Distributed National Collection? It's alive and well!

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Lately we notice that a 'Community Heritage' Grant Program, for the preservation of courthouses and schools, and a 'Common Heritage' Program, through which community historical materials are digitised, have been launched respectively by the Mississippi Department of Archives and History, and the United States National Endowment for the Humanities.

Also, in Australia we had the extremely well-funded place- and celebration-based 'Your Community Heritage' Grant Program from 2011-2013, and Senator Simon Birmingham delivered upon a 2013 federal election promise for a new $1.4 million 'Community Heritage and Icons' Grant Program. Anne-Marie Schwirtlich and Veronica at CHG Awards 2015This program follows in the footsteps of the short-lived 'Your Community Heritage' Grant Program of the Department of the Environment. Click here to read one of our 2013 news items about this scheme.

However, the original Community Heritage Grant Program (CHG) began
in Australia in 1994, to service the idea of the 'Distributed National Collection'. Public collecting organisations of small to medium size anywhere in Australia can apply for funds to support their collections repeatedly, once establishing that their collection is of national significance via independent significance assessment. Subsequent year grants are awarded for preservation needs assessment, training, conservation treatments, archival housing, storage and digitisation.

The CHG is funded by the Commonwealth Ministry for the Arts, the National Library of Australia, National Archives of Australia, National Film and Sound Archive, and National Museum of Australia - despite their ever-reducing budgets. The original CHG has managed to award $5.3 million to many hundreds of community organisations for this vital capacity building work.               

Tonight another 30 first time winners were presented with their awards in Canberra, on the first night of their three-day training program. Altogether there are 75 grant winners this year. Click here to read the full list of 2015 grant winners.

Significance International (SI) is proud to have been associated with this grant program within a year of its own establishment in 2010. This is the fifth time we have presented on significance assessment to grant winners as part of their training. Associate Roslyn Russell represented SI in 2011 and 2012, and Director Veronica Bullock from 2013 to 2015.

We hope the original Community Heritage Grant Program may be able to sponsor many more years of much needed and good works around Australia! 

Image: Director-General of the National Library of Australia, Anne-Marie Schwirtlich (at left) with Significance International Director, Veronica Bullock, at the Community Heritage Grant Program Awards, 27 October 2015, Canberra. Ceremony hosted by the National Library of Australia.

Posted on Tuesday, October 27, 2015 (Archive on Thursday, July 6, 2017)
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