nehThe National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) has announced a new grant program, called “Common Heritage,” that hopes to bring to light historical records and artifacts currently hidden in family attics and basements across the country and make them digitally available to the wider public.
NEH invites historical societies, libraries, archives, museums, colleges and other local institutions to apply for the Common Heritage grant program. Grants will support day-long events, organized by community cultural institutions, in which members of the public will be invited to share materials important to their family or community histories, such as photographs, artifacts, family letters, and works of art.
These items will be digitized, along with descriptive information and context provided by the community attendees. With the owner’s permission, the digitized materials will be made publicly available through the institution’s online collections. Contributors will receive a free digital copy of their items to take home, along with the original materials.
These materials will also be used for public programming – including lectures, exhibits, discussion programs, and film screenings – that celebrates and expands knowledge of the community’s past and the diverse histories of its members.
“We know that America’s cultural heritage isn’t found only in libraries and museums,” said NEH Chairman William Adams, “but in our homes, in our family histories, and the stories and objects we pass down to our children. NEH’s new Common Heritage grant program aims to capture this vitally important part of our country’s heritage and preserve it for future generations.”
Application guidelines and a list of FAQs for the Common Heritage program are available at www.neh.gov. The application deadline for the initial cycle of Common Heritage grants is June 25, 2015. The first round of Common Heritage digitization days is expected to take place in early 2016.
The new Common Heritage grant program is part of the National Endowment for the Humanities’ agency-wide initiative The Common Good: The Humanities in the Public Square, which seeks to demonstrate and enhance the role and significance of the humanities and humanities scholarship in public life.
NEH’s Common Heritage program will award grants of up to $12,000 to community cultural organizations to coordinate community events and ensure that a wide range of historical materials can be digitized and contextualized through public programming.
NEH program staff from the Divisions of Preservation & Access and Public Programs will conduct a webinar for interested applicants on Tuesday, May 5 at 4 pm (EST).