Museum Receives $100,000 NEH Challenge Grant

The Legacy Museum has received a $100,000 challenge grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities through a Special Initiative for Local History. There were 93 applicants for these grants from all over the United States; Legacy’s proposal was one of the seven that were funded.

To receive the $100,000, Legacy must raise an equal amount over the next three years. The first installment of $33,000 must be raised by July 31, 2003.

The money will go into the Museum’s endowment fund, which is held by the Greater Lynchburg Community Trust. Income from the endowment will be used to pay a professional curator to research and plan the Museum’s exhibits.

“The ability to hire an experienced curator—a museum professional who specializes in African American history—will mark a major turning point for Legacy,” said Carolyn Bell, co-chair of the Museum’s collection committee. “Having a professional curator will mean that all of the Museum’s exhibits and programs will be based on the very best scholarship in the field.”

The award endorses the work of the Legacy Project over the past ten years, and especially since the Museum’s opening in 2000, to collect, preserve, and display the rich history and culture of Central Virginia’s African Americans.

“NEH grants are extremely competitive,” Bell said. “We are thrilled that NEH has recognized the hard work of so many volunteers over such a long time.”

NEH is an independent grant-making agency created by Congress in 1965 to support research, education, and public programs in the humanities. Challenge grants help institutions engaged in humanities activities—institutions that include museums—to secure long-term support for their programs and resources.

The grant gives the Museum a fund-raising challenge comparable to the initial effort to renovate and equip the building at 403 Monroe Street where Legacy’s three major exhibits have been installed.

Fund-raising efforts will be guided by the Museum’s advisory committee. Members are Malissa Austin, Jim Boomershine, Jean Devine, Mary Saunders Hoban, Annis McCabe, Rosel Schewel, Peter Marcy, Ann van de Graaf, Ron Dolan, MaryJane Dolan, Rev. Carl B. Hutcherson, Barry Donald Jones, Rev. Haywood Robinson, Jr., L. Garnell Stamps, Jean Hughes Stewart, and Jean Smith Turner.

“We are going to need the whole community’s help to meet the NEH challenge,” said board president Joseph A. Berryman. “Every dollar given to the fund-raising challenge will bring another dollar from the NEH.”

Checks may be written to the Legacy Museum, with “NEH Challenge” in the memo line, and sent to the Legacy Project, P.O. Box 308, Lynchburg, VA 24505. Checks may also be sent directly to the Greater Lynchburg Community Trust, P.O. Box 714, Lynchburg, VA, 24505.

Since Legacy is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, all contributions are tax deductible.

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