- Associated Press - Wednesday, September 30, 2015

WASHINGTON (AP) - An independent federal agency that hands out grants to preserve American culture is celebrating its 50th anniversary.

The National Endowment for the Humanities was created in a law signed by President Lyndon Johnson in September 1965. Since then, it’s handed out $5.3 billion in grants. Among other things, grants from the agency aided the discovery of the original fort at the Jamestown colony in Virginia and helped launch the career of acclaimed documentary filmmaker Ken Burns.

The agency’s current funding level is similar to what it received in 1979. Adjusted for inflation, that’s a 63 percent decrease.

The endowment will be hosting a series of events throughout the year to mark its anniversary, including a round-table discussion on Wednesday with chairman William “Bro” Adams about its history and future.

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