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National Endowment for the Humanities: Public Humanities Grants

Deadline: January 10, 2018

Public Humanities Projects grants support projects that bring the ideas and insights of the humanities to life for general audiences. Projects must engage humanities scholarship to illuminate significant themes in disciplines such as history, literature, ethics, and art, or to address challenging issues in contemporary life. The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) encourages projects that involve members of the public in collaboration with humanities scholars or that invite contributions from the community in the development and delivery of humanities programming.

This grant program supports a variety of forms of audience engagement. Applications should follow the parameters set out below for one of the following three formats:

  • Community Conversations: This format supports one- to two-year-long series of community-wide in-person public programs that are centered on one or more significant humanities resources, such as historic artifacts, artworks, literature, musical compositions, or films. These resources should be chosen to engage a diverse public audience. The programs must be anchored through perspectives drawn from humanities disciplines. Applicants must demonstrate prior experience conducting public dialogues.
  • Exhibitions: This format supports the creation of permanent exhibitions (on view for at least three years) and single-site temporary exhibitions (open to the public for a minimum of four to six months), as well as traveling exhibitions that will be available to public audiences in at least two venues in the United States (including the originating location).
  • Historic Places: This format supports long-term interpretive programs for historic sites, houses, neighborhoods, and regions that are intended to be presented to the public for at least three years. Such programs might include living history presentations, guided tours, exhibitions, and public programs.

NEH encourages projects that explore humanities ideas through multiple formats. Proposed projects may include complementary components: for example, a museum exhibition might be accompanied by a website, mobile app, or discussion programs. The applicant must identify one primary format for the proposed project.

There are two types of grants available:

  • Planning grants: Planning grants are used to refine the content, format, and interpretive approach of a humanities project; develop the project’s preliminary design; test project components; and conduct an evaluation of the project’s likely impact.
  • Implementation grants: Implementation grants are for projects that are in the final stages of preparation to “go live” before the public. Grants support final scholarly research and consultation, design, production, and installation of a project for presentation to the public.

In addition, applicants with ambitious implementation projects of exceptional significance and impact may apply for a Chairman’s Special Award of up to $1,000,000. These projects must show the promise of addressing important humanities ideas in new ways, and must be likely to reach very large national audiences. Successful proposals typically feature collaboration between multiple partners and a broad combination of diverse formats.

Amount: Varies by type:

  • Planning grants: Generally up to $40,000; awards up to $75,000 are available for the planning of exceptionally ambitious and complex projects with the potential to reach very wide audiences
  • Implementation grants: Grants will range between $50,000-$400,000
  • Chairman’s Special Award: Up to $1,000,000

Eligibility: Any U.S. nonprofit organization with IRS tax-exempt status, state and local governmental agencies, and federally recognized Indian tribal governments.

Link: https://www.neh.gov/grants/public/public-humanities-projects

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