Henry Street Settlement Receives $360,000 NEH Grant For Historical Exhibition

Archival photo: Henry Street Settlement's summer camp.
Archival photo: Henry Street Settlement's summer camp.
Archival photo: Henry Street Settlement’s summer camp.

Henry Street Settlement has received a coveted grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) to tell its own story. The NEH awarded the historic Lower East Side social services organization $360,000 for a permanent exhibition called, “The House on Henry Street: Settlements, Public Health and Social Reform.”

Here’s more about the initiative from a press release put out earlier today:

This extraordinary multi-platform project will explore social activism, urban poverty and public health through the lens of Henry Street’s history.  Its centerpiece will be a permanent interactive exhibition in the Settlement’s c. 1830 landmarked headquarters at 265 Henry St. A web-based exhibition with curriculum materials for high school and college teachers will deepen the interpretation, and a walking tour app for mobile devices will take the story to the streets of the Lower East Side. In addition to the exhibition on the first floor, the entire headquarters – the historic dining room, Lillian Wald’s original bedroom, the garden and nurses’ dorm rooms – will be labeled and interpreted, enabling visitors to not only learn the Settlement’s history, but also to tour the modern-day working social service agency. A public historian will be hired for 18 months, and will create public programs of interest to the Settlement community, one that has traditionally lacked access lacks to the humanities, and others. The project will be the centerpiece of Henry Street’s 125th anniversary which the Settlement will celebrate in 2018.

In a separate news release, U.S. Rep. Nydia Velazquez said, “The funding provided by NEH will reaffirm and support Henry Street’s longstanding commitment to bringing the humanities to underserved communities…Henry Street has a long track record of expanding educational opportunity in our neighborhood and this grant will help further that mission.”

It is, of course, an anxious time for social service and arts organizations nationwide, since the Trump administration is threatening to de-fund many of the agencies that support their work, including the NEH.