Indiana Humanities awards 27 nonprofits with more than $80,000 in grants

More than two dozen museums, libraries, universities and other organizations throughout the Hoosier State have received grants from Indiana Humanities to provide public humanities programs in their communities. Projects supported…

Purdue University Black Cultural Center: 2021 Action Grant Recipient

More than two dozen museums, libraries, universities and other organizations throughout the Hoosier State have received grants from Indiana Humanities to provide public humanities programs in their communities. Projects supported with Indiana Humanities grants include a series of programs in Frankfort recalling the history of World War I; a project in Steuben County to preserve and tell the story of a longtime African American resort community; a documentary that explores the contributions of Arab Americans in Indianapolis; screenings of a film that highlights the settlement of Switzerland County; and more.

From November 2020 through April 2021, Indiana Humanities awarded 14 Action Grants, eight Historic Preservation Education Grants and five INcommon Grants.

Action Grants (up to $3,000) support nonprofit organizations that sponsor public humanities programs such as exhibitions, workshops, lectures and reading and discussion programs.

Historic Preservation Education Grants (up to $2,500) fund activities that educate Indiana citizens about historic places and properties—and particularly about the need to preserve and protect them. Indiana Landmarks partners on this grant and provides half the funds.

INcommon Grants (up to $5,000) help Indiana nonprofits develop and implement public programs that look at the histories driving contemporary debates around immigration, gentrification, incarceration, policing, institutional racism, the legacies of segregation in housing and education, and more. The Indianapolis Foundation, a Central Indiana Community Foundation affiliate, provides funding for programs that take place in Marion County.

Indiana Humanities accepts applications for its grants at various times throughout the year. Guidelines and application deadlines are available at www.indianahumanities.org/grants.

“In the past year, we’ve seen just how vital the humanities are to our communities,” said Keira Amstutz, president and CEO of Indiana Humanities. “The humanities help us to engage with one another, have meaningful conversations, think critically and consider new perspectives, even when it’s not always easy to do so. The humanities also lift our spirits and enrich our lives, which is something we’ve obviously needed during the past fifteen months. We’re honored to support these organizations and the important work they’re doing to ensure that Hoosiers across the state have access to and benefit from the humanities.”

The following organizations received grants from November 2020 through April 2021 (full descriptions of the projects below):

Action Grants

  • Writers Guild at Bloomington, Bloomington
  • Joseph Moore Museum, Earlham College, Richmond
  • Musee de Venoge, Vevay
  • Ball State University, Muncie
  • Friends of the Frankfort Public Library, Frankfort
  • Indiana State Library, Indianapolis
  • Association for the Wolf Lake Initiative, Whiting
  • University of Southern Indiana/Historic New Harmony, New Harmony
  • Purdue Black Cultural Center, West Lafayette
  • Calumet College of St. Joseph, Whiting
  • Earlham College Department of History, Richmond
  • Arab Indianapolis Foundation, Indianapolis
  • Trustees of Indiana University/IUPUI Arts and Humanities Institute, Indianapolis
  • Little River Wetlands Project, Fort Wayne

Historic Preservation Education Grants

(cosponsored by Indiana Landmarks)

  • Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site, Indianapolis
  • City of Madison, Madison
  • Downtown Angola Coalition, Angola
  • Fox Lake Preservation Foundation, Angola
  • Landmark Columbus Foundation, Columbus
  • Marian University, Indianapolis
  • Quilters Hall of Fame, Marion
  • Heart of Lebanon, Lebanon

INcommon Grants

(cosponsored by the Indianapolis Foundation, a Central Indiana Community Foundation affiliate)

  • Indiana State Museum Foundation, Indianapolis
  • Kheprw Institute, Indianapolis
  • Morning Bishop Theatre Project, Gary
  • Trustees of Indiana University/IUPUI Religions Studies, Indianapolis
  • Trustees of Indiana University/IUPUI Center for Africana Studies, Indianapolis

Indiana Humanities will continue to award grants throughout the year. It also expects to announce in mid-June opportunities for relief funds for libraries, historical societies, museums and other tax-exempt groups affected by the coronavirus pandemic as part of the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 approved by Congress and signed into law by President Joseph R. Biden.

For more information about Indiana Humanities’ grants, contact George Hanlin, director of grants, at ghanlin@indianahumanities.org.

Here are descriptions of the projects:

Action Grants

How to Survive the Future Podcast
Writers Guild of Bloomington, Bloomington
Awarded: $3,000

How to Survive the Future is a podcast about life today from the perspective of tomorrow. The producers will ask writers, artists, scholars and others to imagine a world where they have faced the past, made it through the challenges of the present and tell us about life after that. Guests will explore real stories of the past and possible stories of the future to teach about history and society and offer a vision for how things might turn out differently than we expect. This grant helped to finish the first two episodes and lay the groundwork for a full season.

Rethinking Ta’an: Redesigning the Joseph Moore Museum’s Egyptian Exhibit
Joseph Moore Museum, Earlham College, Richmond
Awarded: $2,981

The Joseph Moore Museum is redesigning its permanent exhibit surrounding Ta’an, a Ptolemaic Period mummy. The new exhibit will better contextualize Ta’an in both Egyptian history and her connection to the Richmond community, where she has been on display for more than a century. It will better inform visitors about the fullness and complexity of Egyptian history and will explore how scientific analysis informs historical understanding. It will also foster conversations around important issues in museum practice, including the colonial processes by which mummies were acquired in the 19th century and the ethics of displaying human remains.

To Make a Beginning
Musee de Venoge, Vevay
Awarded: $1,900

The Musee de Venoge recently produced an hour-long documentary about the life of Jacob Weaver, the first owner of the historic farmstead the museum calls home, using as a resource 36 letters Weaver wrote between 1813 and 1847. This grant will support a series of screenings in the community, followed by a discussion between the producer and history professors from Hanover College. The goal of the discussion is to add context and enhance audience members’ understanding of how local, state and national events shaped the lives of early European settlers in southeastern Indiana.

“At Home” in Indiana: A Pilot Project to Inspire Apartment Industry Professionals through a Series of Virtual Book Discussions
Ball State University, Muncie
Awarded: $3,000

Ball State University is facilitating a series of virtual reading-and-discussion programs targeted toward apartment industry professionals. Participants are reading and discussing a number of children’s books about housing to look at how the books portray apartment living versus owning a house. The goal is to examine the portrayal of apartment living in children’s literature, understand the stigma that it often creates and consider ways to overcome that stigma.

In the Trenches of World War I
Friends of the Frankfort Public Library, Frankfort
Awarded: $3,000

The Friends of the Frankfort Public Library sponsored a series highlighting the history of World War I. Programs included a traveling exhibition provided by the Indiana Historical Society; a display of artifacts from the Indiana War Memorial and the Clinton County Museum; a talk by military historian and author Patrick O’Donnell; and a presentation by storyteller Sharon Kirk Clifton.

Grace Julian Clarke Scrapbook Digitization Project
Indiana State Library/Indiana Historical Bureau, Indianapolis
Awarded: $3,000

The Indiana State Library and Indiana Historical Bureau is in the process of digitizing 15 volumes of the scrapbook of Indianapolis suffragist and activist Grace Julian Clarke. Using the newly accessible materials as a source, they will then host a women’s suffrage Wikipedia Edit-a-Thon at the Indiana State Library and work with IUPUI public-history graduate students to write and distribute posts on the Indiana Historical Bureau’s blog.

Wolf Lake Abides
Association for the Wolf Lake Initiative, Whiting
Awarded: $2,973

The Association for the Wolf Lake Initiative, in conjunction with Ravenswood Media, is producing a one-hour documentary on the history of the Wolf Lake watershed. The documentary explores the changes to the Wolf Lake landscape over the last 200 years and traces how technology, industrial production and consumption have shaped the relationship between humans and their environment.

Robert Owen 250th Celebration
University of Southern Indiana/Historic New Harmony, New Harmony
Awarded: $3,000

Robert Owen, the Scottish industrialist who purchased the town of New Harmony in 1825 and worked to turn it into a model community focused on education and social equality, was born 250 years ago. To celebrate this milestone and promote further understanding about the town’s heritage, Historic New Harmony is hosting a series of educational programs throughout 2021, including exhibitions, lectures and conversations, reenactments, roundtables and more.

Where There’s People There’s Power
Purdue Black Cultural Center, West Lafayette
Awarded: $3,000

The Purdue Black Cultural Center is collaborating with BlackSpace Indianapolis to investigate Black luminaries, sites, spaces and places that have affected Black life in Indianapolis. As part of their work, they will create a digital campaign to illuminate the stories they uncover and host a series of digital town halls for critical conversation.

Calumet Revisited Forum 2021–2022
Calumet College of St. Joseph, Whiting
Awarded: $2,000

Calumet College of St. Joseph, in partnership with the Association for the Wolf Lake Initiative, is presenting its annual “Calumet Revisited” series, a monthly discussion program that features guest speakers who shed light on the region’s rich cultural and environmental history. Programs include an exploration of the area’s Underground Railroad history, a discussion of the Southeast Chicago Archive and Storytelling Project, an update on the establishment of a National Heritage Area in the Calumet region and more.

Teamsters Metropolis Podcast
Earlham College Department of History, Richmond
Awarded: $3,000

Earlham College is producing a podcast called Teamsters Metropolis that explores how the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (at one point the largest labor union in the United States) shaped the urban development of industrial cities in the Midwest and Northeast in the 1950s. The initial season will consist of six one-hour episodes.

Arab Indianapolis
Arab Indianapolis Foundation, Indianapolis
Awarded: $3,000

The Arab Indianapolis Foundation is producing Arab Indianapolis, an hour-long documentary. Hosted by Edward Curtis, an Arab American professor at IUPUI, the documentary will unearth a cultural heritage buried underneath some of Indianapolis’s best-known landmarks—a legacy hidden in plain sight.

Place, Power, Pandemic, and Protest: Indianapolis, Black Lives Matter, and COVID-19
Trustees of Indiana University/IUPUI Arts and Humanities Institute, Indianapolis
Awarded: $3,000

Place, Power, Pandemic, and Protest is a virtual exhibition examining the intersection of the COVID-19 pandemic and the racial justice movement in Indianapolis between March 2020 and March 2021. The IUPUI Arts and Humanities Institute is using grant funds to hire co-curators who will ensure that the exhibition incorporates the broader community’s narratives.

Video History of the Great Marsh
Little River Wetlands Project, Fort Wayne
Awarded: $3,000

In the 1880s, civic, agricultural and business leaders in Allen County determined that draining the Little River wetlands would lead to improved farming and economic growth for the area. In the 1990s, civic leaders, scientists and environmentalists reversed course and decided that restoring the wetlands would improve water quality, reduce the amount of crops lost to flooding and otherwise benefit the community. The Little River Wetlands Project is creating a series of videos to document the story of the Little River wetlands. In addition to telling the wetlands’ history, the videos will tackle larger ethical questions about how best to utilize natural resources, comparing historical and modern approaches. 

Historic Preservation Education Grants

(cosponsored by Indiana Landmarks)

Historic Delaware Street Walking Tour
Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site, Indianapolis
Awarded: $2,500

The Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site is updating its “Historic Delaware Street Walking Tour” brochure. The brochure tells the stories of the buildings that still stand—and used to stand—on Indianapolis’s Delaware Street, between 12th and 16th Streets. Information focuses on the structures’ history and architectural styles.

Madison Preservation Quest
City of Madison, Madison
Awarded: $2,500

The City of Madison will place QR codes at 11 historic sites throughout the community. Visitors can scan the codes to access digital information about each site, including its history, photos and potentially a digital tour of the interior. The city will also create a printed brochure with some of the information so those without smartphones will have access. 

Downtown Angola Walking Tour
Downtown Angola Coalition, Angola
Awarded: $2,500

The Downtown Angola Coalition is working with the city’s Historic Preservation Commission to design and install plaques that tell the history of many of the downtown’s buildings. The coalition is also creating a walking-tour brochure and adding expanded information to its website.

Informational Brochure, Photographic Inventory and Community Launch
Fox Lake Preservation Foundation, Angola
Awarded: $925

The Fox Lake Preservation Foundation is a newly formed nonprofit that advocates for the preservation of the natural and built environment of Fox Lake, which is home to a historic African American resort community. This grant will help the foundation to develop an informational brochure telling about the community, its historic structures and the goals of the foundation.

Educate Hoosiers on the Value of First Christian Church
Landmark Columbus Foundation, Columbus
Awarded: $2,500

Landmark Columbus Foundation is producing a website and hosting a public event to educate and raise awareness about the exemplary design history of Columbus’s First Christian Church and the need for the church’s preservation. The website will feature historic documentation, commissioned texts, academic research and compelling photography, and the public event will include a talk by Louis Joyner, an architect who has worked for a decade to preserve the building.

Jens Jensen in Indiana
Marian University, Indianapolis
Awarded: $2,500

Marian University is developing a website/repository to educate and inform audiences about the work that landscape architect Jens Jensen carried out at Riverdale, the Allison family estate that is now part of Marian’s campus. The project will also collect, conserve and make available materials about other Jensen landscapes in Indiana.

The Quilters Hall of Fame Virtual 3D Museum Tour
The Quilters Hall of Fame, Marion
Awarded: $2,500

The Quilters Hall of Fame is creating and making available online a virtual tour of its museum, which is located in the former home of Marie Webster, an influential quilt designer in the early 1900s. The tour will feature 360-degree views, videos and texts to educate remote visitors about the story of Webster, her home and items in the collection.

Historic Lebanon Courthouse Square Walking Tour
The Heart of Lebanon, Lebanon
Awarded: $2,500

The Heart of Lebanon, Lebanon’s Main Street organization, is creating a self-guided tour that highlights historic properties surrounding the town’s courthouse square. The tour will be accessible via a mobile app that includes images, descriptions and audio narratives.

INcommon Grants (cosponsored by the Indianapolis Foundation, a Central Indiana Community Foundation affiliate)

Major Taylor: World’s Fastest Cyclist
Indiana State Museum Foundation, Indianapolis
Awarded: $2,500

The Indiana State Museum and Historic Sites is creating an exhibition on Marshall “Major” Taylor, a Black man from Indianapolis who broke barriers by becoming a world-champion bicyclist in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Grant funds will support accompanying discussion programs that invite audiences to lean into the issues of human perseverance, racial and social justice, and equity.

Afrofuture Fridays
Kheprw Institute, Indianapolis
Awarded: $5,000

The Kheprw Institute is hosting AfroFuture Fridays, a series that engages the community, Afrofuturist writers and humanities scholars in monthly discussions around identity, race, economic models, systems of organization and justice. Each month, guest speakers who are authors, artists and visionaries lead conversations that center on various forms of Afrofuturist expression. The series also focuses on the professional and creative development and mentorship of youth interested in using Afrofuturism as a vehicle to explore more socially just futures.

Richard Wright’s Native Son Discussion Program
The Morning Bishop Theatre Project, Gary
Awarded: $5,000 

The Morning Bishop Theatre Project, in partnership with the Nelson Algren Museum, is hosting a community reading and discussion program centered on Richard Wright’s classic novel Native Son. The facilitator-led discussions focus on themes such as the oppressive nature of racism on both the oppressed and oppressor, the psychology of poverty and the concept of justice in both theory and practice.

Food Injustice and White Supremacy: Problems at the Intersections
Trustees of Indiana University/IUPUI Religions Studies, Indianapolis
Awarded: $5,000

IUPUI’s Religious Studies department is producing a short documentary that explores how racism and segregation limit access to healthy food and how food systems perpetuate white supremacy. In the documentary, members of the Black vegan movement, Black healthcare chaplains and other Black community leaders and activists will reflect on their experience of being marginalized because of race, share how they advocate for food justice and consider how religion can serve as a white supremacist framework but also as an anti-racist one. The documentary, freely distributed through online platforms, will reach public and scholarly audiences.

Flanner House Oral History Project
Trustees of Indiana University/IUPUI Center for Africana Studies and Culture, Indianapolis
Awarded: $5,000

IUPUI’s Center for Africana Studies and Culture, in partnership with the Association for the Study of African American Life and History, is developing the Flanner House Oral History Project, an interactive community-engaged project highlighting a Black Indianapolis institution, the Flanner House, which provides social services in the heart of Indianapolis. The project includes elements of historical research and reenactment, digital humanities and an exhibition.