"The healthiest communities are those that are built around active libraries, museums, and other cultural centers, that have a strong sense of their own history and identity, that have good quality schools, along with mechanisms for involving their residents in the process of solving problems and planning for the future. Supporting these kinds of communities is what the state humanities councils are all about." - Esther Mackintosh, FSHC President, at a White House briefing
As the president of the Federation of State Humanities Councils, I can attest to the hunger for the content and approaches of the humanities that is so evident in communities throughout the country. Through the state humanities councils, which receive core funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the humanities live not just on university campuses but also in local libraries, town halls, veterans’ hospitals, museums, bars and prisons, around campfires, and under outdoor Chautauqua tents—all places where councils hold programs that help people make sense of their lives, have civil conversations, understand the perspectives of others and define and address the challenges facing their communities. Humanities offerings in higher education may evolve in a way that will make them ascendant again, but the state humanities councils both confirm and ensure that the humanities flame is burning brightly in the public sphere.
Esther Mackintosh, Ph.D.
President, Federation of State Humanities Councils