News Release Contact: Tom Caswell Associate University Librarian, University of Florida, Curator of St. Augustine Government House Research Collections (352) 273-2805 firstname.lastname@example.org University of Florid a Libraries receive $265,000 National Endowment for the Humanities grant award Online resource will provide first time access to hidden St. Augustine treasures Gainesville, FL, May 1, 2012 In preparation for the 450th anniversary of the founding of St. Augustine in 2015, the University of Florida (UF) George A. Smathers Libraries has been awarded $265,000 by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). This is the largest award in Florida (one of only four) and one of 34 nationally this year. The Unearthing St. Augustine grant, led by project director Thomas Caswell and co-director James Cusick, will establish a specialized computer digitization lab at the Government House in St. Augustine, Florida to build an online collection of hidden and fragile resources related to colonial St. Augustine. This two-year project will create an interactive digital collection consisting of 10,000 maps, drawings, photographs and documents available freely online. Partnering with the Smathers Libraries to realize this project are the City of St. Augustine departments of Heritage Tourism and Archaeology Program, the St. August ine Historical Society, the UF College of Design, Construction and Planning and the Government House, which is managed by UF. The Unearthing St. Augustine materials are scattered among four different repositories which have been previously inaccessible to researchers worldwide and will soon be available in a freely searchable online database. Among the important items to be unearthed, which date from the 16th century to the present, include archival materials from the following: Government House maps and overlays of the city, architectural drawings of historic structures and related government documents St. Augustine Historical Society Spanish documents, transcriptions and English language translations City of St. Augustine Archaeology Program records, photographs and site summaries for 100 excavations conducted over the past 20 years Herschel Shepard Collection at UF drawings, photos and documents related to Shepards restoration and reconstruction of the citys colonial buildings The collection will support research in a broad range of subjects: Florida and U.S. history, Spanish colonies, Native Americans, slavery, exploration, architecture and urban planning, social and economic development, missionary work, military defenses and warfare. When completed, Unearthing St. Augustine will not only satisfy the needs of a wide variety of researchers including historians, archaeologists, architects and historic preservationists, but the project will also help in telling St. Augustines unique story on a global scale. In support of the grant, Kathleen Deagan, distinguished research curator at the Florida Museum of Natural History, wrote: Digital access to primary materials is probably the single most important factor in stimulating new and diverse scholarship on St. Augustines colonial history.
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