museums, historical sites, and other informal educational organizations to provide teacher training and assist schools in developing curricula that align with state standards, and the establishment of a task force to evaluate the pilot programs’ progress and identify best practices that can guide other educators in adapting the Roadmap’s recommendations to their own school systems. The partnership is funded through NEH’s new special initiative, American Tapestry: Weaving Together Past, Present & Future, which invests in programs that support civics education, foster civic engagement, increase media and information literacy, and examine threats to America’s democracy.
In addition to these direct grant awards, NEH provides operating support to the agency’s humanities council partners, which make NEH-funded grants throughout the year in every U.S. state and territory.
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 www.neh.gov.