Carnegie Hall, the National World War I Memorial in Washington and the Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library in Indianapolis are among the 213 beneficiaries of new grants from the National Endowment from the Humanities that were announced on Wednesday.
The grants, which total $32.8 million, will support projects in 44 states, as well as in Washington and Puerto Rico, at museums, libraries, universities and historic sites. They will enable the production of an interactive timeline of African-American music at Carnegie Hall, preserve collections of Appalachian history at Appalshop archives in Kentucky, and support the use of X-ray spectroscopy to better understand color in the ancient world at the University of Michigan’s Kelsey Museum of Archaeology.
“As we conclude an extremely difficult year for our nation and its cultural institutions, it is heartening to see so many excellent projects being undertaken by humanities scholars, researchers, curators and educators,” Jon Parrish Peede, the endowment’s chairman, said in a statement, adding that the grants would “expand access to cultural collections and resources for all Americans.”
In March, the N.E.H. received $75 million in funds through the $2.2 trillion CARES Act (Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act) stimulus package, which it distributed to 56 state and jurisdictional humanities councils.
In New York, 30 of the state’s cultural organizations will receive $5.3 million in grants. Funding will support digital upgrades to a database of fugitive slave advertisements from U.S. newspapers at Cornell University; the Leon Levy Digital Archives project at the New York Philharmonic, which includes more than four million pages of printed programs, marked conducting scores and photographs; and the renovation of the Sing Sing Prison’s former power plant in Ossining, where a museum is slated to open in 2025.
Elsewhere, the grants will support the creation of the Yoknapatawpha Humanities Center in Oxford, Miss. (Yoknapatawpha is a fictional Mississippi county created by William Faulkner); the preservation of manuscript collections at the Vonnegut library; and the researching and writing of a book on the influence of John Milton’s blindness on the poetic language of “Paradise Lost.”
The National World War I Memorial, which is under construction in Washington, will receive a grant to produce an augmented reality smartphone app for visitors. And a team of U.S. and British researchers will collaborate on the digital identification and analysis of watermarks on manuscripts by Isaac Newton at Indiana University in Bloomington.