Federal-private partnership funds historic preservation and conservation
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the National Park Service (NPS) and the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities (PCAH) jointly announced the awarding of $14.3 million in federal competitive Save America’s Treasures (SAT) grants. The grants are made in collaboration with the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), and Save America’s Treasures’s private partner, the National Trust for Historic Preservation. With the grants, 61 organizations and agencies will conserve nationally significant cultural and historic sites, buildings, objects, documents, and collections. A list of the recipients and their projects can be found at http://www.nps.gov/history/hps/treasures.
“These Save America’s Treasures grants will preserve the physical fabric of our history and the rich diversity of America’s story, as told by its artists, scholars, and other notable figures. These awards also honor the hundreds of volunteers, organizations, and communities whose energy and investment are ensuring that this national legacy endures for generations to come,” said First Lady Michelle Obama.
Jon Jarvis, director of the National Park Service, congratulated the 61 recipients of the Save America’s Treasures awards, saying, “Each project is a thread in the great tapestry that is the history and culture of our country and our people. The Save America’s Treasures program is a source of pride and a lesson in how a modest investment and a broad public-private partnership can make a vital and valuable contribution to telling the story of our nation.”
This year’s grants preserve examples of the rich and diverse history of the United States. The Acoma Pueblo in New Mexico, the personal papers of First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy, Native American baskets, Arlington House—the home of General Robert E. Lee in Arlington Cemetery—American dance archives, and Andalusia—the home of author Flannery O’Connor—will all benefit from SAT funding. This year’s grants also include conservation and restoration projects that relate to the experiences of African Americans and their journey from slavery to civil rights: the Yaughan and Curriboo archeological collections (from two plantations in South Carolina), a railroad car from the era of segregation, works by the African American photographer Gordon Parks, and the civil rights collections in the archives of Tougaloo College in Mississippi.
“Since a number of this year’s Save America’s Treasures awards touch on the experiences and accomplishments of African Americans,” said National Park Service Director Jon Jarvis, “it is fitting that we announce these grants today, on the first day of African American History Month.
“All of the award recipients are doing important work,” continued Jarvis. “The National Park Service commends all the grantees, and we’re excited to assist them. Our administration of Save America’s Treasures, just like our stewardship of such places as Frederick Douglass’s home and the battlefield at Gettysburg, is a means by which we fulfill our mission of preserving America’s history and culture.”
National Trust for Historic Preservation President Stephanie Meeks, PCAH Executive Director Rachel Goslins, and Jarvis announced the awards at a news conference held this afternoon in the Emancipation Room of President Lincoln’s Cottage in northwest Washington, DC. The Cottage served as Lincoln’s refuge, where he spent more than a quarter of his presidency, commuting daily to the White House by carriage or horseback from June to November 1862, 1863, and 1864. At the Cottage, he conducted business and drafted the Emancipation Proclamation. This National Trust Historic Site opened to the public in 2008 after a major restoration by the Trust. The $12 million restoration was launched in 2000 with a $750,000 federal Save America’s Treasures grant from the National Park Service and more than $750,000 in private matching funds raised by Save America’s Treasures at the Trust.
In 2010, Save America’s Treasures received 338 grant applications from eligible federal agencies; state, local, and tribal governments; and nonprofit organizations. The evaluation of applications and recommendation of awards takes place through interagency collaboration that blends the cross-disciplinary expertise of the federal cultural agencies (NEA, NEH,and IMLS) and the National Park Service, which administers the SAT program in collaboration with the President’s Committee. To maximize private investment and support for the awardees, the program’s private partner, Save America’s Treasures at the National Trust for Historic Preservation, helps projects secure the required private match and offers assistance to a host of SAT applicants and grantees across the country.
“One of the pleasures of Save America’s Treasures is that in rescuing and preserving the critical fragments of our past, we rediscover both well-known cultural icons, like the ‘Lost Silent Films’ receiving an award this year, and less-well-known treasures, like the Moses and Frances Asch Collection. All the awards remind us how important it is for each generation to see first hand how rich and varied our culture and history are,” said George Stevens, Jr., Co-Chair of the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities.
Each federal partner oversees the SAT awards to projects that reflect that agency’s mission. This year, the National Park Service will administer grants to 29 projects focused on structures and sites. The remaining 32 projects address the needs of documents, artifacts, and collections. The grants to these projects—cultural SAT grants, administered by the NEA, NEH, and IMLS—celebrate diverse themes, ideas, and artistry. Recipient projects include the conservation of an 1878 Thomas Edison tinfoil recording (NEH), the preservation of the New York City Ballet archives (NEA), and ensuring the health of irreplaceable tree-rings in the University of Arizona’s Dendrochronology Collection (IMLS).
“The National Endowment for the Arts is pleased to join our partner agencies in congratulating these awardees, who are preserving and presenting America’s cultural and artistic treasures,” said National Endowment for the Arts Chairman Rocco Landesman. “Art and culture are the expression of our shared values as a society and serve as our collective heritage. These treasures remind us who we are as a people and often inspire us to be even more—that is, to exercise even greater creativity.”
“This year, funds will support nine projects that will help to save endangered museum collections. The scope and breadth of the historical and scientific records that will be touched by these nine projects is amazing,”said Susan Hildreth, director of the Institute of Museum and Library Services. “The items that will benefit include rare notebooks that document the construction of the Panama Canal, the only known Alutiiq warrior kayak, Civil War flags that date to Reconstruction, quilts that document 300 years of societal change, and historical circus posters. The Institute of Museum and Library Services is very proud of the work that the Save America’s Treasures recipients are doing to tell America’s story for future generations.”
“The grants awarded today include funds to conserve, and recover the sound from, an 1878 tinfoil phonograph recording made by Thomas Edison, as well as resources to provide for the long-term preservation of digital materials documenting the events of September 11,” said NEH Chairman Jim Leach. “Save America’s Treasures ensures that future generations will have access to objects, recordings, and artifacts that define American history.”
Save America’s Treasures is part of a long tradition of public-private partnerships and federal leadership. As the program’s principal private partner, Save America’s Treasures at the National Trust for Historic Preservation complements the work of the federal agencies by raising media awareness and leveraging financial support and stewardship within the private sector.
“For the past 11 years, Save America’s Treasures has been a model public-private partnership that has sparked restoration and investment at more than 1,100 sites, structures, and collections in every state and territory,” said Stephanie Meeks, president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. “On this first day of African American History Month, it is important to recall the many iconic African American sites the program has helped to save—from Harriet Tubman’s home to Rosa Parks’s bus, from Martin Luther King’s Ebenezer Baptist Church to Little Rock’s Central High School and Birmingham’s 16th Street Baptist Church. Also, it is appropriate that a number of the grants announced today will preserve places and artifacts that illuminate our nation’s African American heritage.”
From FY 1999 to FY 2010, 1,287 Save America’s Treasures grants (646 earmarks and 641 competitive grants) have been awarded to preserve nationally significant and endangered historic 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 is available from the National Park Service, the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, and the National Trust for Historic Preservation.