Enfilade

NEH Announces $28.4 Million for 239 Projects

Posted in museums, resources by Editor on August 20, 2021

Selections from the press release (17 August 2021):

The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) today announced $28.4 million in grants for 239 humanities projects across the country. . . .This round of funding will support vital research, education, preservation, digital, and public programs. These peer-reviewed grants were awarded in addition to $53.2 million in annual operating support provided to the national network of state and jurisdictional humanities councils. . . .

Several projects receiving grants today will help preserve fragile historical and cultural collections and make them more accessible to the broader public, such as grants to safeguard the Providence Atheneum’s collection of rare books, pamphlets, and artwork—which includes rare first editions of works by Walt Whitman, Louisa May Alcott, and Herman Melville, nineteenth-century antislavery and temperance pamphlets, and a 25-volume reference work on Egypt commissioned by Napoleon Bonaparte.

A grant to the Oneida Indian Nation will help preserve tribal archives containing textiles, artifacts, and historical records documenting the Nation’s history, including the personal papers of Chief William Rockwell, who played a pivotal role in a U.S. Supreme Court case preserving the Oneida Reservation, and the pipe of Chief Skenondoa, an American Revolutionary War hero involved in the 1794 Canandaigua Treaty recognizing Oneida sovereignty and land rights.

NEH Preservation Assistance Grants will improve preservation conditions for valuable humanities collections at seventy-one smaller museums, archives, and historical societies across the country. . . .

Forty institutions received grants to support professional development and research opportunities for K–12 and college teachers through summer workshops and institutes on humanities topics such as: the social and cultural history of the space race on Florida’s ‘Space Coast’; the role of books in circulating the ideals of the American Revolution; the twelfth-century migration of Pueblo communities from Chaco Canyon, the hub of Puebloan civilization in northwestern New Mexico, to the Mesa Verde region of southwestern Colorado; the overlooked histories of ten influential African-American women who helped define American ideals from the Revolutionary Era to the early twentieth century; and accounts of the 1918 influenza pandemic in history and literature.

This round of funding also marks the addition of the Boston Public Library as a hub for the National Digital Newspaper project, expanding the reach of the Chronicling America online database of historical American newspapers to include newspapers published in Massachusetts between 1690 and 1963. Additional funding awarded in this round will support ongoing newspaper digitization work in Arkansas, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Montana, Rhode Island, Texas, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

A number of newly funded projects received grant support through NEH’s A More Perfect Union initiative, designed to demonstrate and enhance the critical role the humanities play in our nation and support projects that will help Americans commemorate the 250th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence in 2026. Among these are grants to fund new episodes of the PBS series Poetry in America, a collection of essays on the architecture of the African diaspora in the United States, and preservation planning for the Digital Library of Appalachia.

A full list of the 239 grants by geographic location is available here (these particularly caught my eye -CH) . . .

The Revolution in Books (Adrian Finucane and Victoria Thur), $141,929
A three-week, residential institute for 25 college and university faculty on the history of the book in the American Revolution.

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Bringing Old North to the 21st Century (Nikki Stewart), $75,000
A planning grant to reinterpret the colonial Old North Church in Boston and its congregation’s ties to slavery from the American Revolution to the Civil War.

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Preserving Works on Paper at Historic Deerfield (Amanda Lange), $10,000
Conservation assessment of 350 works of art on paper, including eighteenth-century British portraits, silhouettes, political prints, military and other maps, and other pieces that represent New England life and tastes in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The project would also include a workshop on object handling and storage best practices that would be open to staff and volunteers of other local museums and historical societies, as well as the development of a rotation schedule for the light-sensitive pieces in the collection.

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Recovering Black Performance in Early Modern Iberia, 1500–1800 (Nicholas Jones and Elizabeth Wright), $96,347
Planning and holding a conference on Black performance in early modern Iberia and preparation of conference papers for publication in a journal special issue.

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Rehousing and Cataloging the RISD Museum’s Eighteenth- and Nineteenth-Century Wallpaper Collection (Ingrid Neuman), $10,000
The rehousing of approximately 700 historical European and American wallpapers from the late eighteenth century to the mid nineteenth, 500 of which were collected by French artist Charles Huard and his wife, American writer Frances Wilson Huard. The collection includes examples from manufacturers Zuber, Joseph Dufour, and Jean-Baptiste Réveillon that are representations of highly skilled and time-intensive production techniques, including the use of hand-drawn and hand-carved woodblocks for printing.

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Collections Monitoring and Housing Improvement Project at the Old Stone House Museum (Mahala Nyberg), $9,300
Purchases to improve preservation conditions and environmental monitoring at the Old Stone House Museum and Historic Village. The museum, on Vermont’s African-American Heritage Trail, includes buildings significant to the history of Orleans County from the mid eighteenth century through the nineteenth, including the home of Alexander Twilight, an African-American educator and minister and first African American to graduate college in the United States.

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First Family: George Washington’s Heirs and the Making of America (Cassandra Good), $30,000
Research and writing of a history of the heirs of George and Martha Washington between the American Revolution and the Civil War.

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A Plague in New York City: How the City Confronted—and Survived—the Yellow Fever Epidemic in the Founding Era (Carolyn Eastman), $60,000
Research and writing of a book on the yellow fever epidemics of 1795 and 1798 in New York City, emphasizing the experience of doctors and other caregivers, including African Americans.

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