Southeast Tourism Society Statement on Federal Funding for the National Endowment for the Humanities

The National Endowment for the Humanities(NEH)was created by Congress in 1965.As communities across the Southeast and the country work to leverage their distinctive culture, history,traditions, and spirit into successful tourism programs that drive economic growth and job creation, the NEH is an essential partner.

The National Endowment for the Humanities is an independent federal agency that serves as one of the largest funders of humanities programs in the United States.Because democracy demands wisdom, NEH serves and strengthens our republic by promoting excellence in the humanities and conveying the lessons of history to all Americans. The Endowment accomplishes this mission by awarding grants for top-rated proposals examined by panels of independent, external reviewers. NEH grants typically go to cultural institutions, such as museums, archives, libraries, colleges, universities, public television, and radio stations, in addition to individual scholars.

NEH invests in the academic studies and research that help communities to document their culture and history and to better tell their stories. In the Southeast, these investments have included: South Food ways Alliance at the University of Mississippi;Ken Burns’ landmark documentary, The Civil War; Spartanburg (SC) County Public Libraries, a leader in preserving South Carolina’s Upcountry cultural heritage; and a project at William and Mary College to help Native American students document and preserve the Seminole language.

Despite deep investments in the cultural and historic resources that drive vibrant communities and exceptional travel experiences, the Administration has proposed eliminating funding for the NEH.

Southeast Tourism Society calls on Congress and the President of the United States to fund this essential federal agency at its current level of $148 million in recognition of the vital role NEH plays in helping communities to preserve and tell the stories of the Southeast’s extraordinary culture and history.