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NHPRC – Responses to Possible Objections/Concerns

1. NHPRC duplicates other programs, such as NEH. NHPRC is the only federal program that concentrates on records programs and projects. It is the only federal program that links federal archives with those held by states, counties, municipalities, universities and nongovernmental organizations. It is the only federal program designed specifically with archives in mind.

NHPRC funded re-grant programs reach small grassroots organizations—all-volunteer local historical societies, churches, local public libraries, ethnic groups and local governments—that no other federal funding program reaches.  These organizations are key to preserving the diversity of the record that makes up the American experience. Most of the institutions who receive NHPRC money through state archives regrants are not eligible for NEH money. Eliminating the NHPRC will hurt the small institutions in your congressional district.

The chart at the end of this sheet demonstrates that there are significant archival programs supported by NHPRC alone and very few areas of overlap with other federal programs.

2. Times are tough and we all need to tighten our belts.  The need for NHPRC is growing, not declining. NHPRC emphasizes collaborative projects and state/local matching funds that are extremely cost-effective. Grants made by NHPRC get a very high bang for the buck.

NHPRC puts money back into the local areas where the taxpayers live. Unlike larger programs that may fund one well-known institution for millions of dollars, NHPRC’s funds get down to the grass-roots level where even small amounts of money make a big difference.

NHPRC grants address problems—such as electronic records—that effect the nation, every state and territory, and every community, then they develop scalable solutions that can be applied in towns, counties and states across the nation. Without NHPRC, every community would be tackling these problems piecemeal.

The federal government spends hundreds of millions of dollars to support history programs in general, but only $5-10 million to support historical records programs. Eliminating NHPRC will eliminate even that small amount.

3. I don’t see NHPRC having a big impact in my community. NHPRC funds many behind the scenes management, preservation and access projects. When Ken Burns produced the Civil War video series, he used photographs and letters preserved with NHPRC money. The popular book by Joseph Ellis, His Excellency: George Washington, could not have been written without the documentary edition of George Washington’s papers—funded by NHPRC.

Your local historical society may have received a regrant of NHPRC funds to care for a photograph collection or a treasured diary. Children in your schools are probably learning history through historical documents, and NHPRC-funded Teachers’ Guides help that happen.

If your community is home to a major research institution, you’ve probably seen the impact of millions of federal dollars, but nearly every community in America has seen the impact of a small grant from NHPRC.

Comparison of Archival and Records Management Functions
Funded by Federal Granting Agencies

 

Archival and records management function

NHPRC

NEH

IMLS

SAT

Identify potentially valuable archival records for permanent retention

YES

No

No

No

Conduct research on preservation of electronic records

YES

No

No

No

Conduct research on providing access to electronic records

YES

No

No

No

Establish policies and best practices for preservation and access to electronic records

YES

No

No

No

Conduct State level planning efforts to examine needs, plan for preservation and access to historical records in each state

YES

No

No

No

Provide re-grant funding in cooperation with states to assist grass-roots and community-based organizations

YES

No

No

No

Establish institutional archival and records management programs for colleges, universities, and historical societies

YES

No

No

No

Establish tribal records management and archival programs

YES

No

No

No

Provide training for documentary editing

YES

No

No

No

Provide fellowships for documentary editing

YES

No

No

No

Provide fellowships for archival administration

YES

No

No

No

Arrange and describe archival records

Yes

Yes if they support a humanities theme of national importance

Yes, if part of digitization of records suitable for scholarly research

No

Create finding aids and access tools to archival records

Yes

Yes if they support a humanities theme of national importance

Yes if it is part of digitization of records suitable for scholarly research

No

Create archival education programs

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

Digitize archival records

No

Yes

Yes

No

Research and development on digitization of archival records

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

Conduct preservation treatment for archival records

           Yes

Yes

No

Yes

Conduct preservation assessments for archival records

Yes

Yes

No

No

Create public programs using archival records

No

Yes

Yes

No

Develop programs to attract new audiences

No

No

Yes

No

 

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