Museum of the Big Bend receives $750,000 grant from National Endowment for the Humanities

ALPINE – The Museum of the Big Bend at Sul Ross State University closed out 2020 on a high note after learning of receiving a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). The Museum received a NEH Infrastructure and Capacity Building grant, which leverages federal funds to incentivize private investment in the nation’s cultural institutions.

“Speaking on behalf of the Museum of the Big Bend staff and the Museum’s Director’s Advisory Council board, we are honored and thrilled to receive this NEH grant,” said Mary Bones, Museum of the Big Bend director. “Our Texas Centennial building will get much needed updates and upgrades to its infrastructure including HVAC and security systems. This building will be linked to the Museum Complex and we plan to have all systems working in tandem. We are actively fundraising for the $10 million capital campaign for the Museum Complex. Visit the Museum’s website,, to learn more about this exciting addition to our historic building and how you can help us reach our fundraising goal!”

“As we conclude an extremely difficult year for our nation and its cultural institutions, it is heartening to see so many excellent projects being undertaken by humanities scholars, researchers, curators, and educators,” said NEH Chairman Jon Parrish Peede. “These new NEH grants will foster intellectual inquiry, promote broad engagement with history, literature and other humanities fields, and expand access to cultural collections and resources for all Americans.”

Thirty grants totaling $13.9 million will be dispersed under the Infrastructure and Capacity Building Challenge Grants. The primary purpose of this grant’s subcategory is to leverage federal funding to strengthen and sustain humanities infrastructure and capacity-building activities at cultural institutions. The NEH announced $33 Million for 213 humanities projects nationwide to close out an extraordinarily tough year for museums and cultural institutions.

But even as institutions struggled under pandemic restrictions, the Museum of the Big Bend was able to pull off a banner year for fundraising. Fundraising for the Museum Complex in 2020 included a $5 million gift from Miriam McCoy, the largest gift ever to Sul Ross State University, along with $50,000 from members of Texas’ Clifton and Shirley Caldwell Family and a $400,000 pledge from the La Brasada Foundation. The museum also enjoyed recognition as one of the “Top 10 Museums of the West” by True West magazine.