The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) invites historical societies, libraries, archives, museums, colleges, and other local institutions to apply for the Common Heritage grant program, the first federal grant program of its kind. Grants will support day-long events, organized by community cultural institutions, in which members of the public will be invited to share materials important to their family or community histories, such as photographs, artifacts, family letters, and works of art.

These items will be digitized, along with descriptive information and context provided by the community attendees. With the owner's permission, the digitized materials will be made publicly available through the institution’s online collections. Contributors will receive a free digital copy of their items to take home, along with the original materials.

These materials will also be used for public programming—including lectures, exhibitions, discussion programs, and film screenings—that celebrates and expands knowledge of the community's past and the diverse histories of its members.

NEH’s Common Heritage program will award grants of up to $12,000 to community cultural organizations to coordinate community events and ensure that a wide range of historical materials can be digitized and contextualized through public programming.

More information on the Common Heritage program, including application guidelines and a list of FAQs, is available at The application deadline for the initial cycle of Common Heritage grants is June 25, 2015. The first round of Common Heritage digitization days is expected to take place in early 2016.

In 2014, Humanities Texas worked with local partnering organizations to host community History Harvests in San Angelo and Brownsville. For more information on the Humanities Texas History Harvest program, please contact Melissa J. Huber at 512.440.1991 or

A Concho Valley resident looks through family photographs with volunteers from the San Angelo Museum of Fine Arts at the San Angelo History Harvest in January 2014.
Manuel Gutierrez, student volunteer from The University of Texas at Brownsville, and Sheena Moore, Humanities Texas staff member, scan glass negatives from the turn of the twentieth century at the Brownsville History Harvest in September 2014. Brownsville Herald photo by Miguel Roberts.