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National Endowment for the Humanities Announces $28.4 Million for 239 Humanities Projects Nationwide

National Endowment for the Humanities Logo

This article originally appeared on the National Endowment for the Humanities website.

The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) announced $28.4 million in grants for 239 humanities projects across the country. These grants will support a documentary about the 1873 Colfax Massacre, the bloodiest instance of racial violence during Reconstruction, and the development of Archaeorover, an autonomous robot that uses ground-penetrating radar to search for buried sites, structures, and artifacts of historical and archaeological significance, and other humanities projects.

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. Read more...

Congratulations to the New York State Recipients!

NEW YORK (35) $3,660,109

  • Sheila Bernard Outright: $60,000 [Public Scholars] University at Albany 
    Project Title: “Bring Judgment Day”: Reclaiming Lead Belly’s Truths from Jim Crow’s Lies Project Description: Research and writing of a book about blues performer Huddie Ledbetter (1889–1949), his interactions with music collectors John A. and Alan Lomax, and the racial and labor politics of the post-Reconstruction era.


  • Seward House Museum Outright: $10,000 [Preservation Assistance Grants] Project Director: Emily Kraft
    Project Title: Purchase of Furniture to Upgrade Seward House Museum’s Collections Storage Project Description: The purchase of furniture to upgrade the Seward House Museum’s collections storage from metal, open-shelving units to enclosed, temperature-regulated, secure cabinets, in accordance with its institutional preservation and strategic plans. This National Historic Landmark houses political memorabilia, fine and decorative art, photographs, Civil War artifacts, and ethnographic material, much of it associated with the travels of William Henry Seward, one of the foremost politicians of the nineteenth century, in what would eventually become the state of Alaska.


  • Brooklyn Institute of Arts and Sciences Outright: $40,000 [Exhibitions: Planning] Project Director: Jane Dini Project Title: Reinstallation of the Brooklyn Museum’s American Galleries Project Description: Planning for the reinterpretation of the Brooklyn Museum’s permanent American art galleries.
  • CUNY Research Foundation, Brooklyn College Outright: $100,000 [Digital Humanities Advancement Grants] Project Director: Johanna Devaney
    Project Title: AMPACT: Automatic Music Performance Analysis and Comparison Toolkit Project Description: A suite of tools to enable the computational analysis of musical performances.
  • New York Foundation for the Arts Outright: $500,000 [Media Projects Production] Project Director: Oren Rudavsky
    Project Title: Everything Seemed Possible: Luis Muñoz Marín and the Making of Modern Puerto Rico Project Description: Production of a ninety-minute documentary film on the life and career of Luis Muñoz Marín, the first elected governor of Puerto Rico.


  • Queens Museum of Art Outright: $40,000 [Exhibitions: Planning] Project Director: Sally Tallant
    Project Title: Far More Than Steel and Concrete: Urban Planning and the Panorama of New York Project Description: Planning for a series of temporary exhibitions, interpretive wall texts, digital interactives, and public programs examining the twentieth-century history of New York City’s infrastructure and urban development.


  • Livingston County Historical Society Outright: $50,000 [Sustaining Cultural Heritage Collections] Project Director: Anna Kowalchuk
    Project Title: Designing Sustainable and Energy-Efficient Storage, Collection Management, and Exhibit Spaces Project Description: The creation of architectural, storage, and design plans to complete the second phase of a multiyear project to protect collections and the historic building at the 1838 Cobblestone Schoolhouse, where the Livingston County Historical Society is housed.


  • Colgate University Outright: $213,846 [Institutes for School Teachers] Project Director: Graham Hodges
    Project Title: Abolitionism and the Underground Railroad Project Description: A three-week, residential institute for 25 middle and high school teachers on the history of abolitionism and the Underground Railroad.


  • Cornell University Outright: $65,892 [Collaborative Research] Project Director: Iftikhar Dadi
    Project Title: The Next Monsoon: Climate Change and Contemporary Cultural Production in South Asia Project Description: A three-day conference and open access volume on the topic of humanistic approaches to climate change, and the impact of climate change on cultural production in South Asia.


  • Genesee Country Village and Museum Outright: $10,000 [Preservation Assistance Grants] Project Director: Peter Wisbey
    Project Title: Genesee Country Village & Museum Emergency Planning Project Description: The development of a disaster preparedness and response plan, staff training in disaster response, and purchase of emergency supplies, for the Genesee Country Village & Museum’s John L. Wehle Gallery. The gallery’s collections include 950 paintings, drawings, prints, and sculptures from the seventeenth century through the twentieth representing American wildlife and sporting activities such as riding, angling, and hunting, as well as a costume collection of 3,500 nineteenth-century garments and accessories that illustrate the lives of New Englanders and regional Quakers.

New York

  • American Academy in Rome Outright: $7,150 [Preservation Assistance Grants] Project Director: Sebastian Hierl
    Project Title: Digital Preservation Assessment for American Academy in Rome Project Description: Digital preservation assessment to review the American Academy in Rome’s digital preservation provisions and provide recommendations to ensure the longterm preservation, searchability, and retrieval of diverse formats. The collection has three main repositories, including administrative files and materials documenting the history of the institution; unique photographic collections ranging from the late nineteenth century to the present; and a collection of 9,000 archaeological artifacts and the documentation of two prominent American excavations in Italy during the twentieth century, the AAR’s excavations at Regia (Roman Forum) and Cosa (Tuscany).
  • American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, Inc. Outright: $10,000 [Preservation Assistance Grants] Project Director: Abra Cohen
    Project Title: Preservation Assessment of the JDC Archives Collection of Albums and Scrapbooks Project Description: A conservation assessment of approximately 250 albums and scrapbooks containing correspondence, telegrams, cards, certificates, lithographs, prints, ephemera, and photographs documenting life in Jewish communities around the world, such as in Hungary, China, and the Dominican Republic, many of which were locations for resettlements after World War II. The project would also include the purchase of preservation supplies for rehousing.
  • American Musicological Society, Inc. Outright: $254,000 [Scholarly Editions and Translations] Match: $46,000 Project Director: Andrew Kuster
    Project Title: Music of the United States of America (MUSA)* Project Description: Preparation for publication of five volumes in the series Music of the United States of America.
  • City Lore, Inc. Outright: $75,319 [Media Projects Development] Project Director: Joseph Dorman
    Project Title: The Colfax Massacre Project Description: Development of a feature-length film about a Reconstruction-era conflict between southern whites and African Americans and its legal and social legacy.
  • CUNY Research Foundation, Graduate School and University Center Outright: $190,000 [Institutes for School Teachers] Project Director: Anne Valk; Donna Thompson Ray (co-project director)
    Project Title: LGBTQ+ Histories of the United States Project Description: A two-week, residential institute for 30 middle and high school teachers on the histories of LGBTQ+ communities in the United States.
  • The Forward Association, Inc. Outright: $10,000 [Preservation Assistance Grants] Project Director: Chana Pollack
    Project Title: Preserving the Story of Jewish America through the Forward's Photojournalism Collection* Project Description: A general preservation assessment and purchase of preservation storage supplies for a collection of 70,000 photographs, political cartoons, newspaper clippings, and artifacts of the newspaper printing process spanning the 123-year history of Forward, a Jewish-American newspaper chronicling the Yiddish-speaking world of Eastern European Jewry. Among the collection are photographs of Eleanor Roosevelt, Golda Meir, Sammy Davis, Jr., Jackie Kennedy, comedienne Fannie Brice, and actress Esther Rachel Kaminska. Additional items include artifacts pertaining to the history of the newspaper, such as notebooks containing board-meeting notes from the 1920s to the 1980s, business records, Yiddish manuscripts, and letters to the editor.
  • Intrepid Sea-Air-Space Museum Outright: $162,382 [Institutes for School Teachers] Project Director: Lynda Kennedy; Gerrie Hall (co-project director)
    Project Title: Perspectives on World War II in the Pacific Theater Project Description: A two-week, hybrid institute for 25 K–12 teachers to study World War II in the Pacific from multiple perspectives.
  • Jezebel Productions, Inc. Outright: $500,000 [Media Projects Production] Project Director: Andrea Weiss
    Project Title: The Five Demands: Two Volatile Weeks That Changed the Face of Higher Education Project Description: Production of a seventy-five-minute documentary film examining the legacy of the 1969 strike by Black and Puerto Rican students at City College of New York.
  • Karl Jacoby Outright: $45,000 [Public Scholars] Columbia University
    Project Title: The War with Mexico and the Birth of the U.S.-Mexico Border, 1846–1924 Project Description: Research and writing of a history of the Mexican-American War and its aftermath, 1846–1924.
  • Laura Snyder Outright: $60,000 [Public Scholars] St. John’s University, New York
    Project Title: Biography of Writer and Neurologist Oliver Sacks Project Description: Research and writing of a biography of neurologist and author Oliver Sacks (1933–2015).
  • Lower East Side Tenement Museum Outright: $350,000 [Sustaining Cultural Heritage Collections] Project Director: David Favaloro
    Project Title: Tenement Museum Collections Storage Reorganization Plan* Project Description: An implementation project to improve environmental conditions, install collections storage, and rehouse collections in two historical house locations that document immigrant history and daily life in the mid- to late-nineteenth century in Lower East Side Manhattan.
  • Museum of Chinese in America Outright: $10,000 [Preservation Assistance Grants] Project Director: Yue Ma
    Project Title: Rehousing Traditional Chinese Opera Costumes and QiPaos* Project Description: The purchase of storage units and materials, along with hands-on training, for the rehousing of four collections of textiles, including 117 opera costumes and 330 QiPaos (traditional Chinese garments), from the Museum of Chinese in America. These textiles were damaged in a January 2020 fire and have undergone mitigation treatment.
  • New York Public Library Outright: $50,000 [Sustaining Cultural Heritage Collections] Project Director: Rebecca Fifield
    Project Title: Collection Storage Master Plan for the NYPL Research Libraries Project Description: A planning project to evaluate collection storage environments and create a collection storage master plan for the New York Public Library’s three research centers: the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, and the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture.
  • New-York Historical Society Outright: $205,897 [Institutes for School Teachers] Project Director: Leslie Hayes; Nicholas Juravich (co-project director)
    Project Title: Rethinking American Feminism, 1948–1977 Project Description: A three-week, hybrid institute for 30 K–12 teachers on the history of feminism in the middle of the twentieth century.
  • PEN American Center, Inc. Outright: $150,000 [Humanities Discussions] Project Director: Jonathan Friedman
    Project Title: Flashpoints: Free Speech in American History, Culture & Society Project Description: Implementation of ten public discussion events addressing the history and value of free speech in the United States.
  • Morgan Library & Museums Outright: $100,000 [Exhibitions: Implementation] Project Director: John McQuillen
    Project Title: Holbein: Capturing Character Project Description: Implementation for a temporary exhibition examining the portraiture of Northern Renaissance artist Hans Holbein the Younger (Augsberg, 1497/98–London, 1543).
  • Rachel Swarns Outright: $40,000 [Public Scholars] New York University
    Project Title: The 272: The Story of the Enslaved Families Who Fueled the Growth of Georgetown University and the Catholic Church* Project Description: Writing an account of enslaved people sold by Maryland Jesuits in 1838 to support their college, now known as Georgetown University.
  • Yeshiva University Outright: $39,999 [Exhibitions: Planning] Project Director: Paul Glassman
    Project Title: Shaping Time: The Art and Culture of the Jewish Calendar Project Description: Planning of a 3,000-square-foot exhibition on the history of the Jewish calendar.


  • Oneida Indian Nation Outright: $20,789 [Sustaining Cultural Heritage Collections] Project Director: Paul Gwilt
    Project Title: Oneida Indian Nation Archives Planning Project* Project Description: A planning project that includes a building and collections assessment of the Oneida Indian Nation archives and would result in recommendations to improve sustainability, energy efficiency, and security of the collections.


  • Center for Teen Empowerment Outright: $50,924 [Exhibitions: Planning] Project Director: Jennifer Banister
    Project Title: Clarissa Street Uprooted: Intergenerational History Ambassadors Exhibit Project Description: A multiformat exhibition that explores the twentieth-century history of the African-American community in Rochester, New York.
  • University of Rochester Outright: $99,874 [Digital Humanities Advancement Grants] Project Director: Michael Jarvis
    Project Title: Black Past Lives Matter: Digital Kormantin Project Description: Development, prototyping, and testing of a virtual heritage tour of Kormantin (Abandze), Ghana, an early Atlantic Slave Trade port.
  • Visual Studies Workshop, INC Outright: $7,200 [Preservation Assistance Grants] Project Director: Jessica Johnston
    Project Title: Visual Studies Workshop Collection Preservation Assessment Project Description: Preservation assessment for a multimedia collection that includes 6,000 twentieth- and twenty-first-century artists’ books; 15,000 original photographic or photo-mechanical prints made by 2,200 photographers; 40,000 news agency photographs covering the 1920s and 1930s; thousands of audiovisual materials including educational, industrial, animation, and documentary film; and 60,000 nineteenth- and early twentieth-century glass-lantern slides.


  • Seneca Nation of Indians Outright: $12,600 [Preservation Assistance Grants] Project Director: Joe Stahlman
    Project Title: The Non-Traditional Artifacts Project* Project Description: Preservation assessment and training workshop designed for museum staff and Seneca youth for a collection of approximately 3,500 books, journals, manuscripts, audiovisual recordings, postcards, and photographs chronicling the history, culture, and legacy of the Seneca/Haudenosaunee people. This collection complements the Seneca-Iroquois National Museum’s larger collection of over a million objects, one of the largest collections under the care of an Indigenous community and covers nearly all aspects of Seneca material culture.

Saratoga Springs

  • Skidmore College Outright: $49,990 [Digital Humanities Advancement Grants] Project Director: Heather Hurst; Franco Rossi (co-project director)
    Project Title: Architectural Walking Tour of Ancient Maya masterpieces: Visualizations of San Bartolo and Xultun, Guatemala Project Description: The creation of an interactive online platform to present 3D models of Mayan artworks that document the spread of cultural and scholarly knowledge across the region.


  • Syracuse University Outright: $23,247 [Collaborative Research] Project Director: Romita Ray 
    Project Title: Decolonizing the Imperial Collections, Architecture, and Gardens of the Victoria Memorial Hall, Kolkata Project Description: Planning and holding a workshop and virtual symposium on Indian, British, and American contributions to the architecture, collections, and gardens of Victoria Memorial Hall, Calcutta.