Approved by the OAH Executive Committee on March 29, 2017
The Executive Board of the Organization of American Historians strongly urges the U.S. Congress to include funding for the National Endowment of the Humanities and the National Endowment for the Arts at similar or higher levels than in the past in the upcoming national budget. We urge the Congress to resist efforts to defund and eliminate these essential agencies, which have been crucial in bringing the benefits of the arts and humanities to the American public for over a half-century. The Organization of American Historians applauds the way that communities across the United States—in every state and every district—have shared in the excitement of learning about their own histories through the collaboration of the National Endowment for the Humanities.
The NEH and NEA have aided independent researchers, community groups, non-profit efforts and local agencies such as libraries, museums, and historical societies in the field of American history (among other areas), enabling a broad public to understand the past better. These national agencies have enabled oral history projects to preserve local communities’ history and sense of belonging and pride, a multitude of educational programs, and documentary histories that illuminate the importance of knowing the past. Such projects are indispensable cultural resources. They enable our citizenry to consult how previous generations faced and resolved public challenges and celebrated national achievements.
Through public presentations of American history so crucially supported by NEH and NEA, all Americans can better understand our nation and the world today. The sustenance of democracy depends on our citizenry’s access to such cultural resources. The Organization of American Historians firmly opposes any budget cuts that would jeopardize the NEH and NEA.