Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Save America’s Treasures Grant Program Announces $9.5 Million in Awards

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 $9.5 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, 41 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 is marking its 10th anniversary, and it has made more than 500 competitive grants to ensure our nation’s cultural and historic legacy.

“Save America's Treasures invests in our nation's irreplaceable legacy of buildings, documents, collections and artistic works," said First Lady Michelle Obama, Honorary Chairman of the President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities. “These awards empower communities all over the country to rescue and restore this priceless heritage, and ensure that future generations continue to learn from the voices, ideas, events and people represented by these projects.”

The 41 projects awarded competitive grants this year address the preservation needs of the structures, places, documents, artistic works and artifacts that are deemed most significant to the nation. Several projects highlight this country’s rich architectural legacy from two rare surviving 17th century houses of worship to the works of leading 19th century and 20th century of American architects like David Burnham, Stanford White and Frank Lloyd Wright. Rare first-hand accounts of modern dance’s beginnings are told in photographs at Jacobs Pillow; the ideas and aspirations of post-war Americans are captured on tape from This I Believe radio program; and a window on a lost Native American culture is revealed in 18th century Friendly Association Papers. These and the other SAT projects all confront a range of threats from decay with some facing imminent collapse or extinction. These funds will ensure that this cultural and historic legacy can be experienced by the next generation of artists, scholars, students and citizens.

National Park Service Director Jon Jarvis congratulated the 41 recipients of the Save America’s Treasures awards saying, “The recipients of these grants deserve great credit for their commitment to the preservation of our nation’s history and culture. The historic properties and collections protected by Save America's Treasures grants for the last 10 years benefit all Americans, today and in the future. The National Park Service is proud of our role in administering this exceptional program with our partners.” Save America’s Treasures 2009,

The evaluation and recommendation of awards is carried out by an innovative 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 program in collaboration with the President’s Committee. To maximize private investment and support for these efforts, 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 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, and bolstered by the exceptional efforts of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, 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 George Stevens, Co-Chairman of the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities.

Each of the federal partners oversees the awards to projects that reflect their own missions. This year twenty projects that focus on structures and sites will be administered by the National Park Service. The remaining twenty-one projects will address the needs of documents, artifacts and collections. For the NEA, NEH and IMLS, the projects illustrate diverse themes, ideas, artistry and subjects from the conservation of the papers of William Still (NEH), an African-American who published the most seminal first-hand accounts of the underground railroad, to the preservation of the 300-year old Faneuil Hall Art Collection (NEA) to conserving the fragile Last Column from World Trade Center (IMLS).

“The Institute of Museum and Library Services is proud to support Save America’s Treasures,” said IMLS Director Anne-Imelda Radice. “These awards are part of IMLS’s commitment to conservation that includes ongoing grant programs and Connecting to Collections: A Call to Action, a multiyear initiative to help improve the state of our nation’s collections.”

“Save America’s Treasures helps ensure that current and future generations have access to some of our nation’s most important art works,” said NEA Chairman Rocco Landesman. “These grants will help preserve key components of our cultural heritage in dance, music, visual arts, and video.”

“As part of its mandate to preserve our cultural heritage, the NEH is committed to insuring that irreplaceable records of American history remain available for future generations,” said NEH Chairman Jim Leach. “Unique accounts of the operations of the Underground Railroad and original television and radio programs of the 1950s through the 1980s should not be allowed to deteriorate beyond repair.”

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 Save America’s Treasures 2009, sector through the creation of national partnerships with corporations, foundations, and individuals.

“The National Trust for Historic Preservation is proud to join the National Park Service and other federal agencies in what I consider to be one of the most ambitious and successful preservation efforts in the last 50 years," said Richard Moe, President of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. “We have been honored to work with three administrations to help ensure the preservation and good stewardship of the places that tell America's story.”

In 2009, Save America’s Treasures received 402 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 2009, 1173 grants (594 earmarks and 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, Puert 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 http://www.pcah.gov/ , the NPS Web site at http://www.nps.gov/history/hps/treasures/ .