Happy Earth Day!

Throughout the year, the NEH funds libraries, colleges, and media programs that often have an environment focus. In honor of Earth day, here are two recent projects that promoted the spirit of preservation in different ways.

John Muir Documentary

The documentary John Muir in the New World takes a brilliant and in-depth look at one of America’s first environmentalists, John Muir. Narrated by Jane Alexander, Academy Award-winning actress and former director of the National Endowment for the Arts, the film features Muir’s personal journal entries as well as interviews with historians dedicated to studying his legacy.

The NEH’s Division of Public Programs funded the documentary, which aired on PBS on Earth Day in 2011 and is still available on PBSvideo.com. The film went on to be featured at D.C.’s 2012 Environmental Film Festival. It is a beautiful and insightful homage to one of the founders of America’s national parks system.

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John Muir as portrayed by Howard Weamer.
Photo courtesy of Bob Roney, Global Village Media.

 Eco-Friendly Museum

Delaware’s Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library holds an unparalleled collection of American antiques from as early as the seventeenth century. Its sprawling grounds bloom all year, thanks to founder Henry du Pont, who wished to present nature as a work of art. After receiving a Cultural Heritage grant from the NEH, the Museum now protects its collection with updated, energy efficient heating and cooling systems.

The Sustaining Cultural Heritage Collections allows museums such as Winterthur to improve the preservation of their collections and save on energy costs. Museum directors can then put money towards better programming and continued research. Visitors benefit from the richer exhibits and the environment benefits from lowered energy use.

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An example of the gorgeous artifacts on display at Winterthur Museum.
Photo courtesy of Winterthur.org.

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Spring Break Activities: NEH on the Road

NEH on the Road is an exciting program that brings scaled-down versions of NEH-funded exhibitions to mid-sized museums, libraries, schools, and universities, locations around the country. For seven weeks at a time, these places offer exhibitions normally unavailable to local audiences – and thus expand the reach of these interactive displays.

From Carnivals to Civil Rights

Seven exhibitions are currently circulating throughout the country. One of these is “¡Carnaval!,” an exhibit that examines eight communities from around the world where some kind of carnival is an important cultural event. New Orlean’s Mardi Gras is featured, as well as a lesser-known carnival in Laza, Spain. The exhibition includes photographs, video clips, and the gorgeous masks, necklaces, and shoes that feature heavily in the celebrations. “¡Carnaval!” is currently in Moraga, California, until April 14.

¡Carnaval! Courtesy Museum of International Folk Art, Santa Fe, NM. Photo: Shirley and David Rowen.

¡Carnaval! Courtesy Museum of International Folk Art, Santa Fe, NM. Photo: Shirley and David Rowen.

Another exhibit currently on its way to Eau Claire, Wisconsin, is “For All The World to See: Visual Culture and The Struggle for Civil Rights,” which explores how visual culture affected the struggle for racial equality in America during the Civil Rights Movement of the mid-20th century. The exhibit claims photographs of Emmett Till’s murder, for example, changed American perspectives of racism.

For All The World To See. The exhibition at the International Center of Photography in New York.

For All The World To See. The exhibition at the International Center of Photography in New York.

Please find the locations for all other current “NEH on the Road” exhibitions below.

“¡Carnaval!”: Hearst Art Gallery in Moraga, California, Feb. 2-April 14, 2013

“For All The World to See: Visual Culture and The Struggle for Civil Rights”: Chippewa Valley Museum in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, April 6-May 25, 2013

“Wild Land, Thomas Cole, and the Birth of American Landscape Painting”: Arnot Art Museum in Elmira, New York, April 6-May 25, 2013

“Our Lives, Our Stories: America’s Greatest Generation” will be exhibited in Red Cloud, Nebraska, starting on June 16.

“The Bison: American Icon,” “Farm Life: A Century of Change for Farm Families and Their Neighbors,” and “House & Home” will all resume their traveling schedules on September 1, 2013.

If your community is interested in hosting one of these traveling exhibitions, please take a look at the “NEH on the Road” website or its Facebook.