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Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Reviving a National Heritage Museum
The renovated National Czech and Slovak Museum and Library after it was moved 500 feet from the banks of the Cedar River following a devastating flood in 2008. Photo courtesy of NCSML.

An NEH grant helped the National Czech and Slovak Museum and Library (NCSML) recover from a devastating flood and establish a new identity as an education innovator. NCSML was founded in 1974 by Czech and Slovak immigrants to preserve their history and culture. In 2008, a flood caused $11 million in damage to NCSML facilities, precipitating a move of the entire museum—all 1500 tons of it—500 feet further from the banks of the Cedar River. In the wake of this effort to save the museum, NCSML leveraged an NEH Challenge Grant to raise more than $2.7 million, funding the museum used to establish an educational endowment that sustains an expanding menu of educational programming, now the growing institution’s primary area of focus.

“Thank you. I really enjoyed learning with you. I have no favorite [artifact], because they were all cool. Thanks again. P.S. So cool.”

–Erskine Elementary 2nd Grader on Maňa: One Girl’s Story

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