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Deadline: August 14, 2019

National Endowment for the Humanities: Public Humanities Projects

The Public Humanities Projects program supports projects that bring the ideas and insights of the humanities to life for general audiences through in-person programming. Projects must engage humanities scholarship to analyze significant themes in disciplines such as history, literature, ethics, and art history. 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 program supports a variety of forms of audience engagement. Applications should follow the parameters set out below for one of the following three categories:

  • Humanities Discussions: This category supports three-month-long to two-year-long series of at least fifteen in-person public programs that engage audiences with 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 presented by humanities experts such as speakers, panelists, or discussion leaders providing context and analysis of program themes. Projects may include, but are not limited to, panel symposiums, lecture series, reading and discussion programs, analytical discussions on museum collections or theater/musical performances, life-long learning programs, or other methods of face-to-face audience engagement or informal education. Projects should be regional or national in scope; if they instead occur in a single state or territory, they should be state- or territory-wide. Projects must also develop resources to extend the life of the discussion program.
  • Exhibitions: This category 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 two 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 category 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.

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. Exceptionally ambitious and complex permanent or traveling exhibitions with the potential to reach very wide audiences may include any of the following:

  • Collaboration with multiple institutional partners
  • A wide-ranging combination of diverse formats (for example, exhibitions, book/film discussion programs, digital formats, lecture series, symposia, neighborhood tours, curriculum guides, publications, and broadcast media)
  • Programming at a large number of venues

All applicants for Exhibitions or Historic Places planning grants should be able to:

  • Clearly articulate the humanities themes that they plan to develop
  • Identify humanities scholars and other consultants who are committed to working with the project
  • Describe the approaches and techniques they plan to use in the exhibition or site interpretation to convey humanities content to the public

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. All applicants for implementation grants should be able to demonstrate that they have:

  • Clearly defined the project’s themes and developed project content to an advanced stage
  • Consulted with humanities scholars throughout the development of project content and identified key scholars who will collaborate through the implementation phase
  • Produced documents illustrating the project’s format (such as exhibition designs, sample text, interpretive plans, or program scripts)
  • For traveling exhibitions, secured at least two venues within the United States (including the original location of the exhibition)

Amount: Award amounts are dependent on type of project:

  • Planning: Most awards are made for up to $40,000, with a maximum of $75,000 for complex projects that will reach large national audiences. Awards are usually made for a period of performance of twelve months.
  • Implementation: Awards typically do not exceed $400,000, with a maximum of $250,000 for Humanities Discussions and $100,000 for temporary exhibitions. Awards for Historic Places and Exhibitions projects are usually made for a period of performance of 12-36 months. Awards for Humanities Discussions projects are made for a period of performance of 3-24 months.
  • Awards of up to $1,000,000 are available for Chairman’s Special Awards (only for applicants for permanent or traveling Exhibitions Implementation awards).

Eligibility: U.S. nonprofit organizations with 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status; state and local governmental agencies; federally recognized Native American tribal governments; and institutions of higher education.

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

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