posted by Christopher Howard — May 20, 2009
“Serious long-term challenges posed by rapid globalization, economic crisis, and threats to our national security require solutions informed by the humanities,” wrote Pauline Yu, president of the American Council of Learned Societies, in a testimony submitted last month to the House of Representations in support of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). Yu called for at least $230 million in funding for the NEH for fiscal year 2010—an increase of $75 million above the present year’s budget. (Download and read Yu’s full testimony to the Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies.)
Earlier this month, however, President Barack Obama’s FY 2010 budget allotted only $171.315 million for the endowment, far short of Yu’s request but $16.315 million more than the current year.
With this proposed increase, the NEH seeks to establish a new grant program, entitled Sustaining Cultural Heritage Collections, which will allow institutions to plan or implement preventative conservation measures that prolong the useful life of humanities collections. The endowment will also reintroduce preservation research and development grants for projects that address major challenges in preserving and maintaining access to humanities collections and resources. And through its We the People program, the NEH will continue to fund humanities projects that strengthen the teaching, study, and understanding of the nation’s history and culture.
Additionally, Obama’s request includes new oversight responsibility for the National Capital Arts and Cultural Affairs program. With the program’s transfer from the US Commission of Fine Arts, the NEH will manage a redesigned program of competitive grants to arts, historical, and cultural institutions in the District of Columbia.
In addition to a general overview of Obama’s NEH budget request, more information is available in the summary and highlights or the detailed budget request of the endowment’s FY 2010 appropriation request. A table with the FY 2010 funding request figures, by division and office with FY 2008 and FY 2009 appropriation amounts, is also available.
See also a brief report on funding for the National Endowment for the Art for FY 2010.