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Save America’s Treasures Grant Program Announces $10.52 Million in Awards

Originally Published in MotorHome Magazine

On Monday, December 15th, 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

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 replaceable 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

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 thePCAH Web site or the NPS Web site.

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