Preservation Assistance Grants: Providing Care for Humanities Collections

In his April 1 Jefferson Lecture in the Humanities, Martin Scorsese expressed his great dedication to film preservation and education. The NEH shares this dedication by supporting libraries, museums, historical societies, and universities through the Preservation Assistance Grants for Smaller Institutions.

Big Help for Small Institutions

These grants provide up to $6,000 and are designed to help smaller institutions protect their humanities collections. These can range from books and journals to prints, photographs, film, and digital materials. The money can go towards a number of preservation initiatives, including storage-related training and safety assessments of collections.

As photographs, letters, and old movies can be difficult to protect, these grants ensure that even small museums can safeguard their artifacts. In fact, small to mid-size institutions that have never received an NEH grant are especially encouraged to apply.

Southern University at Shreveport received a Preservation Assistance Grant that will assist in proper long-term preservation of its Black Ethnic Archives.

Southern University at Shreveport received a Preservation Assistance Grant that allowed them to improve preservation of its Black Ethnic Archives. The DeArdis and Annie M. Belton Collection. Courtesy of Southern University at Shreveport.

Last year’s recipients

Here are three of last year’s Preservation Assistance Grant winners, whose stories demonstrate the grant’s positive impact.

Central Michigan University can now purchase disaster recovery kits and secure training in emergency preparedness in its Museum of Cultural and Natural History. The training will strengthen the museum’s ability to protect its 48,000 objects in a disaster.

Southern University at Shreveport now has proper long-term preservation tools for its Black Ethnic Archives. The archives contain the Shreveport Sun­ — the oldest African American newspaper in Louisiana— as well as local activist papers that provide a picture of community life and conversation in the civil rights era.

The Danish Immigrant Museum in Elk Horn, Iowa, purchased storage supplies to rehouse its collection of 800 paintings, photographs, and documents that depict the history of Danish immigrants and Danish Americans from the mid-19th century to the present.

A full list of last year’s recipients can be found here, and general information about the grant program here.