The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage has announced grants totaling more than $706,000 to nine Philadelphia organizations working to stimulate the public's interest in and understanding of history and its relationship to contemporary life.
Awarded through the center's Heritage Philadelphia Program, the grants will provide support for planning and interpretive endeavors that address the needs of local communities as well as preservation programs that appeal to and engage a broad range of audiences. Grantees include the Legacy Center at the Drexel University College of Medicine, which received $75,000 to use video game technology to attract teenagers to its digital library and educate them about strong female figures; the National Constitution Center, which was awarded $75,000 to develop a theatrical presentation and multimedia installation to complement its Fighting for Democracy exhibition; and Scribe Video Center, which received $69,854 to help create an oral history and media project that explores the history of Muslim communities in the region.
In addition, $175,000 was awarded to the Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site; $75,000 to Cliveden of the National Trust and First Person Arts; $63,200 to the Historical Society of Pennsylvania; $50,000 to the Beth Sholom Synagogue Preservation Foundation; and $48,100 to Bartram's Garden.
"As a whole, these programs address issues of personal freedom and religious and cultural tolerance — the very principles upon which Philadelphia was founded and that have been incorporated into American life and cultural values," said Greg Rowe, director of culture initiatives at the Pew Charitable Trusts. "What is especially exciting about each of them is that they bring these historical subjects to light in a way that is particularly relevant to audiences today."