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A Fuse #8 Production
Inside A Fuse #8 Production

Fun with Grants: The NEH Summer Institute

Yo!  Teachers!  There’s a grant in conjunction with my library that may be of interest to you.  Would you like to visit the city for a spell?  Then take a look:

We are delighted to be offering Recipe for America, a NEH Summer Institute at the New York Public Library. We are looking forward to welcoming 25 educators as Summer Scholars engaged in the exploration of immigration, American identity and its expression through that most accessible of subjects- food!

Everybody eats – this is a notion expressed across geographic space and through time, and is a shared experience readily accessible to young people. It is this premise that facilitates a connection to the seemingly unfamiliar lives of 19th and 20th century immigrants, as well as to those who have continued to immigrate to the United States, who brought and continue to bring their distinctive culinary traditions to their new homeland.

The role that New York City has played in the story of United States immigration makes it the ideal setting for an Institute covering this content. In the crowded streets of 19th century and early twentieth century New York City, diverse cultural groups worked together and often lived in the same tenements. They shopped from the same pushcarts and stores. Recipes and foods from respective mother countries eventually intertwined and melded to craft new foodways and eating traditions.

NYPL’s Institute will be an opportunity for participants to refresh and hone their knowledge of immigration and immerse themselves in the Library’s wealth of primary source materials, including important items of ephemera that resonate particularly strongly from a pedagogical standpoint. The experience of working with source material, as well as assigned readings, in the places tied to their history cannot be underestimated. NEH Summer Scholars will walk through iconic immigrant neighborhoods, stand in the kitchen of a cramped tenement apartment, and experience the Ellis Island gateway as thousands did before. This experience of historic place, coupled with exploring documents, artifacts, and ephemera housed within the Library, will provide a much richer understanding of the content than what is possible from merely reading about it in a textbook.

Questions? Call Lynda Kennedy at 212-340-0910 or email

About Elizabeth Bird

Elizabeth Bird is currently the Collection Development Manager of the Evanston Public Library system and a former Materials Specialist for New York Public Library. She has served on Newbery, written for Horn Book, and has done other lovely little things that she'd love to tell you about but that she's sure you'd find more interesting to hear of in person. Her opinions are her own and do not reflect those of EPL, SLJ, or any of the other acronyms you might be able to name. Follow her on Twitter: @fuseeight.