A strong democracy demands wisdom from its citizens. For over 50 years, the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) has supported public access to and civic engagement with our collective cultural heritage. By preserving and understanding the past, we cultivate the wisdom necessary to ensure a better future.
Funding for NEH represents a tiny sliver of the Federal budget—0.003%—but benefits Americans in myriad ways. NEH-funded projects have illuminated our shared humanity and history for millions of people. For digital humanists in particular, funding and other support from the National Endowment for the Humanities has been critical in advancing the field. With very modest amounts of funding from the NEH, digital humanists have shone new light on the Livingstone expedition, uncovered hidden heroes in the nation’s history of civil rights, and told the history of the National Mall, among many other projects. The NEH has funded projects that have preserved crucial historical documents in digital form, ranging from The King James Bible, to the Papers of George Washington, to the Papers of Mark Twain, to the Transatlantic Slave Trade, to the Dead Sea Scrolls. The National Endowment for the Humanities has repeatedly partnered with other organizations, such as the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (Germany), the Arts & Humanities Research Council (UK), and the Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnologίa (Mexico), to foster international collaborations that increase the reach and impact of American scholarly work.
The Association for Computers and the Humanities urges lawmakers to reject efforts to withdraw funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities and to reaffirm the vital role the NEH plays in telling our shared human story. We furthermore urge all of our members to reach out to their local representatives to explain how the NEH has provided crucial support for their work.
The ACH will be publishing members’ statements in support of the NEH on its website. We invite members of the ACH and anyone else who may be interested to contribute a statement using the form below. We particularly encourage those who have received NEH support in the past to tell us about your project and its importance.