NEH Awards More Than $1.6 Million in Grants to Seven State Councils for Public Humanities Programs
Councils awarded funds included Maine, Minnesota, Nebraska, Oregon, Texas, Virgin Islands, and Virginia.

[April 17, 2017 – Arlington, VA] On March 29, 2017 the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) announced more than $21.7 million in grants to support public humanities programming, research, academia, and international collaboration. Seven state humanities councils were awarded more than $1,600,000 to support programs geared toward helping veterans, bringing communities together, and planning for a 56th state humanities council in the Virgin Islands.

“In order to continue their vital work in communities across the nation, councils depend on continued funding and support from the NEH,” said Esther Mackintosh, president of the Federation of State Humanities Councils. “These March grants afford councils the opportunities to expand programs to help veterans and to bring communities together to discuss potentially divisive issues in a safe environment. We are grateful to the NEH for its continued support of the councils’ work.”

Following are descriptions of the state humanities council programs supported by the March 29 grants:

quote box 3MAINE HUMANITIES COUNCIL: The NEH awarded the Maine Humanities Council with $180,000 and a  $40,000 matching offer to expand on its successful Literature & Medicine program to create opportunities for Maine communities to “discuss matters of critical civic importance” in its new Literature & Public Life initiative. This three-year statewide initiative begins fall 2017 and will include public policy issues and topics such as healthcare, education, end-of-life, and domestic violence.

HUMANITIES NEBRASKA: To support Humanities Nebraska’s three-year Chautauqua series on World War I: Legacies of a Forgotten War, the NEH awarded the council $50,000 with a $39,093 matching offer. This Chautauqua series addresses “how the war led to changes in America’s role in international relations, how the war impacted the home front including race, gender, ethnicity, and class issues, and how technology shaped the war.” As part of this series, five scholars will portray the following historical figures: author Edith Wharton, activist W.E.B. DuBois, politician William Jennings Bryan, social reformer Jane Addams, and President Woodrow Wilson.

quote box 1MINNESOTA HUMANITIES CENTER: The NEH awarded the Minnesota Humanities Center with $100,000 for its program, Echoes of War, designed to engage Minnesota veterans and civilians in an “exploration of how war is memorialized versus how war is experienced.” The program features a five-day, immersive, residential training program for 10 selected NEH discussion leaders who will then lead a series of public conversations about history, collective memory and war memorials, and explore how these themes relate to veterans’ experiences of war.

OREGON HUMANITIES: To expand the council’s community conversation programs, the NEH awarded Oregon Humanities with a grant of $240,000 with a matching offer of $104,500. According to the council’s website, their largest conversation-based program, The Conversation Project, brings Oregonians together to talk – across differences, beliefs, and backgrounds – about important issues and ideas. With more than 30 topics to choose from, including homelessness, immigration, and the experiences of interracial families in Oregon, and experienced facilitators trained to connect the topics to the local community and challenge participants to think in new ways, host organizations have multiple options to find something relevant to their audiences and needs.

quote box 2HUMANITIES TEXAS: The NEH awarded $99,000 to Humanities Texas to expand its Veterans’ Voices reading and discussion program, which brings veterans, military families, and members of the public together to read aloud from classical and contemporary literature about war, military service and the return to civilian life. Following the readings, trained facilitators guide discussions exploring how the texts relate to participants’ experiences.

VIRGIN ISLANDS PROVISIONAL HUMANITIES COUNCIL: To help establish a provisional US Virgin Islands Humanities Council that reflects the humanities interests and needs of the US Virgin Islands, the NEH awarded $200,000 in a planning grant to the St. Croix Landmarks Society, Inc. to create the 56th state humanities council.

VIRGINIA FOUNDATION FOR THE HUMANITIES: The NEH awarded three separate grants to the Virginia council totaling $596,301. Slavery and the African-American Experience in Virginia, which received the majority of the funding, is a three-year project aimed at creating public content related to the arrival of the first enslaved Africans to the beginning of the Civil War and is a program that will focus on new technologies to deliver content through 3D objects and 360-degree virtual tours of historic sites. The other programs consist of a series of six half-hour With Good Reason radio episodes entitled, Voices of Vietnam, which will feature American veterans of the Vietnam War and Vietnamese civilians who lived through the conflict; and a web-based federated catalog of digital assets of Eastern Shore heritage, which will include a consortium of cultural institutions such as the University of Virginia’s Institute for Advanced Technology led by the Virginia council.

To learn more about the grants awarded by the National Endowment for the Humanities, please see the NEH press release.


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.


Created in 1965 as an independent federal agency, the National Endowment for the Humanities supports research and learning in history, literature, philosophy, and other areas of the humanities by funding selected, peer-reviewed proposals from around the nation. Additional information about the National Endowment for the Humanities and its grant programs is available at: