Center for History and New Media Wins Challenge Grant

Posted: February 10, 2000 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Carrie Secondo

The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) has awarded George Mason University’s Center for History and New Media a challenge grant to create an endowment of $2 million to support and expand the work of the center. The center was created in 1994 to look at how new technology is challenging historians to rethink the ways they research, write, present, and teach.

This is the first challenge grant awarded to George Mason by the NEH. The money is awarded on a 3 to 1 ratio and is received only as the university matches it–George Mason must raise $1.5 million over the next four years to receive the full $500,000 from the NEH, making the total funds raised $2 million.

“This grant is a gold seal of approval for what we have accomplished in the past five years, and a vote of confidence in what we are planning for the future,” says Roy Rosenzweig, director of the center.

The center has been a national leader in using new media, including CD-ROMs and the World Wide Web, to create resources and tools for presenting the past more effectively and creatively to diverse audiences. Its award-winning products have had a particular impact in college and pre-college classrooms around the world. But it has also worked on developing ways that new media and new technology can enhance historical scholarship and help bring historical understanding to the general public.

The proposal submitted for the grant outlines plans to use the money for long-term initiatives, including updating current projects, buying new computer hardware and continual software updates, and widening the leadership by hiring new postdoctoral and faculty fellows.

The NEH awarded 26 challenge grants based on the quality and importance of the proposed programs. “This grant is huge in terms of the amount of recognition we have received,” says Rosenzweig. “This gives us a huge advantage by showing donors that their money is going to a program with lasting value and reputation.”

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