VFH Announces 20 Grants to Organizations across the Commonwealth

Grants  •  News

Courtesy of the Virginia Museum of Transportation, Inc.
Courtesy of the Virginia Museum of Transportation, Inc.

Courtesy of the Virginia Museum of Transportation, Inc.
Courtesy of the Virginia Museum of Transportation, Inc.

Virginia Foundation for the Humanities (VFH) announces $88,450 in grants to 20 Virginia nonprofit organizations in support of public humanities programs for audiences throughout the Commonwealth.

The VFH Grant Program responds directly to the interests and concerns of local communities in Virginia, as well as to the needs of the educational organizations that serve them. Since 1974, VFH has awarded more than 3,000 grants, bringing scholars and citizens together to promote a greater understanding of the humanities.

Rob Vaughan, founding president of the Foundation comments: “The Foundation’s work touches every city, county, and district across the state and beyond. In 2014, VFH grant projects reached an estimated audience of 3 million. VFH grants are often the initial source of funding, helping ambitious projects find a foothold and supporting small organizations that encourage connections and discoveries at the most local level.”

As a result of VFH grant funding, exhibits, public forums and discussions, media programs (film, video, radio, and digital media), publications, research, teachers’ institutes and seminars, oral history projects, lectures and conferences, and other kinds of programs have harnessed the power of the humanities to address important issues and enrich the cultural life of the state. The following organizations received recent grants from VFH:

Open Grant Program (awarded 12/18/14)

Taubman Museum of Art (Roanoke) – Distinguished Speaker Series – $4,750

Two public lectures, presented as part of the Museum’s 2015 Distinguished Speakers Series. Individual programs focus on “Walt Whitman, the Civil War, and Renewal” and the growing of tobacco worldwide.

Virginia Sesquicentennial of the American Civil War Commission (Richmond) – 2015 Signature Conference: Causes Won and Lost: The End of the Civil War – $4,550

The seventh and final program in a series of annual “signature conferences” exploring the history and enduring impact of the American Civil War from multiple perspectives.

Office of Historic Alexandria (Alexandria) – Immigrant Alexandria, Past, Present, and Future—$8,000

Research and a series of interviews exploring the history of immigration in Alexandria, Virginia from the mid-nineteenth century to the present day, with an emphasis on stories of Alexandrians who have immigrated to the U.S. since 1970. The project will lay the groundwork for a major exhibit and series of public programs to follow.

Friends of Chevra T’helim, Inc. (Portsmouth) – Jewish Immigration Tidewater’s Jewish Immigrants​: Unique Spices Added to America’s Melting Pot – $1,500

Research and planning for an exhibit on the history or European Jewish immigration to the U.S., and to the Tidewater Virginia region in particular.

The Museum of the Confederacy (Richmond) – The End and the Aftermath: Teachers Institute 2015 – $3,400

A 5-day summer institute for Virginia teachers, exploring the events leading up to the end of the Civil War and its aftermath.

Virginia Museum of Transportation, Inc. (Roanoke) – Ordinary Men/Extraordinary Machines: Documenting the Finest Steam Passenger Locomotive in America, Built in Roanoke – $8,000

A series of filmed interviews with historians and individuals who remember the J-Class locomotives that were designed and built in Roanoke during the early-mid 20th century. Interviews will be incorporated into a documentary film to coincide with the restoration and return-to-service of the “611,” the only one of the 14 original J-Class locomotives that remains.

Legacy Museum of African American History (Lynchburg) – The Rhythms of Yesterday and Today: A Legacy of African American Music in Lynchburg, Virginia – $8,500

An interpretive exhibit on the history of African American music in Lynchburg.

Virginia Chamber Orchestra (Alexandria) – Music in the Life of President Lincoln – $5,000

Production of an educational video, with print and on-line interpretive materials, focusing on the role of music in the life of President Abraham Lincoln.

African American Historical Society of Portsmouth (Portsmouth) – A Change Is Gonna Come – An Oral and Visual History Project – $8,000

An oral and visual history project documenting the history of the Portsmouth Community Library for African Americans, through the eyes of those who remember the library and led its transormation into a local history museum.

Bassett Historical Center (Bassett) – Truevine – $6,900

Funds to support research and travel leading to the development of a series of public programs on the story of George and Willie Muse, whose extraordinary lives are to be chronicled in a forthcoming book titled “Truevine,” and written by the writer Beth Macy, author of “Factory Man.”

 The Human Computer Project (Newport News) – The Human Computer Project – $9,900

The second phase of a long-term project to document, interpret, and present the stories of the pioneering female mathematicians (“human computers”) who worked at NASA and its predecessor agency during the early days of aeronautics and the U.S. Space Program.

 Norfolk State University (Norfolk) – Local Community History Project: The Role of the Black Church and Norfolk State University in the Civil Rights Movement in Norfolk, Virginia – $2,000

Research including a series of interviews, development of a photographic exhibit, and a related public program exploring the roles that Norfolk State University and Norfolk-area black churches played in the Civil Rights Movement.

Discretionary Grant Program

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Blacksburg) –African American History at Solitude: Developing an Interpretive Plan – $2,150

Planning to support development of an interpretive plan for the log building that adjoins Solitude Mansion, the oldest building on the Virginia Tech campus. The cabin was constructed in 1843 as housing for members of the enslaved community at Solitude, which was owned by Robert Preston, who donated the first parcel of land on which the land-grant college later known as Virginia Tech was built.

Robert E. Lee Memorial Association (Stratford) – Kremlin to Kremlin: the Joseph Roane Story – $2,500

Production of an educational video on the life of Joseph J. Roane, an African American agronomist from Kremlin, VA (Westmoreland County) who spent seven years in the Soviet Union in the 1930s working to modernize cotton production in Uzbekistan.

Sixth Mount Zion Baptist Church (Richmond) – John Jasper Brochure – $3,000

Production of an interpretive brochure on the Rev. John Jasper, whose sermon titled “De Sun Do Move” is celebrated as one of the great rhetorical achievements in Virginia and American history. The brochure is also designed to complement an exhibit on Jasper’s life and work at Sixth Mount Zion Baptist Church in Richmond.

EVS Communications – Harvest of Empire: Unit of Study for Virginia Schools – $2,500

Development of a “Unit of Study” exploring the history of Latino immigration/migration to the U.S. and designed for use by teachers in public school classrooms statewide.

Ferrum College (Ferrum) – Virginia Canneries Project – $2,000

Funds to support research leading to production of an exhibit on the history of community-based canneries, in rural Virginia, drawing in part on a large collection of vintage canning labels to help tell the story.

James River Writers (Richmond) – RVA Loves Writers – $1,500

A series of community-based panel discussions featuring professional authors and presented in conjunction with the annual James River Writers Conference.

 Prince George County Regional Heritage Center (Prince George)– Preservation of Historic Czech- and Slovak-American Cultural Artifacts – $2,500

Research and oral history documentation focusing on the history and traditions of the Czech and Slovak immigrant communities in Southside Virginia.

Project 1619 Inc. (Newport News) – A New World Film – $1,800

A film screening/discussion program examining the African/American experience as represented in a wide-ranging series of documentary films.

About VFH Grants

The Open Grant Program welcomes proposals on a wide range of subjects, for projects in any format. Deadlines are April 15th and October 15th. Draft proposals are strongly encouraged. The Discretionary Grant Program provides smaller grants of up to $3,000. There is no deadline for this program, but applicants should contact VFH staff in advance before submitting a proposal. For more information, visit https://virginiahumanities.orggrants/.

About VFH

The mission of Virginia Foundation for the Humanities is to connect people and ideas to explore the human experience and inspire culture engagement. Our work reaches an estimated annual audience of 26 million through Community Programs, Scholarship, and Digital Initiatives.