Save America's Treasures Awards $9.5 Million in Preservation GrantsSave America's Treasures Awards $9.5 Million in Preservation Grants

The last column from the ruins of the World Trade Center honored both the rescuers and those who had perished. Corrosion threatens its future, as well as the fading iron gall ink of the less imposing 18th century Friendly Association Papers. These Quaker documents are a rare window on an experiment to foster peace between colonists and native peoples during an intense period of frontier bloodshed. Although separated by more than 200 years, both are witnesses to key chapters in U.S. history and are part of a larger fabric of objects, documents, collections, structures and places that will be restored and conserved this year with forty-one awards totaling $9.5 million from Save America's Treasures (SAT). They are typical of Save America's Treasures projects, which help address the most prevalent threats to a historic and cultural legacy that encompasses the diversity of our national experience from restoring places and buildings to conserving journals, artistic works and collections.

Save America's Treasures Awards $9.5 Million in Preservation GrantsBits of paint, photos and paper were plastered onto the last column from the ruins of the World Trade Center and this imposing but fragile memorial will be preserved with a 2009 Save America's Treasures grant. Photo courtesy of the Port Authority of NY & NJ.
“Save America's Treasures represents an exceptional process that blends the best expertise of the National Endowment for the Arts, National Endowment for the Humanities and the Institute of Museum and Library Services and the National Park Service to select and recommend projects of exceptional value to our nation's cultural and historic legacy. With the support of Congress and the White House, and bolstered by the exceptional efforts of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, this program exemplifies what the public and private sector can accomplish together in preserving these pre-eminent symbols of our democracy and cultural values,” says George Stevens, Co-Chairman of the President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities.

This unique interagency partnership and holistic approach to preservation allows the program to address the breadth of applications and projects awarded grants, which run an immense gamut from ships and paintings to gardens and film to churches and journals. As diverse as these projects are, they all share one common characteristic as irreplaceable pieces of this nation's cultural and historic identity and story. This year's awards include two rare surviving colonial churches in New Mexico and Massachusetts, whose communities of faith were building blocks for the future United States. More projects will restore 19th and 20th-century architectural gems of Daniel Burnham, Frank Lloyd Wright, Stanford White and Louis Tiffany, whose architectural styles reflect American progress and innovation. From the Civil War to the Cold War, Save America's Treasures grants will also the ensure memories, artifacts and aspirations remain alive for future generations. All of these 2009 SAT projects confront and help remedy a range of threats from decay and structural collapse to ensure that this cultural and historic legacy can be experienced by the next generation of artists, scholars, students and citizens.

Overall, twenty-one awards were made to institutions with collections, artifacts, artistic works or documents and twenty awards were made to organizations caring for structures and sites. Some 402 groups applied for SAT funds this year with than $87.6 million in total requests for proposed projects.