A “Living History Museum” based on the life of Dred Scott, the digitization of books and manuscripts scattered across the Philippines in the 18th century, Cherokee translation efforts, and an exhibition on the history of jazz and hip hop in Queens, New York. are among 208 projects nationwide receiving new grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities.
The grants, totaling $24.7 million, are designed to support individual science projects and collaborative efforts, including initiatives and exhibits at cultural institutions ranging from local historic sites to giants like the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
The awards are part of the agency’s regular grant cycle. Last year, the agency also distributed more than $140 million in additional grants backed by funding from the American Plan of Rescue Act.
Some of the new awards are dedicated to infrastructure. One $500,000 grant will go to the Esperanza Center for Peace and Justice in San Antonio to support the renovation of seven historic buildings to be used as a cultural center focused on immigrant communities in the city’s Westside neighborhood. The $20,000 grant will digitally upgrade Kansas State University’s Chapman Center for Rural Studies, which aims to highlight the history of Great Plains communities that are in danger of being forgotten.
There are also a number of grants to historically black colleges and universities, including about $130,000 to Oakwood University in Huntsville, Alabama to establish a living museum dedicated to Dred Scott, the enslaved man whose freedom suit led to the infamous Supreme Court of 1857 of the year. the decision that African Americans could never be citizens.
Other awards include nearly $45,000 to the University of Virginia to create a database of 18th and 19th century North American weather, including detailed daily reports made by Thomas Jefferson between July 1776 and the week before his death in July 1826. of the year. There is also a $100,000 grant to Northeastern University in Boston to support the translation of its Digital Archive for the Preservation and Persistence of American Indian Languages, which collects handwritten material from the Cherokee syllabary, a writing system created in the early 19th century.
In New York, the Louis Armstrong House Museum in Queens will receive $30,000 to support a digital mapping project exploring the history of jazz and hip hop in the area. The Metropolitan Museum of Art will receive $350,000 to support the biochemical analysis of chia oil found in Mexican lacquerware and paintings by New Spanish Artists in Mexico from the 16th to 19th centuries to help preserve and research the provenance of works held in museums around the world. Peace. (The museum will partner with Grupo Artesanal Tecomaque, a Mexican indigenous collective that teaches sustainable lacquering techniques.)
While most grants go to institutions, there are also several dozen grants to individual scientists, some of which support “who knew?” topics such as the story of Luchebeme, described by the foundation as “a secret, endangered language spoken by Parisian butchers since the 13th century”, which was also used by some members of the French Resistance during World War II.
The agency’s annual budget is about $167 million. In October, President Biden nominated Shelley S. Lowe, a college-educated scientist and longtime administrator, as his next director. If the Senate confirms this, Lowe, a registered Navajo member, will become the first Native American to lead the agency.