National Endowment for the Humanities Announces $28.1 Million in Grants
Projects to build a research center at Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn, develop a digital tour of an exhibit highlighting Jewish founders of the film industry at the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures in Los Angeles, and add touch-screen kiosks at the National Comedy Centers in Jamestown, NY, the hometown of Lucille Ball, are among 204 beneficiaries of new grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities announced.
The grants, which total $28.1 million and are the first round awarded this year, will support projects at museums, libraries, universities and historic sites in 39 states and Washington, DC, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.
Projects include the creation of a comprehensive online resource by the Jane Austen Summer Program in Chapel Hill, NC, which will allow the public to explore Austen’s writings, personal artifacts and historical documents within the reconstructed interior of her home. Another, at Temple University in Philadelphia, will develop an online tool for transcribing early polyphonic music, which consists of several independent melodies played or sung at the same time in standard musical notation. Funding will also go toward the development of a virtual reality model of a Viking Age longship by undergraduate researchers at Grinnell College in Grinnell, Iowa.
Shelley C. Lowe, chair of the endowment, said in a statement that the projects, many of which use digital tools and technologies to make ancient cultures and practices accessible to modern audiences, “speak to the deep engagement of humanistic ideas and the humanities. Doctors from all over our country do it.
In New York, 30 projects from state cultural organizations will receive $5 million in grants, including an award of $500,000 to support the rehabilitation of the geothermal heating and cooling system at the Brooklyn Children’s Museum. Funding will also go toward researching how the record collecting and home-DJ practices of Black and Latina women in the Bronx in the 1970s shaped the birth and growth of hip-hop, as well as a book about Cornell Capa’s life . and the International Center of Photography, which he founded in 1974.
Elsewhere, a grant will support a faculty and student project at Georgia College to collect oral histories related to the life and works of novelist and short-story writer Flannery O’Connor, whose work focuses on the American South. Another award will allow University of Kentucky researchers to address the underrepresentation of buildings and sites associated with minority racial and ethnic groups on the National Register of Historic Places.
The grant will also support dozens of new books on topics such as black leisure and tourism in the Jim Crow era; the branding practices of digital media influencer mothers in South Korea; and Hollywood “dance-ins”, unrehearsed dancers rehearsing a star’s choreography prior to filming during the Golden Age of Hollywood musicals from the 1940s to 1960s.