South Texas is well on its way into another hot summer, but many along the coast are still recovering from the hurricanes that struck last summer. In support of their efforts, Humanities Texas has awarded over $30,000 in hurricane relief grants to educational and cultural organizations that suffered losses as a result of the storms.
Humanities Texas announced the Hurricane Relief Fund, which was supported by a $30,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities Chairman's Emergency Fund, and began accepting applications in February. The grants of up to $2,000 support collection replacement, conservation work, and professional consultation. The grant awards have been split between schools, libraries, and museums and are covering a range of costs.
Many public school libraries, such as those of Hardin Elementary and Junior High Schools and several schools in Galveston, will use the grant money to replace books lost during Hurricane Ike. For some schools, the damage didn't end with the storm. At Hampshire/Fannett Intermediate School, the roof collapsed during Hurricane Ike, destroying carpet, computers, furniture, and over 300 books in the library.
"After the storm, we felt like we had rescued many of the books," said Hampshire/Fannett Librarian Sherridan Shakour. "Now it seems the books are drying out completely, and the glue is releasing, causing many of the books to simply come apart. This is decreasing our collection even more." Shakour will spend a $2,000 grant from the Hurricane Relief Fund on replacements for books supporting humanities courses lost during and after the storm.
Public libraries suffered as well. Both the Bridge City Public Library and the Rosenberg Library in Galveston lost significant portions of their children's collections. Bridge City's grant will replace a set of youth biographies and youth books on CD while the Rosenberg Library will replace much of its children's materials.
Affected museums need funds for conservation of damaged materials and to revive educational outreach programs. The Museum of the Gulf Coast will use awarded funds to support conservation of unique collections that were damaged by the Hurricane Ike. Another museum, the Heritage House Museum in Orange, will use the grant to replace lost materials that support educational outreach and programming. The Galveston Historical Foundation will use their award for similar materials.
"When Hurricane Ike rolled over Galveston Island, the storm surge flooded the first floor [of the foundation's building] with over five feet of murky water, just high enough to reach the bottom shelves of the library," said W. Dwayne Jones of Galveston Historical Foundation. "The library lost approximately eighty books of Galveston and Texas history and fifteen maps showing the development of Galveston Island. These grant funds will be used to purchase replacements."
Humanities Texas has received over twenty hurricane relief fund applications and awards have averaged over $1,500. Grant awards have been made in consultation with the Texas Historical Commission, the Texas Commission on the Arts, the Texas State Library and Archives Commission, the Texas Association of Museums, and the Texas Library Association. Humanities Texas is still accepting and reviewing applications on a rolling basis.