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The NEH Preserves Cultural Heritage

The National Endowment for the Humanities preserves and protects the United States’s cultural heritage through grants to organizations in every state. It supports preservation on the small and large scale, recognizing that our cultural heritage is made up of grand narratives and great figures as well as everyday people around the country.

NEH investment ensures that key elements of our national heritage remain intact and accessible. NEH funding has been critical to the preservation, cataloguing, and digitization of nationally-significant collections held by individual institutions across the United States. It has funded the collection and digitization of presidential papers and, in partnership with the Library of Congress, it supports the National Digital Newspaper Program, which has digitized 11 million pages of newspapers published between 1690 and 1963.

NEH investments help preserve rural and local cultural heritage. NEH grants ensure that regional and local organizations, which often operate with small staffs and limited budgets, can build the infrastructure necessary to preserve their collections for the long term. And, in the wake of natural disasters, NEH emergency funding has helped local arts and cultural institutions get back on their feet while preserving the collections that are critical to the affected regions’ cultural heritage and tourism economies.

NEH supports training in preservation and conservation. By funding rigorous graduate programs, the NEH ensures that our cultural heritage will remain in well-trained hands for generations. Graduates of these programs have been vital to the continued preservation of virtually all of our national treasures, including the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, and the Star-Spangled Banner.

NEH funding preserves American languages, including endangered indigenous languages and regional American English. Through a partnership with the National Science Foundation, the NEH supports the documentation and preservation of endangered indigenous languages throughout the United States. These projects produce both a body of knowledge useful for language scholars and dictionaries and language-acquisition programs that can be used in local schools and communities.

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