National Youth Program Award Finalists Offer Inspiration to Sites

The President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, and its cultural partners, the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Institute of Museum and Library Services, recently recognized 50 exceptional programs for their work in providing  rich arts and humanities learning opportunities for young people. The National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award is the nation’s highest honor for out-of-school arts and humanities programs that celebrate the creativity of America’s young people, particularly those from underserved communities.

According to the IMLS news release, “From small towns to big cities, the 2013 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award Finalists reflect the diversity of disciplines and settings of these wonderful programs that are taking place from coast to coast.”  Hmm.  The 2013 finalists are overwhelmingly heavy with arts programming and the humanities are amazingly scarce so I’m not sure it reflects the diversity suggested by its name, but the finalists include Investigating Where We Live by the National Building Museum in Washington, DC, which will be of interest to readers of this blog.  Created in 1996, Investigating Where We Live (IWWL) is a summer outreach program designed for middle school and high school students ages 12-18 from the D.C. metropolitan area.  IWWL participants learn to use creative writing and photography as a means of understanding and describing D.C. neighborhoods.  At the end of the program, participants have an opportunity to show what they have learned by creating a museum exhibition that features their insights and work.

The New-York Historical Society received an award in 2012 for its Student Historians High School Internship Program and in 2011, awards were given to the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History for its Saturday Academies of American History and to Sojourn to the Past.