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Smithsonian gets $1M to save endangered languages

Wednesday - 12/4/2013, 12:26pm  ET

WASHINGTON -- The Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History has received a $1 million grant to launch a long-term initiative to digitize and preserve recordings of endangered languages.

The London-based Arcadia Fund is providing funds for the first two years of the project to digitize materials in the museum's National Anthropological Archives. The museum announced the grant Wednesday.

The museum's Recovering Voices Initiative aims to digitize the entire collection of ethnographic sound recordings. The museum holds about 3,000 hours of recordings and 35,000 pages of manuscript materials.

The archive is one of the largest collections of indigenous languages. It preserves materials relating to hundreds of languages and cultures representing every continent, except Antarctica.

The Arcadia Fund works to protect endangered culture and nature. It has awarded more than $250 million in grants.


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