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The NEH Supports the Preservation and Curation of Local Histories

The National Endowment for the Humanities helps organizations around the country collect, curate, and showcase their local histories, encouraging Americans to connect with their regional identities.

NEH supports the creation of local, digital collections through the Common Heritage program. Common Heritage grant recipients, which include libraries, historical societies, and other cultural institutions, host digitization days when individuals contribute scans of family heirlooms and other items to a digital archive while learning to preserve their valued possessions. Grant recipients frequently develop long-term programs and public exhibitions from the digitization days.

NEH-funded oral history programs recover the histories of rural and minority American populations, among others. Because much significant cultural knowledge has never been written down, oral history programs collect and document interviews with individuals, preserving the life stories and histories of rural communities, veterans, tribal elders, and Civil Rights workers for the future. Increasingly, these oral histories are filmed and made accessible online, as well as archived by institutional archives and the Library of Congress.

NEH funding helps local and regionally-focused museums and historical societies showcase and interpret their collections. Preservation and access grants help small and mid-sized organizations protect their historical collections. Grants for exhibition development help organizations consult with scholars, develop engaging displays, and incorporate multimedia into world-class exhibitions that tell the stories of local people.

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