ESPL Heritage Center receives $500k Grant from National Endowment for the Humanities

January 16, 2020
Eastern Shore Public Library

Pictured: Materials in the Frances Bibbins Latimer Collection that need preservation and digitization.

The Eastern Shore of Virginia’s heritage is now being recognized on the national level with a grant award of $500,000 to help in its preservation and accessibility. The Eastern Shore Public Library (ESPL) Foundation is included in the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) announcement of $30.9 million in grants to support 188 humanities projects in 45 states and the District of Columbia.  The Foundation’s grant team was notified by Congresswoman Elaine Luria’s office.  The $500,000 supports the building project to fund equipment, furnishings, and technology not included in the construction contract for the new ESVA Heritage Center and regional library.

“Not only does this put the Eastern Shore’s history in the national limelight,” remarked Dr. Art Fournier, Chair of the Foundation’s Grant Committee, “but this also brings the ESVA Heritage Center into the NEH network of humanities institutions, opening doors to new collaborations, support, and opportunities.”  Fournier led a team of volunteers, staff, historians, and archivists that worked on the grant application. 

This NEH federal grant further expands the public-private partnership in funding the new regional library and Heritage Center. The building project, now under construction in Parksley, Virginia, is being funded by a combination of private and community donations, county and state funding, and now a federal grant.  The construction will be completed in November 2020.  Fundraising, however, is still underway and naming opportunities are still available.

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The ESVA Heritage Center will provide multimedia opportunities for teaching and learning humanities, particularly in the fields of history, archaeology and literature. Thus, The Heritage Center will serve as an invaluable resource for students and scholars of history, archaeology and literature locally, regionally and nationally.  It will provide the infrastructure for the archiving, cataloging, digitalization and dissemination of this superb collection of books, pamphlets, documents and photographs.

For more information about the ESVA Heritage Center and regional library building project and to watch a live web-cam of the construction, visit

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