National Endowment for the Humanities Awards $33 Million in Grants

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LOS ANGELES (CNS) - The Fort Ross Conservancy in California has received one of 245 grants distributed nationwide by the National Endowment for the Humanities, it was announced today.  

The conservancy's documentary about the Kashia-Pomo, a displaced Native Californian tribe, was awarded part of $33.17 million for humanities projects across the country.  

The grants support work on a new museum at the University of Buffalo to house the world's largest collection of materials by and about James Joyce, and enable production by the Center for Independent Documentary of a documentary examining the history and legacy of the landmark Eyes on the Prize public television series on the civil rights movement, first broadcast in 1987.  

``NEH is proud to support these exemplary education, media, preservation, research, and infrastructure projects,'' NEH Chair Shelly C. Lowe (Navajo) said in a statement. ``These 245 projects will expand the horizons of our knowledge of culture and history, lift up humanities organizations working to preserve and tell the stories of local and global communities, and bring high-quality public programs and educational resources directly to the American public.''  

The funding will go toward 23 new NEH Infrastructure and Capacity Building Challenge Grants for nonfederal support for cultural institutions. The awards will be used to upgrade the digital infrastructure of Hawai'i's Bishop Museum to improve access to digitized collections documenting Hawaiian and Pacific history and culture, to stabilize and repair Pittsburgh's Carrie Blast Furnaces site, one of the last surviving landmarks of the city's role in the 20th-century steel industry, and to create outdoor classroom spaces for education programs on Lakota cultural traditions at the Pine Ridge Reservation's Oglala Lakota Artspace in South Dakota.  

Some of the grant funds are tabbed for preservation projects, including a project at the New-York Historical Society to digitize wire reports from Time-Life News Service correspondents from 1930 to 1960, giving access to raw reporting on major events of the 20th century such as the Great Depression, World War II, and the civil rights movement. Other grants are going to the development of protocols at the College of Saint Benedict in collaboration with tribal communities, for digitizing and sharing records related to Native American boarding schools and make available online videos of performances, master classes, lectures, and oral histories from Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival from 1992 through 2010.  

A ``Mapping Chicagoland'' project led by the University of Chicago will digitize, georeference, and make accessible online a collection of more than 4,000 maps of the city published before 1940.  

Funding supports the creation of media, exhibitions, and public programs. These include grants to produce the first major documentary on Caribbean-American writer Jamaica Kincaid by Women Make Movies, and a film by UnionDocs tracing the evolution of First Amendment law in the 50 years since attorney Floyd Abrams represented the New York Times in the Pentagon Papers case.  

Other NEH Public Humanities Projects grants will fund a traveling exhibition that tells the story of Ethiopian art from antiquity to the present at the Walters Art Museum, underwrite a new permanent exhibition at the Lower East Side Tenement Museum that guides visitors through the tenement home of Joseph and Rachel Moore, an African-American couple who lived in Lower Manhattan in the 1860s, and bring the American Library Association's ``Great Stories Club'' reading and discussion program for underserved youth to 100 small libraries across the country.  

Grants will support education projects and veterans programs, such as one by the Chinese Historical Society in the San Francisco Bay area on the experiences of Chinese-American veterans in wars from WWII to the present, and a project at Bowie State University to train ROTC cadets and student veterans to lead a discussion series for local veterans exploring themes of service, sacrifice, and reintegration in relation to the Civil War and Vietnam War.  Other grants will go toward archaeological investigation, archival research, fellowships for humanities scholars, and linguistic resources.

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