January 17, 2022

National Arts Policy Archives and Library Opens at UMass Amherst, Features Materials From NEA

 UPDATE October 20 New UMass archive details history of arts policy (AP via Boston Herald)

UPDATE October 3 Behind the curtain: UMass Amherst’s new digitized arts archive is a haven for high culture past and future (via Daily Hampshire Gazette)

Dee Boyle-Clapp, director of the Arts Extension Service (AES), says the materials are still being cataloged but will eventually all be digitized and made available online to researchers, students, Five College faculty and others. The collection will continue to grow, she adds, given that the university will receive new material from the NEA every two years.

Boyle-Clapp believes the archive will be a vital resource for people who, like herself, work in fields such as arts management or policy making, giving them a one-stop resource for examining how those issues have played out in the past. Knowing how a previous arts policy was shaped, she notes, gives people working today a better sense of how they might, for example, seek federal funding or other monies for a new project.

Hat Tip: @mattRweaver

From UMass Amherst Libraries:

The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), the UMass Arts Extension Service and the UMass Amherst Libraries’ Special Collections and University Archives (SCUA) are creating a new National Arts Policy Archives and Library (NAPAAL) featuring materials from the National Endowment for the Arts.

The goal of the NAPAAL project is to assemble key archival collections relating to the history of arts and cultural policy in America and to document and preserve the issues and critical decisions that have shaped the field of arts management, art education, arts policy, and support for the arts. Using the resources and expertise of UMass Amherst’s Department of Special Collections, the documents will be cataloged, selectively digitized, and made available to students and researchers on campus and online free of charge.


At present NAPAAL contains an extensive suite of publications and research reports from the NEA and 38 years of records from the Arts Extension Service. These materials will be joined later this fall by the archives of Americans for the Arts and the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies.


Collections curated by NAPAAL will be available at no cost to researchers with varied levels of expertise. Students and faculty members from the Five Colleges will have easy access to the holdings, but NAPAAL will be open free of charge to all researchers, regardless of affiliation, and the digital collections generated by NAPAAL will reach a broad international audience through the Internet. The staff of the Department of Special Collections will handle inquiries about the collections and assist researchers as needed.

Read the Complete Announcement

Direct to UMass Amherst Libraries (Special Collections and University Archives)

See Also: In Other UMass Amherst Libraries News…Digital Media Lab Opens

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.