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Issue: National Endowment for the Humanities

Request

  • We urge Congress to provide at least $207 million for the NEH for FY 2024, level with FY 2023, and robust funding for FY 2025.

Introduction

The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) is an independent federal agency created by Congress in 1965. Grants are awarded to nonprofit educational institutions—including museums, colleges, universities, archives, and libraries—for educational programming and the care of collections, in addition to annual grants (approximately 40% of its budget) to state humanities councils located in every state and US territory.

Talking Points

In FY 2023, the National Endowment for the Humanities awarded 798 grants totaling more than $110.7 million to institutions across the US, including museums. All of NEH’s divisions and offices support museums:

  • The Office of Challenge Grants offers matching grants to support much needed capacity building and infrastructure projects at museums.
  • The Division of Public Programs offers grants that bring the ideas and insights of the humanities to life in museums and other spaces by supporting exhibitions, community conversations, and place-based history. Additionally, Positions in the Public Humanities supplements provide professional development opportunities for new museum professionals.
  • The Division of Preservation and Access provides funding to museums for efforts to preserve and provide access to our nation’s rich cultural heritage.
  • The Division of Education Programs supports programs that bring educators to museums for intensive summer training programs on humanities topics.
  • The Office of Digital Humanities offers grants to support innovations in technology at museums, universities, and other institutions.
  • The Division of Research supports scholarly research that many museums use to inform exhibitions and public programming.
  • In preparation for the U.S. Semiquincentennial in 2026, NEH’s “A More Perfect Union” initiative provides funding opportunities across the agency’s seven grantmaking divisions for humanities projects that promote a deeper understanding of American history and culture and that advance civic education and knowledge of our core principles of government. As part of the initiative, most of NEH’s grant programs include special encouragements to applications related to the United States’ 250th anniversary.
  • The agency has also partnered with the U.S. Department of Education to support a national convening to assess the state of civics education and knowledge of American history in K-12 education, and created new funding opportunities to support cultural infrastructure projects.
  • For more than a decade, NEH has supported important sustainability work on energy efficiency projects in collections care.

Status

The NEH is funded through the Interior & Environment appropriations bill. It was funded at $207 million for FY 2023 and currently is operating at the same level awaiting Congressional approval of FY 2024 funding. FY 2024 began on October 1, 2023. So far, the full Senate Appropriations Committee approved a bill with funding for FY 2024 level with FY 2023 for NEH. The House approved a bill that if enacted would cut FY 2024 funding by 10% compared with FY 2023 to $186.3 million for the agency. During floor consideration in the House an amendment to eliminate NEH’s funding for FY 2024 was overwhelmingly defeated 132 – 292 with strong bipartisan support.

NEH Funding History

Appropriation (in millions)

  • FY 24: TBD
  • FY 23: $207
  • FY 22: $180
  • FY 21: $167.5
  • FY 20: $162.25
  • FY 19: $155
  • FY 18: $152.8
  • FY 17: $149.8
  • FY 16: $147.9
  • FY 15: $145
  • FY 14: $145
  • FY 13 CR*: $146
  • FY 12: $146
  • FY 11: $154.7
  • FY 10: $167.5

*In FY 2013, across the board sequestration cuts reduced NEH’s effective funding to $138.4 million.

» National Endowment for the Humanities Printable PDF

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Supporting Letters and Testimony

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