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

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

  • We were really moved by the testimony of the veterans and impressed by the professionalism and dedication of the students.

    Standing Together: Veterans Oral History Project, parent
  • “[My favorite part of the tour was] learning about some of the people and places I hadn’t realized were part of Baltimore’s past.”

    Literary Mount Vernon Walking Tour Participant
  • “My students have been removed from their home schools. Right away, they made comments about the diction of the text, how it seemed realistic to them and they pointed out words they would have changed. We talked about word choice, slang, etc. I had 2 instances where students were excited to see me because they had events similar to the book happen to them and they needed to tell someone. They want to know how to change things. […] These kids typically failed English class or were chronic non-attenders or were removed before they came here. They are excited about reading a book! Teacher librarian win!”

    One Maryland One Book 2016 teacher
  • It was more than just a research project, it was more personal than that.

    Standing Together: Veterans Oral History Project, student participant
  • I thought the interview was gonna be boring but since it happened I had a lot of fun learning about my veteran’s experiences.

    Standing Together: Veterans Oral History Project, student 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
  • “MHD illustrated the applicability of the study of history to contemporary issues and current events. It was very motivating to converse with the students about their historical topic and observe how they applied it to current events and their own life circumstances.”

    ​Maryland History Day parent
  • “The excitement of the research was wonderful for my students’ academic progress. They now feel capable of doing any research paper that may be assigned in college!”

    Maryland History Day 2019 Teacher
  • “[One Maryland One Book is] excellent! I come to as many of the One Maryland One Book events and will continue to do so—always pleased!”

    One Maryland One Book 2016 participant
  • “[I enjoyed] listening to the personal experiences of the panelists as they honestly confronted the universal problems of the 21st century.”

    Pulitzer Panel attendee
  • “The year before last, one of my students lost her father to a heart attack at the beginning of the school year. Books were her connection to her father. The shock of the sudden passing, and the newness of having to take care of her younger siblings would not allow her to grieve, and she spent the first few months in therapy due to this. LAL enabled her to reconnect with her father on a different plane, through the framework of books they enjoyed together. Due to this, she was express her grief & allow healing to begin.”

    Letters About Literature teacher
  • “[In Veterans Book Group,] I learned a different way to explain combat experience to one who has never been in the service.”

    Veterans Book Group participant
  • “Last year was the first time our school participated in the program and one of our students was selected! She was thrilled to be recognized and has been an inspiration to other students. I am so thankful for all the support provided by Maryland Humanities. They reach out and are incredibly helpful and willing to provide resources and opportunities. We appreciate the genuine interest they have in our students!”

    Letters About Literature teacher
  • “I met some great people, read books I might never have otherwise, [and] had great discussion.”

    Veterans Book Group 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 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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