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New Grant Program to Help Diverse Historic Places Challenged By Pandemic


October 3, 2021

 Today the National Trust for Historic Preservation announces a new $3.5 million program designed to help preserve and interpret historic places that reflect the inclusive narrative of American cultural history, made possible through a generous grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities’ American Rescue Plan Humanities Grantmaking for Organizations.

The goal of Telling the Full History: Sustaining the Stewards of America’s Diverse Historic Places, the National Trust’s new grant program, is to sustain diverse cultural sites of importance to underrepresented communities, especially those that have been critically impacted during almost two years of pandemic closures. The National Trust expects to be able to award $25,000 and $50,000 grants to 60-80 humanities-based organizations through this initiative, in an effort to sustain an inclusive American narrative that represents all of the peoples involved in shaping our history and identity.

In the last two years, loss has had an abiding impact on our families and our economy, and recovery efforts have rightly been focused on those aspects of our lives. However, without notice or fanfare, the dedicated stewards of important cultural resources have also quietly struggled during this crisis to protect important places that tell the full American story. This grant program is a recognition of the vital roles that historic places and humanities-based organizations play in defining the American experience and is meant to directly benefit the stewards of diverse historic places as they recover momentum that was lost during two years when operation was critical, yet impossible.

“So many cultural institutions often operate without the material resources they really need,” said Paul Edmondson,” president and CEO of the National Trust, “but they survive by the grit and sheer determination of a committed few. This program is a visionary effort by the federal government through the National Endowment for the Humanities to recognize these keepers of American identity and strengthen their capacity to tell the full American story. In many cases, these grants will serve as a lifeline to institutions operating in the margins, but who hold the keys to our American past.” The National Trust sees

“The National Trust sees historic places as powerful primary sources and their preservation and interpretation advances our quest for a more perfect union,” said Katherine Malone-France, chief preservation officer of the National Trust. “The very presence of these places and the institutions that steward them makes a positive difference in our country. They tell us the truth about ourselves and affirm the fact that it took many cultures, a variety of peoples, who all contributed their strength, ingenuity, and sacrifice to help build our nation. That is the unifying shared national narrative that these grants are meant to express and to help sustain.”

A broad range of humanities-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations are eligible for these grants, including state and local preservation organizations, historic sites, museums, historical societies, and genealogical associations, as well as accredited academic programs in historic preservation, public history, and cultural studies of underrepresented groups. Additionally, local and state governmental agencies, such as state historic preservation offices, tribal historic preservation offices, city and county preservation offices and planning departments, state and local commissions focused on different aspects of heritage, and publicly owned historic sites and museums also are eligible.

The grants will help preserve and interpret historic places of importance to underrepresented communities including, but not limited to, women, immigrants, Asian Americans, Black Americans, Latinx Americans, Native Americans, and LGBTQA communities. Funding will be awarded in these categories:

  • Research, planning, and implementation of humanities-based public interpretive programs that utilize diverse historic places to tell the full history of the United States;
  • Humanities-based research and documentation to enable local, state, and federal landmark designations to recognize places of importance to underrepresented communities;
  • Architectural design and planning to advance preservation and activation of historic buildings and landscapes that tell the full history of the United States; and,
  • Humanities-based training workshops to support underrepresented groups in preserving and interpreting historic places that tell the full history of the United States.

To sign up for updates on this grant program, please click here to join our grants interest list.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation is a privately funded organization that works to save America’s historic places. www.savingplaces.org