Humanities Support Infrastructure

by Sydney Boyd, editor & content producer

From natural resources to time-honored American traditions, humanities councils tend to the spaces and structures that support and define our nation. In Alaska, where salmon makes up the third-largest industry in the state, the Alaska Humanities Forum designed the Alaska Salmon Fellows program to address a cross-section of issues related to policy, management, and research among industry leaders. As part of a statewide collaboration on the topic of water, Utah Humanities celebrates the historic Newton Reservoir, a dam that has been in continuous use for 150 years, in a traveling exhibit that includes a virtual tour of the reservoir. Building sustainable structures requires forethought and research. In its podcast “Human Powered,” Wisconsin Humanities spotlights a professor of architecture who designed a field school to think about the experts who build cities and how to care for neighborhoods long after they’ve been built. And it’s not only structures around our natural resources but also cultural paradigms of America that councils explore, like state fairs. In partnership with Humanities Texas, the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History at The University of Texas at Austin presents a photographic exhibition of fairs across 10 states–a series of the traditional, agrarian, and remarkable character of Americana captured by photographer Arthur Grace, complete with cherry pie.

photo credit: Alaska Humanities Forum,