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

  • 7,069
    Maryland Humanities volunteer hours
  • 41,660
    Maryland Humanities youth program participants
  • 650
    Maryland Humanities Donors
  • 51,707
    Maryland Humanities participants
  • 1,602
    Maryland Humanities events
  • 170
    towns in which Maryland Humanities programs were held
  • 172
    libraries participating in One Maryland One Book
  • 775
    Maryland Humanities volunteers
  • 880,047
    Maryland Humanities total audience
  • 1,532
    Maryland Humanities scholars

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.

  • “The OMOB 2014 selection seemed to touch the hearts of so many teachers and students. Everyone who read the story was in awe of the struggles, the will to survive, and then the motivation to write the memoir. The Distance Between Us created such an impact on each reader that s/he handed the book to someone with the request, “you must read this story!” Plus, the selection was inter-disciplinary and ‘captured’ students in all grade and academic levels. Renya Grande captivated the readers who, “couldn’t put the book down.” It is one of the best selections. Thank you!!”

    ​One Maryland One Book 2014 teacher
  • “My participation continuance with the program comes from the great cohesiveness of our group […] everyone’s ideas and work philosophies teach me something new about how to handle my work and my own life.”

    Literature & Medicine participant
  • “I had two students participate who told me they’ve never finished a book before and they finished this one and want to read more!”

    ​One Maryland One Book 2015 teacher
  • “The program has definitely helped me refocus on caring for patients versus helping physicians treat their diseases.”

    ​Literature & Medicine participant
  • “History Day inspired me to become deeply invested in historical topics which I never thought I’d enjoy. It is an amazing experience that has the ability to make learning fun for everyone, no matter what you’re interested in.”

    Addie Skillman, National History Day Gold Winner
  • “I am far more aware of making sure my patients and their families have true informed consent. A misunderstanding of consent can have a huge negative impact on several generations. I never would have realized this without Literature & Medicine.”

    ​Literature & Medicine participant
  • “By using a variety of sources, I was able to get angles on my topic that I wasn’t able to before. Also, I learned so much about a topic near and dear to my heart that will enrich my learning later in life.”

    Maryland History Day 2015 Student
  • “It is difficult to properly express our gratitude to Maryland Humanities for the help and support that we received through the grant-making process and through the project. The grant was crucial to the success of the project, and instrumental in bringing the poet (and 2016 MacArthur Fellow) Claudia Rankine to our campus. As the author of “Citizen: An America Lyric,” Rankine’s powerful reading and discussion of her work provided the anchor for our programming about public education and the role it plays in shaping the political citizen… (Maryland Humanities staff) were a constant source of encouragement and support–and we are proud to have been one of the projects that it recognized this year.”

    Dr. Kimberly Coles ~ Chair, Education and Citizenship Project Committee, University of Maryland College Park
  • “What a discussion! That what’s needed in every town, city, and every age group.”

    One Maryland One Book 2016 participant
  • “This Maryland Humanities grant is absolutely vital to the mission of our non-profit organization devoted to archaeological research and public education. Simply put, we could not have carried out our ambitious exhibit projects without this much-appreciated support. Maryland Humanities has enabled us to share meaningful stories and engage audiences in innovative and creative ways. The platform they have provided strengthens our organization and the community we serve. Thank you!”

    Lost Towns Project, Inc., Major Grant recipient, Anne Arundel County
  • “I think the continual process of improving her research and presentation through the various levels of competition has been incredibly valuable. It has caused her to dig deeper in her research and build upon and refine her work and presentation.”

    ​Maryland History Day parent
  • “[Literature & Medicine] has allowed me to see the perspective of other health care professionals.”

    Literature & Medicine participant
  • “[One Maryland One Book] is wonderful; enlightening, explorative, innovative, [and] educational.”

    One Maryland One Book 2016 participant
  • “The opportunity to host the Smithsonian’s “The Way We Worked” exhibition allowed Sumner Hall to develop meaningful companion exhibits that can remain open to the public in the future. Exhibitions across the county were co-curated by community tradition-bearers, scholars, and college students, empowering citizens of diverse backgrounds to work together to tell their own often-untold stories.”

    Barbara Foster, Vice President, G.A.R. Post #25 Sumner Hall, Chestertown, MD, Host Site, Museum on Main Street
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Maryland Humanities is a statewide, educational nonprofit organization that creates and supports educational experiences in the humanities that inspire all Marylanders to embrace lifelong learning, exchange ideas openly, and enrich their 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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