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National Endowment for the Humanities Awards $14.8 Million to 253 Projects

Above: The first Ferris wheel, built by George W. Ferris for the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition. Photo: Chicago Tribune.
Above: The first Ferris wheel, built by George W. Ferris for the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition. Photo: Chicago Tribune.

WASHINGTON, D.C.—The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) announced the recipients of $14.8 million in grants. The funds will support 253 humanities projects in forty-four states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. An additional $47.5 million was awarded to fifty-five state humanities council partners.

“From cutting-edge digital projects to the painstaking practice of traditional scholarly research, these new NEH grants represent the humanities at its most vital and creative,” said chairman Jon Parrish Peede. “These projects will shed new light on age-old questions, safeguard our cultural heritage, and expand educational opportunities in classrooms nationwide.”

More than $4 million of the funds will go toward fellowships for college and university professors and independent scholars pursuing advanced research and the rest will be divided between digital projects; preservation efforts; educational programming; and humanities initiatives at historically black colleges and univeristies, tribal colleges and universities, and institutions serving hispanic communities.

Among the digital projects being backed are augmented and virtual reality initiatives ranging from the recreation of the unveiling of the first ferris wheel at the 1983 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago to the development of a game that explores Mesa Verde, the American Indian site in Colorado, using three-dimensional scans. 

Fellowships will go toward scholars researching various topics, including American theater and racial performance, the career of Japanese dancer and choreographer Ito Michio (1893–1961), how technology and science shaped early cinema in Hollywood, and the African writing traditions of Arabic and Libyco-Berber script.

Research grants will support the Rochester Institute of Technology’s initiative to digitally replicate the acoustics of historic structures, including a Nashville Music Row studio and a 3,000-year-old UNESCO World Heritage Site in Peru, in order to establish protocols for preserving the aural heritage of culturally significant sites, among other projects. 

The full list of grantees can be found on the NEH’s website.

December 14, 2018