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Govt Sends Art Conservationists To Cuba For $30,000 Trip

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The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) is spending $30,000 to send a delegation of art conservation students and professors to Cuba this week to study photos and “conservation treatment practices” in the newly-opened country.

NEH awarded a $30,000 chairman’s grant to the University of Delaware and the Winterthur Museum, Gardens and Library to fund a trip which provides four or five students “the opportunity to learn about Cuban cultural heritage and observe conservation treatment practices in that country,” according to the grant application.

On the trip, which is being led by Debra Hess Norris, director of the university’s art conservation program, students will “focus on photograph collections and preventive conservation” within Cuba.

“The lives of Cubans and Americans have been connected for many years and in many ways, but nowhere more powerfully than in the cultural sphere—in our mutual appreciation of our literature, music, art, and history,” William Adams, chairman of the NEH, said in a statement. “Now we have the opportunity to renew and deepen our cultural ties in ways that will contribute to the future well-being of our countries.”

“I think that there is so much to be learned from this significant opportunity,” Norris said. “My hope is that it is just the beginning of a much longer and richer cultural exchange where we will make connections with conservators and collection care professionals in Cuba.”

Adams visited Cuba in April, just after President Barack Obama began lifting the 50-year embargo which banned formal communication between the U.S. and Cuba. (RELATED: Trump Will Undo Obama’s Normalization Of Ties With Cuba)

“As I’ve visited Cuban museums and talked with scholars and curators this week, it’s clear to me that we have much to learn from the ways in which museum professionals in Cuba approach the important work of collecting and preserving Cuban culture and history,” Adams said after his trip.

The NEH has given grants totaling $2.5 million “to scholars, educators, and filmmakers who make Cuba the focus of their work” since the organization’s founding in 1965.

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