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home Cycle of Success MU Libraries Receives NEH Grant to Renovate Ellis Library West Stacks for Special Collections and Archives

MU Libraries Receives NEH Grant to Renovate Ellis Library West Stacks for Special Collections and Archives

The University of Missouri Libraries was awarded a prestigious $500,000 Infrastructure and Capacity Building Grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). This funding will be used to renovate the West Stacks in Ellis Library to provide climate-controlled storage for Special Collections and Archives. Construction is anticipated to begin in 2024.

“This renovation will benefit students and researchers by ensuring our distinctive collections are housed in appropriate conditions for long-term preservation,” says Deborah Ward, Interim Vice Provost for Libraries. “We are grateful to the NEH for their support of this project.”

Built in 1936, the West Stacks consists of eight levels of structural stacks that connect the Ellis west addition to the original stacks built in 1915. The renovation will enable all eight levels to house rare and archival collections, which are currently scattered throughout Ellis Library in wings built in 1915, 1936 and 1958 or off-site in a high-density storage facility.

Special Collections and Archives is home to a diverse selection of rare, unique and historic materials across distinct formats: manuscripts, papers, rare books, maps, posters, comic art, architectural plans, photographs and film. Significant collections include the papers of Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Lanford Wilson, the Gary E. and Janet J. Venable Antiquarian Atlas and Map Collection, medieval and Renaissance manuscripts, and the University Archives, including many other collections.

“These materials are valuable assets for secondary and university teaching, and they attract scholars from other universities,” stated MU Provost Latha Ramchand. “In addition, the University Libraries actively participates in digitization projects that allow the collections to be used internationally through such efforts as the Hathi Trust.”

The grant provides a 3:1 ratio matching challenge, which the Libraries will meet by raising 1.5 million dollars in donor funding. For more information and to donate to the project, contact Matt Gaunt, Director of Advancement, at

National Endowment for the Humanities: Created in 1965 as an independent federal agency, the National Endowment for the Humanities supports research and learning in history, literature, philosophy and other areas of the humanities by funding selected, peer-reviewed proposals from around the nation. Additional information about the National Endowment for the Humanities and its grant programs is available at