Innovative federal/private partnership funds the preservation and conservation of the U.S’s irreplaceable and endangered historic properties, sites, documents, artistic works and artifacts.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities (PCAH) and the National Park Service (NPS), jointly announced the awarding of $10.52 million in federal competitive Save America’s Treasures (SAT) grants, which are made in collaboration with the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), and the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). With these funds, 40 organizations and agencies will act to conserve significant U.S. cultural and historic treasures, which illustrate, interpret and are associated with the great events, ideas, and individuals that contribute to our nation’s history and culture. Save America’s Treasures will mark its 10th anniversary in 2009, and it has made more than 500 competitive grants to ensure our nation’s cultural and historic legacy.
“Projects funded by Save America’s Treasures represent some of the most cherished icons of American history and culture,” said Mrs. Laura Bush, Honorary Chairman of the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities. “President Bush and I want to ensure that our historic properties, artifacts, and communities throughout the nation continue to be preserved and enjoyed by future generations.”
The 40 projects awarded competitive grants this year contribute key pieces to our nation’s cultural and historic narrative. The 2008 awards span centuries from prehistoric artifacts at the Utah Museum of Natural History to our nation’s founding told by the collections of Historic Jamestowne and Valley Forge to a 20th-century relic of World War II the USS Becuna. Some of this year’s projects focus on great historical events, such as a rare broadcast of the 1963 March on Washington, and others like the Eastern State Penitentiary reflect our nation’s ideals. This prison’s innovative design —emulated for a century in dozens of countries—was the flagship of 19th century social reform, carrying out the Quaker belief that prisoners could repent and re-make their lives through reflection and hard work rather than harsh punishment and ill treatment. All of these projects face a variety of threats to their integrity and some like the Penitentiary and Frank Lloyd Wright’s Annie Pfeiffer Chapel have been recognized by the private, nonprofit World Monuments Fund as endangered architectural and cultural treasures.
Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne congratulated the 40 recipients of the Save America’s Treasures awards saying, “All Americans, including future generations, will benefit from the preservation of these historic properties and collections. Today’s recipients deserve great credit for their efforts to contribute to the telling of America’s story.”
Each year Save America’s Treasures awards draws on the cross-disciplinary expertise of an innovative partnership between the federal cultural agencies (NEA, NEH, and IMLS) and the National Park Service, which administers the program in collaboration with the President’s Committee, to evaluate and recommend awards. The SAT grantees benefit from the program’s private partner, Save America’s Treasures at the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and its fundraising efforts, which help projects secure the required private match, as well as their assistance to a host of SAT grantees and preservation projects all across the country.
“Save America’s Treasures represents an exceptional process that blends the best expertise of our federal cultural partners and the National Park Service to select and recommend projects of exceptional value to our nation’s cultural and historic legacy. With the support of Congress and the White House, this program exemplifies what the public and private sector can accomplish together in preserving these pre-eminent symbols of our democracy and cultural values,” says Adair Margo, Chairman of the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities.
The Save America’s Treasures program is dedicated to preserving, conserving and rescuing our nation's most significant cultural and heritage resources. Each of the federal partners oversees the awards to projects that reflect their own missions. This year twenty-three projects focusing on structures and sites will be administered by the National Park Service and the remaining seventeen projects will be allocated across the NEA, NEH and IMLS. For the cultural agencies the projects illustrate diverse themes, ideas, artistry and subjects from the conservation of the Chicago Symphony archives (NEA) to the preservation of rare Revolutionary War journals and documents at Valley Forge (NEH) to repairing fragile Civil War battle flags (IMLS).
Anne-Imelda Radice, Director of the Institute of Museum and Library Services, said “IMLS is proud to support these institutions with a Save America’s Treasures award as they take concrete steps towards protecting our nation’s collections.”
“The NEA is pleased to join our partner agencies in congratulating these awardees whose projects protect America’s cultural and artistic heritage, said National Endowment for the Arts Chairman Dana Gioia. “These projects, such as the preservation of the only existing recording of the public radio broadcast of the 1963 March on Washington, protect irreplaceable parts of our past.”
NEH Deputy Chairman Thomas Lindsey said, “The projects funded by the Save America’s Treasures grant program protect, preserve, and conserve documents and materials that are vital to our nation’s historic and cultural legacy. The National Endowment for the Humanities is pleased to support these deserving institutions whose work will ensure America’s cultural treasures are available for future generations.”
PCAH Executive Director Henry Moran remarked, “Save America’s Treasures is part of a long tradition of public-private partnerships and federal leadership. Through the efforts of the program’s private partner Save America’s Treasures at the National Trust for Historic Preservation, funds are raised to help Save America’s Treasure projects meet the required 1:1 match. At a grassroots level, a Save America’s Treasures designation leverages not only cash donations, but also hundreds of volunteer hours and services donated by individuals and businesses to each project. More than $247 million in private matching funds have been invested in these projects since 1999 in addition to the more $56 million raised by the National Trust.”
“Save America's Treasures, now celebrating its 10th anniversary, has flourished under the dedicated and caring leadership of two First Ladies who love history and understand the necessity of preserving the places and objects that tell America’s stories," said Richard Moe, President of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. "This final award round of the Bush administration features a broad range of grantees that reflect diverse periods of the American experience.”
In 2008, Save America’s Treasures received 221 grant applications from eligible federal agencies; state, local, and tribal governments; and nonprofit organizations. Two panels of federal experts representing preservation and conservation disciplines reviewed the applications and made final recommendations to the Secretary of Interior. To be successful each applicant project must be of national significance, demonstrate an urgent preservation need, make the case as to how they will address the threat, and demonstrate the likely availability of non-federal matching funds.
From FY 1999-FY 2007, 967 grants (469 earmarks and 498 competitive grants)have been awarded to preserve nationally significant and endangered historic buildings, structures, places, collections, artifacts and artistic works. To date, all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and Midway Island have received grants.
Additional information on the Save America’s Treasures program can be found on the PCAH Web site at www.pcah.gov, the NPS Web site at http://www.nps.gov/history/hps/treasures.