Three Councils Win Schwartz Prizes for Outstanding Work in Humanities Programming
California, Montana and Maryland Councils Win for Veteran, Rural and Community Programs


[Nov. 6, 2015 – St. Louis, MO] The Federation of State Humanities Councils presented three councils with the Schwartz Prize for outstanding work in the public humanities on Friday, November 6 at the 2015 National Humanities Conference in St. Louis, Missouri. California Humanities, Humanities Montana and the Maryland Humanities Council received the award for their programs ranging from a unique veterans’ online storytelling exhibit, to a year-long support program for rural communities, to a partnership to revitalize a community and its history.

“This year’s Schwartz Prize winners highlight the important work councils conduct to promote understanding, provide needed resources to often underserved communities, and inspire community involvement and pride,” said Esther Mackintosh, Federation President. “The outstanding work conducted and partnerships formed further demonstrate the ability of the councils to touch every aspect of their states. We are so proud of all the nominations and especially congratulate California Humanities, Humanities Montana and Maryland Humanities Council for their well-deserved awards.”

About the Winners

“War Ink” by California Humanities: A grantee-initiated library project that used veterans’ tattoos as a vehicle for veterans to share their experiences with war and homecoming to an interested public. The stories were captured in an online interpretive exhibit. The program launched last year on Veteran’s Day and has received more than 41,000 visits, generated extensive media coverage, and garnered awards and recognition from the library, media, and design communities. This program blends contemporary cultural issues and technologies with traditional humanities practices of listening, reflection and dialogue. The 2015 judges were impressed with the program’s originality and creativity. 

“Hometown Humanities” by Humanities Montana: A program responding to the challenge many rural states face: how to manage funding and staffing resources across vast distances, Hometown Humanities creates a focused partnership with a selected community to improve its cultural infrastructure and break down barriers that may exist for smaller communities looking to create more ambitious programming. For one year, the council teams up with a local community to provide between 25 and 35 humanities programs and organizational and marketing support. Since 2012, the council has worked with six communities, received coverage in 16 front page newspaper articles, held more than 150 events and reached more than 6,250 people. The 2015 Schwartz Prize judges praised this program’s original solution to a common challenge and view the program results as essential program format research. 

“Hometown Teams” by Maryland Humanities Council: This program was created to strengthen an entire community through local partnerships, using the Smithsonian’s Museum on Main Street traveling exhibit series: Hometown Teams. For the past two years, Maryland Humanities Council has worked with Galesville Community Center to energize and unite its local residents. From the program’s genesis, the community was invited to participate in building the Hometown Teams exhibit, providing artifacts and sharing memories, particularly those associated with the local Hot Sox baseball team and its former players. The organizations worked directly with local schools and STEM students to create the exhibits, interview the players and present the information to the public. The judges praised the program for its transformative effect and its outsized impact from a relatively small grant. 

About the Schwartz Prize and Judges

Every year the Federation of State Humanities Councils awards the Schwartz Prize to up to three councils for outstanding work in the public humanities. The prize is funded through an endowment from founding Federation board member Martin Schwartz and his wife Helen. The Schwartz Prize judges are selected from the previous year’s winning councils.

More information about the Schwartz Prize can be found on the Federation website at:

View the 2015 Schwartz Prize Nominees here:[commonprogram][]=145 .

The Federation of State Humanities Councils

The Federation of State Humanities Councils, founded in 1977 as the membership association of state and territorial councils, provides support for the state humanities councils and strives to create greater awareness of the humanities in public and private life.

For more information about the Federation of State Humanities Councils, please visit:

The State Humanities Councils

The state humanities councils are independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit organizations supporting grassroots humanities programs and community-based activities. Humanities councils were created by Congress in the early 1970s and receive an annual congressional appropriation through the National Endowment for the Humanities, which most councils supplement with state and private funding.

For more information about the state humanities councils, please visit: