Texas National Guard soldiers conduct rescue operations in flooded areas around Houston, Texas, on August 27, 2017. (photo by 1Lt. Zachary West, 100th MPAD; courtesy Texas National Guard, via Wikimedia Commons)

Today, as Tropical Storm Harvey headed eastward from Texas into Louisiana, the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) announced that it would award up to $1 million in emergency grants to cultural organizations for recovery and preservation efforts. The grants are intended to fund the preservation of humanities collections impacted by the storm, as well as helping institutions — from universities and libraries to museums and historical societies — to get back up and running.

The first $250,000 in NEH emergency grants will be distributed via Humanities Texas and the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities. The remaining $750,000 will be allocated beginning September 8 and through December 31, when cultural organizations in disaster zones (as designated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency) can begin applying for emergency grants of up to $30,000. In addition to the $1 million in emergency grants, the NEH is allowing existing grant recipients in FEMA-designated disaster areas to change the scope of their grants in order to serve more critical recovery and rebuilding purposes.

Though it’s still much too early to know how big an impact Harvey has had on cultural organizations in Texas and Louisiana — many of Houston’s museums reported relatively little damage, while others suffered devastating losses — the NEH’s emergency grants will no doubt be an enormous help to organizations rebuilding after the flood.

The federal agency similarly made more than $1 million in emergency grants in the nine months following Hurricane Katrina, and ultimately over $2 million over the course of three years to arts organizations in Gulf states affected by that disaster. In the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, both the New York Council for the Humanities and the New Jersey Council for the Humanities received $30,000 emergency grants from the NEH.

Update, 9/7: Today, the NEH opened the application process for emergency grants of up to $30,000 each. More information and application forms can be found here.

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