Indiana Humanities has received a $300,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) to fund a fleet of programs inspired by the classic novel Frankenstein, which turns 200 in 2018. As a result of this funding, organizations from across Indiana will have the opportunity to participate in a statewide read and to bring innovative humanities-based programming to their communities to discuss the book and its themes.
Through One State / One Story: Frankenstein, Indiana Humanities will partner with the Indiana State Library to award book sets and program funds to libraries, schools and community centers of all sizes; sponsor a statewide tour of thought-provoking talks on the book’s key themes; offer an immersive weekend retreat in March at DePauw University; coordinate special courses, exhibits and film festivals at 13 colleges and universities; host an Indiana Sci-Fi and Horror Writers Festival in 2018; and kick it all off with a one-of-a-kind free read-a-thon at the Indiana Medical History Museum on Sept. 30, 2017.
“NEH grants often go to cultural institutions, such as large museums, libraries, colleges and universities, and public television and radio stations,” said Keira Amstutz, president and CEO of Indiana Humanities. “We’re thrilled to have received this prestigious and competitive grant and we look forward to engaging Hoosiers in discussions about some of the book’s major ideas.”
One State / One Story: Frankenstein is part of Indiana Humanities’ two-year Quantum Leap initiative, which encourages Hoosiers to celebrate what happens when we bridge the humanities with STEM.
Written by teenage Mary Shelley in 1818, Frankenstein tells the story of a young scientist who created a grotesque living creature through a scientific experiment and was horrified by what he had made.
“When it comes to asking the hard questions at the heart of scientific investigation, perhaps no book has ever topped Frankenstein,’’ said Leah Nahmias, director of programming at Indiana Humanities. “The book raises big questions about right and wrong, how we live in the world and the relationship between science and society, among others. We’re still wrestling with major themes of the book today—that’s what makes it such a classic. We think it’s the perfect jumping-off point for Hoosiers to explore the larger themes of Quantum Leap, and have a little fun, too.”
Communities around Indiana will have the opportunity to request funds for a Community Read grant of $1,000, as well as for funds to host a read-a-thon of their own (application open Sept. 6). Community Read grants will be open to libraries, schools, museums, community centers, cities and towns, and other tax-exempt organizations. Awarded organizations will host at least two community programs tied to the book during 2018, including a book discussion. Each site will receive 50 books, along with $1,000 of program funds and assorted collateral (bookmarks, posters, etc.) to promote the programs. The $1,000 project funds can be used for a variety of purposes, including to book speakers through a special Frankenstein speakers bureau curated by Indiana Humanities.
“Indiana Humanities has a strong track record of creating distinctive and ambitious public humanities programs that invite more than the usual suspects to take part in compelling and sometimes difficult discussions,” said Karen Mittelman, director of the Division of Public Programs at the National Endowment for the Humanities. “We think One State / One Story: Frankenstein is a model for how to make the humanities accessible and engaging for broad and diverse audiences.”
Indiana Humanities was one of four organizations in Indiana to receive an NEH grant in this round of funding, which sent nearly $1 million to the state. The Indiana State Library, Indiana University—Bloomington and the Trustees of Indiana University (Indianapolis) were also awarded special grants.
“We are grateful to the NEH, which joins a long list of individual, corporate and other philanthropic donors to help us expand the humanities throughout Indiana,” said Amstutz. “These funds will ensure thousands of Hoosiers get the chance to participate in the program and it will bolster existing humanities programs and organizations already thriving in communities across the state.”
More information about the individual programs is available at www.IndianaHumanities.org/Frankenstein.