2010 Schwartz Prize Winners

The Connecticut, Georgia, and New Hampshire councils were awarded the 2010 Schwartz Prize for excellence in the public humanities by the Federation of State Humanities Councils. The awards ceremony was held at the National Hispanic Cultural Center in Albuquerque, New Mexico, as part of the 2010 National Humanities Conference. Federation board member Sharon Gagnon delivered the awards presentation speech:

The Federation of State Humanities Councils would like to thank Kim Anderson, Mary Lee Partington, Clem Price, and Robert Vaughan for serving as judges for this year's Schwartz Price.

The Helen and Martin Schwartz Prize is awarded annually to up to three programs for outstanding work in the public humanities. The Schwartz Prize is funded through an endowment from former Federation board members Helen and Martin Schwartz. This year the Schwartz Prize will be awarded to three councils.

The first Schwartz Prize goes to an initiative that offers online and person-to-person assistance to this state's museum and historical society staff and volunteers through a Web site, lending library, and field service program. This initiative's website contains reviews of new books and articles, recommendations on the most useful Web sites, and special reports, surveys, and audience studies. A Community Center blog gives users access to the most current and useful resources available.

One judge wrote, "The Heritage Resource Center employs the most accessible technology to provide programs and resources to Connecticut [and] other states that can draw on the Center's web site as a model to develop its own center or simply as a resource, much of which is applicable beyond Connecticut. The Center's primary audience is the museum community. Museums and their staffs, boards, volunteers, programs, and audiences together make up perhaps the largest and most significant public humanities community and public educational program in the nation. I'm impressed by the Center's vision and extraordinary leadership for the community. Its planning alone is worthy of the Schwartz Prize."

The Federation is proud to present a 2010 Schwartz Prize to the Connecticut Humanities Council for Heritage Resource Center.

The second Schwartz Prize goes to an initiative to deliver education content on the civil rights movement via the web. This online library contains 30 hours (about 450 clips) of historical news footage, a civil rights portal that allows users to access material on the movements from 100 libraries and organizations nationwide, and instructional video.

One judge wrote, "In many ways, Georgia was an essentially important battleground and harbor for the Modern Civil Rights Movement during the 1950s and 1960s. The state nurtured the Movement's most iconic figure, Martin Luther King, Jr. It was also the site for the most memorable turning point in the early years of the struggle for the soul of the South--the long struggle against racial segregation and white racial tyranny in Albany, Georgia. Perhaps the need for southerners--whites and blacks--to become more conversant with the Civil Rights Movement is second only in importance to a region-wide remembrance and interrogation of slavery and its affect on southern history and identity. What the [Georgia Humanities Council] is doing with the Civil Rights Digital Library is an important step in that direction."

The Federation is proud to present a 2010 Schwartz Prize to the Georgia Humanities Council for Civil Rights Digital Library.

The third Schwartz Prize goes to a monthly public radio program that offers a thoughtful and civil forum in which to consider vexing contemporary issues. The project was designed to appeal to the general public as well as to high school students. Each show is anchored by a question, such as: Should race matter? Are all our beliefs merely opinions, or are there some universal truths? Is ever right to do what is wrong? 40,000 people tune in each month and 19 schools incorporate the program into their curricula.

One judge said, "I find this initiative a spirited journey into one of the founding rituals of the humanities--the Socratic inquiry--situated within the digital age within the enduring and deepening value of public radio. Public radio has become, almost by default, one of the last bastions for reasonable and complicated discourse on the issues of our times, as it sheds light on how so many difficult modern and pre-modern issues are informed by the humanities. That the New Hampshire Humanities Council would mount its initiative with NHPR and invest it with such a rich content is at once deserving of our praise and recognition for the very best practices among other worthy nominees."

The Federation is proud to present the final 2010 Schwartz Prize to the New Hampshire Council for Socrates Exchange.