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.
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.