The initiative, the largest in the organization’s history, will support the creation of
new monuments, as well as the relocation or rethinking of existing ones.
The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the largest humanities philanthropy in the
United States, has pledged to spend $250 million over five years to help reimagine
the country’s approach to monuments and memorials, in an effort to better reflect
the nation’s diversity and highlight buried or marginalized stories.
The Monuments Project, the largest initiative in the foundation’s 50-year history,
will support the creation of new monuments, as well as the relocation or rethinking
of existing ones.
And it defines “monument” broadly to include not just memorials, statues and
markers but also “storytelling spaces,” as the foundation puts it, like museums and
“The beauty of monuments as a rubric is, it’s really a way of asking, ‘How do we say
who we are? How do we teach our history in public places?’” Elizabeth Alexander,
the foundation’s president, said.
“So much teaching happens without us going into a classroom, and without us realizing we’re being taught,” she continued. “We want to ask how we can help think about how to give form to the beautiful and extraordinary and powerful multiplicity of American stories.”