From its support for academic research to its funding for public programs, the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) fosters a strong humanities ecosystem in communities throughout the United States. This was driven home to me most recently during a trip to Plymouth, Massachusetts. There, I saw first-hand how NEH-funded research allows us to reconsider how we understand key moments in our nation’s past and ensures that the public also comes to see these new interpretations.
On May 21 we partnered with Virginia Humanities and the hosts of the history podcast BackStory to produce a briefing on Capitol Hill. The event, which was held in the Russell Senate Office Building, offered congressional staff and others the opportunity to see for themselves the power of humanities research. Beyond the books and articles produced by humanities scholars, humanities research offers critical insights into our past and present that help grapple with major challenges and prepare for the future.
The National Endowment for the Humanities’ (NEH) Dialogues on the Experience of War program brings together veterans and civilians to reflect upon powerful literature and art. Over the past year, we have partnered with several recent grantees to document the impact of these programs in order to demonstrate the value of the humanities and the NEH for veterans and their communities. While data collection continues, preliminary results from our pre- and post-program surveys illustrate how these programs equip veterans with humanities resources to process their experiences, share their stories, connect with fellow veterans, and reintegrate into their communities.
In its most recent grant release, the National Endowment for the Humanities awarded $28.6 million in funding to 233 projects based throughout the nation.
The Delta Center for Culture & Learning at Delta State University plays a critical role in bringing the history and culture of the Mississippi Delta to the public. In addition to hosting an annual NEH Landmarks Workshop for School Teachers, “The Most Southern Place on Earth,” the center runs the International Delta Blues Project and manages the Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area (MDNHA). NHA recently completed a survey of the Delta Center’s Landmarks Workshop that explores the program’s longlasting impact on participants. Through qualitative and quantitative data, the results demonstrate that the program rejuvenates teachers, helps them incorporate creative and engaging pedagogies into their classrooms, and encourages continued professional development and strong professional networks.
For over 50 years, the NEH has gathered K-12 teachers—over 90,000 to date—from across the country together every summer for intensive workshops which immerse them in diverse subjects and introduce engaging teaching methods. Through our NEH for All initiative, we’re conducting research that demonstrates how these NEH workshops help keep effective teachers engaged in the profession despite the many challenges that have made teacher retention a national issue.
In advance of our annual meeting, we’ve published major updates to NEHforAll.org. The site now hosts dozens of new profiles that highlight humanities programs from Hawai’i to Maine. New features, including interactive maps and pop-out facts and figures, highlight the geographic range of the NEH’s impact and data we have collected in recent months.
As the debate on immigration policy continues, NEH’s Common Heritage program is capturing stories of how Americans came to this country and made a home for themselves—whether they came from Germany or Korea, 200 years ago or 20, seeking opportunity or refuge.
As we celebrate Black History Month, it is important to remember not only storied civil rights leaders, but the countless courageous “foot soldiers” who made the Civil Rights Movement happen. Since 2004, the NEH and the Alabama Humanities Foundation have supported a summer workshop, Stony the Road We Trod, which introduces K-12 teachers to surviving veterans of the movement. In doing so, the workshop ensures that their stories—of extraordinary courage by ordinary people—will reach students in classrooms across the country for years to come.