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Getty Grant Program Funds Conservation Planning at Historic Little Rock Central High School

February 9, 1998

Los Angeles, Calif.--The Getty Grant Program today announced a $25,000 grant to plan the conservation of Little Rock Central High School in Arkansas, a building that became the focus of world attention during school desegregation in 1957. The grant will help to ensure the long-term preservation of the landmark building which has come to symbolize a major turning point in the civil rights movement in America. Funding will support ongoing conservation efforts at the high school, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and has been designated as a National Historic Landmark by the National Park Service.

Little Rock Central High School attracted national and international media attention in September 1957 when President Dwight D. Eisenhower sent in the National Guard to protect nine African-American students who had been denied entry to the all-white school. In a moving image watched by millions of people on television, the soldiers escorted the children through the side door into the school. In September 1997, President Clinton drew national attention to this historical event when he held open the front door of Central High for the nine former students who had been denied access 40 years earlier.

"We are delighted to provide support for the preservation of Little Rock High School," said Deborah Marrow, Director of the Getty Grant Program. "The building has great historical and architectural significance. It is a powerful symbol of the fight for equal rights and an icon of the movement to integrate public schools."

Over the next year, the grant will provide critical support to identify the conservation needs of the building. The project team, comprising architects, conservators, scientists, and engineers, will formulate an action plan for future conservation work based upon their research, fieldwork, and laboratory analysis.

"The support of the Getty Grant Program ensures that the beauty and character of a national landmark structure will be preserved," said Dr. Leslie V. Carnine, Superintendent of the Little Rock School District. "The building once called 'the most beautiful high school in America' will continue to serve as a model of partnership and planning for our students and our community."

The Getty Grant Program, which is the philanthropic arm of the J. Paul Getty Trust, funds a diverse range of projects that promote conservation of cultural heritage, research in the history of art and related fields, and advancement of the understanding of art. Since its inception in 1984, the Getty Grant Program has given more than $70 million to support over 1,700 projects in 135 countries. Recent grants have supported the scholarly reinterpretation of the Classic Maya murals in Bonampak in Chiapas, Mexico, the development of interpretive materials for the Denver Museum's American and European art collections, and the architectural conservation of Aachen Cathedral in Germany.

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About the Getty:

The J. Paul Getty Trust is an international cultural and philanthropic institution devoted to the visual arts that features the Getty Conservation Institute, the Getty Foundation, the J. Paul Getty Museum, and the Getty Research Institute. The J. Paul Getty Trust and Getty programs serve a varied audience from two locations: the Getty Center in Los Angeles and the Getty Villa in Malibu.

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The Getty Conservation Institute works internationally to advance conservation practice in the visual arts-broadly interpreted to include objects, collections, architecture, and sites. The Institute serves the conservation community through scientific research, education and training, model field projects, and the dissemination of the results of both its own work and the work of others in the field. In all its endeavors, the GCI focuses on the creation and delivery of knowledge that will benefit the professionals and organizations responsible for the conservation of the world's cultural heritage. To learn more, subscribe to the GCI's E-Bulletin by visiting