Backus Museum – Media Release – American Rescue Plan Funding

A.E. Backus Museum Receives
Florida Humanities “American Rescue Plan” COVID Relief Funding

Fort Pierce, Florida (January 21, 2022) — Florida Humanities, the statewide, nonprofit affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), has awarded the A.E. Backus Museum a $25,000 grant for general operating costs to help recover from the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The stability that the A.E. Backus Museum has enjoyed with the support from its audiences has been tragically disrupted over these past months. The Museum exists to preserve and share the values of the arts and culture, to gather people together to collectively experience and draw direct benefit from these values. But when people cannot participate because of serious public health and public safety concerns, institutions like the Backus Museum cannot directly benefit from their support.

According to J. Marshall Adams, executive director of the A. E. Backus Museum, “The funds granted through Florida Humanities are vital to the survival of the Museum in these extremely challenging times. Florida Humanities and the National Endowment for the Humanities have been vital partners in helping to preserve the culture and history that sets Florida apart, and engages citizens and visitors with the rich quality of life they have enjoyed through the arts and humanities, and continue to seek and value today. We are grateful for this support.”

The NEH received $135 million from the American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act of 2021, which was approved by Congress this past spring. The state humanities councils, including Florida Humanities, each received a portion of the NEH award to support museums, archives, historic sites and other humanities-focused nonprofits. A.E. Backus Museum was one of 129 organizations in Florida that was awarded ARP funding totaling $1.88 million from Florida Humanities. The grants are intended to meet immediate operational needs in order for organizations to remain viable and maintain delivery of public humanities programming and resources in their communities. Florida Humanities received 188 applications for ARP funding, with nonprofits requesting the most funds for staffing and utilities.

These funds, said Florida Humanities Executive Director Dr. Nashid Madyun, provide a safety net for the organizations so they can focus on other priorities, such as fundraising and creating programming. “For smaller nonprofits, when bills are paid and staff is safe and intact, that type of alleviation is immeasurable,” he said. “Florida Humanities is honored to provide a lifeline to our state’s cultural and historic organizations, ensuring they continue to enrich their local communities, and the Sunshine State at large, for years to come.”

Funding has been provided to the A.E. Backus Museum by Florida Humanities through the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) as part of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARP) of 2021. NEH is committed to Sustaining the Humanities through the American Rescue Plan. Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this announcement do not necessarily represent those of Florida Humanities or the National Endowment for the Humanities.


About the A.E. Backus Museum & Gallery

Since its founding in 1960 and the first day the doors opened in 1961, the A.E. Backus Museum & Gallery has been a center and catalyst for creativity and culture in our region. The Museum houses the nation’s largest public presentation of artwork by Florida’s preeminent painter, A.E. “Bean” Backus (1906-1990), and is home to the state’s only permanent multimedia exhibition on the Florida Highwaymen. In addition to preserving and perpetuating the artistic and humanitarian legacy of Backus, the Museum organizes and hosts changing exhibitions from artists of regional, national and international acclaim. The Backus Museum was recognized as the 2021 Best Tourist Attraction / Best of the Treasure Coast by the readers of Indian River Magazine.

Regular Hours: Wednesday – Saturday, 10 AM to 4 PM; Sunday, 12 Noon to 4 PM (closed Monday-Tuesday). Admission is $5 per person; AARP, AAA, and Veterans with appropriate ID receive a $2 discount. Students with school ID, children under 18, active duty military, and current members are always free. Visitors are asked to follow the latest public health guidance for the safety and comfort of guests, staff, and volunteers.

About Florida Humanities

Florida Humanities, the statewide, nonprofit affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, is dedicated to preserving, promoting, and sharing the history, literature, culture, and personal stories that offer Floridians a better understanding of themselves, their communities, and their state. Since 1973, Florida Humanities has awarded more than $16 million in support of statewide cultural resources and public programs strongly rooted in the humanities. These programs preserve Florida’s diverse history and heritage, promote civic engagement and community dialogue, and provide opportunities to reflect on the future of Florida. Learn more at


500 North Indian River Drive • Fort Pierce, Florida 34950 •

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