National Historical Publications & Records Commission

Public Engagement Projects

For projects that encourage citizen engagement with historical records, especially those available online.

FY 2023


University of Illinois, Chicago

Chicago, IL

$125,038 to support “Teaching Care: Building a history curricular library of Chicago’s Black nurses,” an initiative of the Midwest Nursing History Research Center in collaboration with the Black Metropolis Research Consortium. The team will create a curricular library of lesson plans, built from primary archival sources and previously collected oral histories, to engage students in middle school, high school, undergraduate nursing and graduate nursing education. (DL-103545)


Stillman College

Tuscaloosa, AL

$145,556 to support a collaborative project of the college’s School of Education and Department of English, Journalism, and Media Communications, with the Alabama Alliance of Arts Education, the Alabama State Council on the Arts, the Alabama Institute for Education in the Arts for “Students reFraming: Narratives of African American Female Landownership in Alabama’s Black Belt.” Students, educators, and community-based individuals will use public records as foundation for research into the history, culture, and family of African American female landowners in the Alabama Black Belt. Students will then create character sketches and digital shorts based on the research data and share them with the community at large. (DP-103588)


Lewis & Clark College

Portland, OR

$149,828 to support the Vietnamese Portland Archive, including providing access to additional records, provide training to Vietnamese-American community organizations, offer teacher and librarian training, and develop curricular tools drawing from these collections to be used in the school district’s Vietnamese Dual Language Immersion program. (DP-103589)


University of Northern Iowa

Somewhere, IA

$50,000 to support a project to develop, test, and promote a new embeddable Exhibit Tool to become part of a suite of capabilities built into, a digital archival platform, that displays thousands of digital-only collections chronologically, geographically, and thematically. The Connecticut Digital Library and five partner sites – the Great Plains Action Society, the Anamosa State Penitentiary Museum, the Cedar Falls Public Library, the Clinton Public Library, and the Kendall Young Library – will embed and test the Exhibit Tool. (DP-103605)


Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

Blacksburg, VA

$150,000 to support the Chicago Covenants Project, which draws on volunteers to locate, digitize, and make available every racially restrictive covenant in the analog land records of Cook County, Illinois, in order to explore how covenants were key tools of racial segregation and how they continue to affect society.   (DP-103606)

FY 2022


Villanova University

Villanova, PA

$112,500 to support curriculum development for the Last Seen: Finding Family after Slavery project which aims to identify, digitize, transcribe, and publish ads placed in newspapers across the United States (and beyond) by formerly enslaved people searching for family members and loved ones after emancipation. To date, the project has published 4,000 ads online spanning eight decades drawn from 267 newspapers. The project will host teacher workshops, and create lesson plans and teaching materials for primary and secondary school classroom use, using materials drawn from the Last Seen digital documentary edition. (DP-103404)


See Stories

Anchorage, AK

$149,250 to support a project that will provide 6th-12th grade educators with professional development focusing on the use of archival material that documents the history of enslavement of the Indigenous People of Alaska. See Stories is a nonprofit organization  that seeks to build inclusive communities through film and storytelling. (DP-103427)


Hunter College

New York, NY

$150,000 to support a project to create a mobile version of  the Puerto Rican Heritage Cultural Ambassadors (PRHCA) program: a free self-paced, multimedia online course on Puerto Rican history and culture based on archival holdings at Hunter College’s Center for Puerto Rican Studies (Centro) Library.  Since 2016, PRHCA has been a collaborative endeavor that brings together in-house archivists, librarians, and documentarians with external historians, scholars, and cultural and civic organizations. (DP-103446)


Eastern Educational Television Network

  dba American Public Television

Boston, MA

$90,788 to support a collaborative project of American Public Television, Field Studio, New American History, and PBS Learning Media for  Explaining Today: The Future of America’s Past, a multi-year professional learning  and content development project focused on engaging grade 6-12 teachers and their students in exploring American history and geography through digital humanities projects and scholarship,  gaining access to archival collections, primary sources and public documents via inquiry-based learning resources and open educational resources. (DP-103464)


Chinese Historical Society of America

San Francisco, CA

$150,000 to support a project will create a series of augmented reality walking tours centered around the history and archives of Chinese American heritage in San Francisco and Northern California. The project will allow users to experience archival assets in their original historic locations, using more detailed storytelling and interpretive audio and video accompaniments from local historians and audio and visual filmmakers. The public will also be able to make direct contributions to enhance the connection between artifacts and documents with particular sites. (DP-103465)