Cultural Heritage Grants
Our Cultural Heritage Grants
Our grants in this area support local stewards in their work to preserve, document, and disseminate the timeless cultural heritage that is under threat around the world, especially in countries where other sources of funding are not available. (Whereas our other programs focus on the United States, this one is international.)
Many of our initial grants have emphasized documentary cultural heritage, such as manuscripts and inscriptions. A commitment to the written word as a vessel for the transmission of ideas and culture has always animated Whiting’s work, and it continues to guide us as we develop this new program. Explore some of our grants below.
Documenting museum collections in Iraq and Syria
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, in support of local professionals
In response to urgent requests from colleagues at museums in Iraq and Syria, The Met designed a portable kit containing all of the camera and lighting equipment, electronics, software, and power required for high-quality photography of heritage objects. They have trained and equipped a dozen local professionals, who are now documenting and publishing their holdings. The rich catalogs they create will help protect against loss from looting and allow the museums to share their collections widely.
Prototyping a Digital Library of the Middle East
CLIR, Antiquities Coalition, Qatar National Library, and partners
Launched January 2018
The DLME is an ambitious project to connect the digital repositories of Middle Eastern cultural heritage currently siloed around the globe by creating a central portal empowering anyone with an internet connection to easily search and discover these collections. The guiding principle of the project is service to people in the region: to help reveal, share, and protect cultural materials and the living and historical cultures they represent. An initial technical proof-of-concept launched publicly on January 31, 2018.
Digitizing manuscript collections in liberated Mosul
ASOR-CHI, in support of Moslawi cultural institutions
The recent occupation of Mosul and northern Iraq by ISIS took a profound toll on the region’s citizens and infrastructure, including the remarkable intellectual record of this important cultural capital. As part of the ongoing recovery effort, ASOR-CHI is collaborating with the Digital Center for Eastern Manuscripts and the Hill Museum & Manuscript Library to train and equip Iraqi heritage professionals to digitize significant manuscripts held at the city’s university, library, and museum and in private collections.
Digitizing manuscript collections in western Syria
HMML, in support of Syrian professionals
The Antiochian (Greek) Orthodox Church in Syria requested the Hill Museum and Manuscript Library’s assistance in preserving more than a thousand secular and religious manuscripts housed in ecclesiastical collections in Damascus, Hama, and Latakia, and written in Greek, Syriac, and Arabic. This project reactivates HMML’s work in Syria, where they partnered with local organizations to provide training and equipment to digitize manuscripts from 2003 to 2012, when conflict in the country forced a suspension of the work.
Action grants to preserve documentary heritage worldwide
Partnership with the Prince Claus Fund for local regrants
Making use of the extensive international network of cultural heritage experts of the Prince Claus Fund’s Cultural Emergency Response program, this co-funded initiative provides modest grants directly to collections in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Caribbean to safeguard documentary heritage that is acutely threatened by recent conflict or other disaster, whether natural or man-made. Evaluation of responses to the initial call for proposals, which closed at the end of 2017, are currently underway.