Two New Resources, National Humanities Alliance

We are pleased to announce two new resources designed to support the humanities community in making the case for the value of the humanities: 1) Humanities Recruitment Survey: Challenges & Audiences, which shares quantitative survey results from 397 faculty and administrators at 294 institutions and 2) Documenting the Impact of Your Humanities Program, a new toolkit that supports faculty, administrators, and project directors in capturing and communicating about their impact.

NHA staff would be pleased to discuss these resources with you. We are also available to join classes, department meetings, and virtual workshops to discuss how these resources can support case making for the humanities as the pandemic presents new financial and programmatic challenges to humanities educators and organizations.

Humanities Recruitment Survey: Challenges & Audiences

In the summer of 2019, we launched the Humanities Recruitment Survey (HRS) to better understand the challenges faculty and administrators face in attracting students to the humanities, the audiences they are engaging to overcome those challenges, and specific humanities recruitment strategies they have implemented. The first HRS report, Humanities Recruitment Survey: Challenges & Audiences, highlights opportunities for information sharing across institutions to engage additional audiences.

We are conducting additional research into the recruitment strategies surfaced through the survey and will be releasing in-depth reports featuring profiles of a range of strategies beginning this fall.

For additional information or to explore the possibility of a virtual workshop, please contact Study the Humanities project director Scott Muir at smuir@nhalliance.org.

Documenting the Impact of Your Humanities Program: A New Toolkit

Our new toolkit, Documenting the Impact of Your Humanities Program, is aimed at helping the humanities community collect data about the impact of programs such as professional development seminars, public humanities projects, and programs for students that prepare them for college and help them imagine humanities careers. These surveys are designed to support the humanities community in articulating the impact of its work and making the case for the resources to support it.

This toolkit builds on work over the past three years to document the impact of NEH-funded projects. In partnership with directors of public humanities projects, we’ve designed and implemented pre- and post-program surveys that take into account the programs’ immediate goals and their broader social impacts, including impacts on trust, empathy, community connection, and appreciation for and pride in local culture and heritage. Our goal has been to help these partners collect information that makes the case for their work to a range of stakeholders, including funders, organizational leadership, and policymakers. The surveys are designed to be broadly useful for humanities faculty and practitioners in highlighting and evaluating their programs.

For additional information or to arrange a virtual workshop, please contact Cecily Hill, director of community initiatives, at chill@nhalliance.org.

Digital Publication – Making and Knowing Project’s Secrets of Craft and Nature

The Making and Knowing Project celebrates the publication of Secrets of Craft and Nature in Renaissance France. A Digital Critical Edition and English Translation of BnF Ms. Fr. 640, a remarkable sixteenth-century manuscript held by the Bibliothèque nationale de France. The manuscript contains over 900 recipes for making art objects, medical remedies, and materials for the household and workshop. Its observations on craft workshop practices record extensive first-hand experimentation with natural materials, and provide unique insights into the material, technical, and intellectual world of the late sixteenth century. It sheds light on how and why nature was investigated, collected, and used in art in early modern Europe, and on the origins of the natural sciences in the creative labors of Renaissance artists and artisans’ workshops. The digital critical edition is openly accessible.

Secrets of Craft and Nature in Renaissance France presents the text of the manuscript in French transcription and English translation for the first time. Over 100 essays written by students and scholars explore the manuscript’s material and historical context and discuss the hands-on reconstruction of its processes in the Making and Knowing Laboratory.

Making and Knowing Project, Pamela H. Smith, Naomi Rosenkranz, Tianna Helena Uchacz, Tillmann Taape, Clément Godbarge, Sophie Pitman, Jenny Boulboullé, Joel Klein, Donna Bilak, Marc Smith, and Terry Catapano, eds., Secrets of Craft and Nature in Renaissance France. A Digital Critical Edition and English Translation of BnF Ms. Fr. 640 (New York: Making and Knowing Project, 2020), http://edition640.makingandknowing.org.

Announcing the Newly Digitized Dr. Robert Matz Hospital Postcard Collection

The New York Academy of Medicine Library is very pleased to announce the launch of the Dr. Robert Matz Hospital Postcard Collection, a pilot digitization project that provides access to 118 hospital postcards from the five boroughs of New York City. Spearheaded by Dr. Robin Naughton, Senior Digital Program Manager, the collection offers a window into the history of hospitals in the New York area as well as some of the visitors to those hospitals. Many of the postcards have messages and postmarks, allowing the viewer to ascertain the time period when the cards were created. The Matz Collection can be viewed here.