About Us

At Maryland Humanities, we’re passionate about making the humanities part of our daily lives.

What connects us as people?

The role of Maryland Humanities is to inspire learning and promote dialogue about our heritage, culture, and future as Marylanders. While the humanities have the power to impact all of us collectively, the rewards of engaging with literature, history, philosophy, and social sciences are also deeply personal.

That’s what keeps people coming back to Maryland Humanities day after day and year after year. Your support is everything—the programs you participate in, the events you attend across the state, the radio broadcasts you listen to, and the stories you explore on this website. For appreciating what we do, for working toward stronger communities and a better state, and for your unwavering support, we are extremely grateful.

Our Mission, Vision and Values


A Brief History on the Occasion of Our 45th Anniversary

At the invitation of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), Maryland Humanities began our existence in late 1973 as the Maryland Committee for the Humanities and Public Policy. The Committee incorporated in 1977 and our name was changed to the Maryland Humanities Council in 1983. In 2016, we dropped “Council” from our name.

In January 1974, we received our first federal grant funds from NEH. For the next twenty years, we were almost exclusively a grant-making organization, one of the few in the state providing vitally important support for public humanities programs. We also sponsored a biennial humanities conference.

Beginning in early 1990s, we increasingly conducted our own public humanities programs while still awarding grants to support the programming efforts of Maryland organizations. In 1995, we launched our longest continuously running program, Chautauqua, in Garrett County. In 1999, we became the producers of Maryland History Day, the local affiliate of National History Day, which has grown to become our largest program.

In 2003—to complement our public funding received from both NEH and the State of Maryland—we began to aggressively seek foundation, corporate, and individual support so that our programs and reach could grow. With the launch of a special two-year initiative, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.: Remembrance and Reconciliation in 2007, private support grew tremendously. In addition, we became the Maryland Center for the Book in March of 2006—a Library of Congress designation—and created the Center’s flagship program, One Maryland One Book, in 2007.

In 2014, Maryland Humanities reaffirmed our commitment to education and adopted our current mission.

Since our modest beginnings, we have grown into an organization with one dozen programs directly serving 82,140 people in 2017 and reaching an additional 1,165,184 through grant-supported projects, festivals, digital engagement, and our partnerships with Maryland Public Television and WYPR.

Through new programs and partnerships, we continue to expand our reach, serve a broader and more proportionally representative cross-section of the Maryland population, increase our presence throughout the state, and quantitatively demonstrate the impact of our work. Join us!

Today, Maryland Humanities is generously supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the State of Maryland, private foundations, corporations, small businesses, and individual donors.

National Endowment for the Humanities logo
Maryland Department of Planning logo
Maryland State Department of Education logo

By the Numbers

  • 37,952
    Maryland Humanities youth program participants
  • 190,862
    Maryland Humanities total audience
  • 81,479
    Maryland Humanities participants
  • 296
    Maryland Humanities virtual events
  • 123
    towns in which Maryland Humanities programs were held
  • 6,020
    Maryland Humanities volunteer hours
  • 413
    Maryland Humanities Donors
  • 873
    Maryland Humanities volunteers
  • 15,443
    followers of Maryland Humanities social media accounts
  • 221
    Maryland Humanities scholars
  • 15,142
    views of Maryland Humanities videos on YouTube
  • $171,811
    Value of Volunteer Hours
  • 725
    Maryland Humanities in-person events

What are the Humanities?

The humanities explore the human experience.

Through the humanities, we think about who we are – our ideas, our histories, our literature, our values – and how we relate to one another. The humanities foster understanding and improve our ability to interact amicably and meaningfully. The humanities include literature, history, philosophy, archaeology, languages, theology, jurisprudence, ethics, art history, architecture, and some disciplines of the social sciences.

  • “[In Veterans Book Group,] I made connections with other vets.”

    Veterans Book Group participant
  • I enjoyed it very much and I learned quite a lot. I think there is a lot that can be learned from these experiences and I think this could be a positive experience for the veterans also.

    Standing Together: Veterans Oral History Project, student participant
  • “All of [this event] was wonderful! I enjoyed Ms. Ifill’s facilitation very much! I enjoyed Taylor Branch. I hadn’t heard him before; he was very refreshing. Ms. Wilkerson was fabulous. I appreciate her candor and passion.”

    Pulitzer 100 event attendee
  • “Left on my own, I would choose the same kind of books over and over again. Now, [participating in One Maryland One Book,] my reading experience is broader and richer and all the more enjoyable.”

    One Maryland One Book 2016 participant
  • “[Participation in the program] continues to remind that as humans, we are diverse and handle situations in accordance with who we are as individuals. Being so reminded fosters patience and empathy in dealing with everyone I come in contact with.”

    ​Literature & Medicine participant
  • “[In Veterans Book Group,] I considered other perspectives both of other service members and others who did not serve.”

    Veterans Book Group participant
  • “Across three months of programming, Kent County witnessed an explosion of 39 free public humanities and arts program presented by more than 20 community partners. Hosted by local churches, businesses, storefronts, art galleries, environmental groups and government agencies, these programs included lectures, exhibitions, walking tours, poster contests, book discussions, school field trips and oral history projects. This wide-ranging and grassroots approach to fostering civic dialogue created a moment for the community to pause and reflect – to consider together its diverse work experiences and shared economic histories while also discussing the county’s economic potential and planning policies moving forward.”

    Barbara Foster, Vice President, G.A.R. Post #25 Sumner Hall, Chestertown, MD, Host Site, Museum on Main Street
  • “[After Literature & Medicine,] I have more respect for other health care staff.”

    Literature & Medicine participant
  • “The book selections offer an opportunity to read a book that is informative and engaging. It enhances our view of the world and the individuals within it. We sincerely look forward to the OMOB selections and materials each year. It is a topic of excitement and discussion among students and staff. Truly and wonderfully.”

    ​One Maryland One Book teacher
  • “The humanities allow us to learn about lives and experiences that are different than our own through compelling and engrossing experiences.”

    ​Maryland Humanities survey participant
  • I enjoyed it as much as the students.

    Standing Together: Veterans Oral History Project, veteran participant
  • “The thing that had the most impact were the skills that I got from this project. I developed better hunting skills in terms of looking for reliable sources and I also learned to work hard and not procrastinate to achieve something great.”

    Maryland History Day student participant
  • “For most of my 10th grade students, this was the first book they have read from cover to cover.”

    One Maryland One Book 2016 teacher
  • “The topic, readings and discussions have encouraged me to consider other ways of interacting with patients and families in the context of culture, lifestyle and economics.”

    ​Literature & Medicine participant
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Maryland Humanities is a statewide, educational nonprofit organization that creates and supports bold experiences that explore and elevate our shared stories to connect people, enhance lives, and enrich communities.
Maryland Humanities
108 West Centre Street
Baltimore, Maryland 21201-4565
(410) 685-0095
(410) 685-0795 fax
info@mdhumanities.org
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