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Thomas More receives National Endowment for the Humanities grant to preserve special collection

Thomas More University plans to use a $10,000 Preservation Assistance Grant awarded by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) to fund a general preservation assessment, train staff, and purchase preservation supplies for a special collection in the Thomas More Room of the Benedictine Library. Thomas More is the only Kentucky institution to receive a preservation assistance award in this grant cycle, with only 65 being awarded nationally.

The NEH grant will fund a general preservation assessment, provide training for staff, and help to purchase preservation supplies for the Thomas More Room in the Benedictine Library. (Photo from TMU)

Objectives outlined in the university’s grant submission entitled “Inspiring Scholars: Preservation Assessment for the Special Collections Room,” will be carried out during the grant period of September 2022 through August 2023. During this time, expert consultants from Lyrasis, a non-profit organization supporting libraries, archives, and museums around the world, will visit campus to examine the Thomas More Room and provide guidance and training on how to adequately preserve the special collection, ensuring that it can be used by students and scholars studying the works of St. Thomas More for years to come.

The Thomas More Room’s collections are significant to the humanities as they illustrate the social development of the local community, with a focus on Catholicism in Kentucky that can illuminate the role of religion in the development of other regions and America as a whole. The room is primarily a collection of rare and historic books, university ephemera, local history works, and works pertaining to the history of the Catholic Church. It is organized into subcollections including the Thomas More Collection, the Kentuckiana Collection, and a display case of 33 selected books, such as a rare 1906 folio of Thomas More’s “Utopia.”

“Not only will this grant support the Thomas More Room, but it will also support initiatives from our Strategic Plan – Lighting the Way,” said John Ernst, director of the Benedictine Library and the Center for Teaching, Learning, & Scholarship. “In working with the NEH, the premier agency for the humanities, we are strengthening the academic reputation and reach of Thomas More University, while also creating valuable connections and ensuring the longevity of our resources.”

Thomas More released a five-year strategic plan and capital campaign during its centennial celebration in 2021 with a primary focus to accelerate campus investments, solidify new financial partnerships, and introduce innovative academic opportunities. The goal is to elevate the University’s visibility and stature in the global community as the region’s premier Catholic University.

For more information about Thomas More University, visit www.thomasmore.edu.

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