The Lepage Center offers an annual funding opportunity to supports individuals and institutions in developing public-facing historical projects.

Under the Eye: Hurricanes in Cuban Historical Memory, 1980-2010

This oral history project seeks to highlight the grassroots experience of hurricane impacts and the response by non-government actors, a key aspect of the environmentally informed model of revolutionary subjectivity that has developed in Cuba since the 1980s. Allison Baker, UC San Diego PhD candidate, surveys non-government actors within Cuba to assess their experiences of the world-renown Cuban state hurricane response system, gauge experiences of hurricanes in the island’s recent history, and garner perceptions of the intensification of environmental crises due to the climate crisis. The project serves the global public interest by providing a participatory historical account of how the Cuban people have endured escalating climatic catastrophes.


A Twentieth Century Climate Diaspora

“A Twentieth Century Climate Diaspora,” led by University of Iowa PhD candidate Caleb Pennington, seeks to build upon a longrunning Environmental History project from Caleb Pennington’s dissertation. The project seeks to add to the field of digital humanities projects addressing the repercussions of man-made climate change. The project adds to digital depictions of the climate crisis by centering humans in the climate change narrative and speaking to the immediate need for forceful climate action using a storymap which builds on previous work tracking Dust Bowl migration through IPUMS data. The project builds on previous work with the Digital Studio to create a comprehensive analysis of U.S. climate migration in the 20th century.  


Who Leaves, Who Stays? Gender, Mobility and Climate Changes in India and Romania

“Who Leaves, Who Stays?” is a comparative research project led by Dr. Cristina-Iona Dragomir (Clinical Associate Professor of Liberal Studies and Technology Management and Innovation at NYU) that integrates oral history, political ethnography conducted with women from Roma communities in Romania and Adivasi communities in India, and environmental tracking, mapping and analysis to assess patters of movement within communities affected by complex environmental changes in Romania (Roșia Montană) and Tamil Nadu (Cauvery Delta) / West Bengal (Sundarbans Delta), India. In collaboration with the department of Environmental Studies at St. Xavier College (Autonomous) in Kolkata, West Bengal, the team led Dr. Dragomir, will trace the interconnected development of communities and environmental changes, which have been resulting in climate crises impacting women and girls. In doing so, this study showcases who moves, who stays, how decisions are made, and the role gender plays when facing climate changes. Dr. Dragomir received her PhD from New School for Social Research and is the recipient of several awards and fellowships including the American Political Science Association's Centennial Research Award, the Bucerius Fellowship Program's Settling in Motion award, and the Open Society Institute's Global Network Grant. She is author of Power on the Move: Adivasi and Roma Accessing Social Justice.


Landscape of Change: Sea Level Rise on Mount Desert Island

“The Landscape of Change: Sea Level Rise on Mount Desert Island” project brought together scientists, educators, artists, and students to identify discrete sea level changes on Mount Desert Island, home to Acadia National Park. A collaboration between Mount Desert Island Historical Society, Mount Desert Island High School, Acadia National Park, and the Park’s Schoodic Institute, the project was designed to teach the students and community to better measure and indicate the changes taking place on Mount Desert Island and how similar changes can be seen in environments and communities around the world. This was the continuation of a larger effort called Landscape of Change, whose partners included Acadia National Park, the Schoodic Institute, College of the Atlantic, A Climate to Thrive, and Mount Desert Island Biological Laboratory.


This grant led to the production of a map to be used by A Climate to Thrive to develop climate action plans with local towns, by artist Jennifer Steen Booher to inspire new artwork, by the Society in a traveling exhibit and public programs, and a video summarizing their work. It also led to an additional project on sea level rise unveiled in June of 2023 called “Coast Lines,” using art, historic data, modern observations, and predictions for sea level rise to call attention to their vulnerable spaces on the island. “The Landscape of Change” is led by Raney Bench (Executive Director for the Mount Desert Island Historical Society), Ruth Poland (Science Teacher at Mount Desert Island High School), Jennifer Booher (Resident Artist, Acadia National Park), and Catherine V. Schmitt (Science Communication Specialist at the Schoodic Institute at Acadia National Park).

Journey Toward Justice: The Civil Rights Movement in the Chattahoochee Valley

This project seeks to trace the history of civil rights activism in the Chattahoochee River Valley of Georgia and Alabama. A team led by Rebecca Bush (Curator of History, The Columbus Museum) and doctoral student Mickell J. Carter (Department of History, Auburn University) will conduct up to ten interviews with current and former residents of the Chattahoochee River Valley who played a role in the Civil Rights Movements between the 1950s and the 1970s. These interviews will be the core source of a documentary that will explore the relationship between past and present civil rights activism in the region. The team will work with K-12 educators to make the documentary accessible to middle school children and create four lesson plans based on Georgia educational core standards. The Museum will also mount an exhibition related to the history of local civil rights activism.

Knowing Water: A Digital Exploration of History, Science, and Environmental Justice along the Delaware River

The Knowing Water, project led by Jesse Smith, PhD, Research Curator and Exhibition Developer at the Science History Institute (Philadelphia), seeks to expand our understanding of “turning points” in environmental history and the changing relationships between scientific knowledge, environmental materiality and political power since the mid-20th century. The project traces early efforts to address pollution, soil erosion, and other environmental challenges that transcended state boundaries in the Northeast. Funds will be used to produce a digital “story map” to accompany the Institute’s exhibition Downstream, which explores more than 200 years of water analysis and water protection in the United States.

Many Moons

Many Moons is a hybrid documentary/fiction film led by social documentarian Chisato Uyeki Hughes in partnership with the Humboldt Asians & Pacific Islanders in Solidarity (HAPI). The film examines the rounding up and banishing of the Chinese community living in Eureka in 1885 in which more than 300 people—more than 10 percent of Eureka’s population at the time—were forced out of Chinatown and the surrounding areas and put on two steamships to San Francisco after mounting Anti-Chinese sentiment in the county. The expulsion was a turning point in the history of the West as a new form of ethnic cleansing, representative of the beginnings of anti-Asian sentiment in the settlement of the US. The mythology of the so-called “last Chinaman of Humboldt”—Charlie Moon—serves as the impetus to explore evidence of other Chinese arrivants who may have survived despite the constant threat of violence during 60 years of enforced exclusion—many of whom found refuge with local Yurok, Hoopa and Karuk tribes. Many Moons weaves together a story of presence and absence, oscillating between the search for ‘other Charlie Moons’ as current Chinese residents of Humboldt recover their predecessors. Funds will be used for post-production work on the film. Funds will be used for post-production work on the film.

Natives Circles Podcast

Natives Circles is a podcast produced by historian Farina King, PhD, (Bilagáanaa Diné) and writer Sarah Newcomb (Tsimshian). The podcast focuses on Native American and Indigenous histories from Indigenous voices and lived experiences. Funds will be used to create podcasts that explore turning points in Native American and Indigenous history.

Philadelphia Necrographies: Histories of Collecting African Material Cultures at the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology

“Philadelphia Necrographies” is a project led by art historian Hilary Whitham Sánchez, PhD, (Villanova University) that will trace the history of museum practices in Philadelphia as they relate to the collection of African art and materials at the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Penn Museum since the 1930s. Funds will be used to support archival research and the production of a report that will be shared with the public and museum professionals at a time when museums around the world are attempting to decolonize their collections and reckon with the legacies of their colonials pasts. Students in Dr. Sánchez’s course on Arts of Africa will conduct original research on the collections and contribute to the final report.

Prison Abolition Archive

The Prison Abolition Archive is a collaborative project between local archivists, including Simon Ragovin (Drexel University) and Beaudry Allen (Villanova University) and activists Reggie West (Human Rights Coalition), Jackson Kusiack (Human Rights Coalition) and B. Preston Lyle (Human Rights Coalition). The Human Rights Coalition (HRC) is a grassroots organization comprised of currently and formerly incarcerated people, their families and supporters committed to ending the mass incarceration epidemic. Funds will be used to create the "Prison Abolition Archive" (PAA) to document and preserve the administrative records, surveys, legal documents, 10,000+ letters from incarcerated people, and other archival materials collected by HRC over the last 20 years.

Anabaptist History Today is a collaborative, community storytelling project with support from seventeen Anabaptist archives and history organizations in the United States and Canada.

Messages from a Pandemic: HIV/AIDS Posters from Around the Globe: The Wolfsonian Public Humanities Lab at Florida International University (FIU) in Miami partnered with The Wolfsonian—FIU to create a fully digital and freely accessible exhibition featuring HIV/AIDS posters from over forty countries

Letters from the Epidemic is a collaboration between the Louisiana State Museum and New Orleans theater company Goat in the Road Productions to create a theatrical performance of letters from the 1878 New Orleans yellow fever epidemic.

Beyond Better is an interdisciplinary public medical humanities & social media project that aims to intervene in polarized public discourses on healthcare issues by creating space for listening, storytelling, art, nuance, and historical analysis.

“Locked Down: An Oral History of the Covid-19 Virus in West Virginia’s Eastern Panhandle" collects stories about how the global pandemic shapes the lives of people in vulnerable Appalachian communities.

COVIDCalls is a public-facing podcast and historical archive project.

Documenting the Undocumented: Covid-19 Oral Histories & Immigrant Workers in Rural Wisconsin is a collaboration between the Public History Program and the McIntyre Library at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and the Chippewa Valley Museum. The Chippewa Valley Covid-19 Archive is a collection project to document the effects of the Coronavirus in rural Western Wisconsin.

We Go Down Sewing is an edited collection of essays, creative writing, and photographs, that openly engages with three main fields of U.S. history, including immigrant labor, race and public health, and social movements, which have shaped how members of the Auntie Sewing Squad responded to Covid-19.

Bearing Witness: COVID-19 Oral History and the Public Good: The Activist History Review is conducting an oral history project that collects faculty, student, and staff accounts of their experiences during the pandemic.

Historically Black Colleges and Universities Wellness Project is an intervention designed to utilize the human and social capital at historically black colleges and universities to promote health and modify risks for chronic diseases among individuals living in the surrounding communities.

A History of Mutual Aid Organizing aims to produce a 10-minute multimedia video that will highlight the history of mutual aid organizing, as a way to help people understand and historicize the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Infectious Historians podcast focuses entirely on the history of infectious diseases.

An Oral History of Iowa's Chinese Americans and Nationals Experiences during the COVID-19 Pandemic conducts oral history research in Iowa and collects their stories and testimony and exhibit them to the general public.

Reconceiving the History of Plague in the Era of COVID-19 draws on the expertise of three plague historians and builds on five decades of scholarship about the plague’s history in the western Islamicate world (Islamic Spain and North Africa to the Middle East and the eastern Mediterranean) to produce translations of key texts hitherto unavailable in English.

Medical Malpractice: The Racist Roots of Prejudice in Covid-19 America is a research paper by a former Villanova student on the plague in Madagascar—focusing on lapses in health care structure, education, and patient adherence to policy surrounding the plague—in an attempt to explain why outbreaks persist there annually.

CHAMPS: A Study of the COVID-19 Workforce is a study of the experience and self-reported health and well-being of essential workers and first responders, service staff and healthcare professionals, who provided support for patients, treatment sites and the community during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Documenting COVID-19 is a collaboration between Villanova’s Falvey Library and the Albert Lepage Center for History in the Public Interest, to collect stories, photos, audio recordings and more from members of the Villanova Community who lived through the pandemic.



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