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

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

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.

  • “It was an interesting thing to do. The process of digging through photos, souvenirs, copies of old orders, and other memorabilia was meaningful after 43 years. I WAS impressed with all of the students I met.”

    ​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
  • “[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
  • “[One Maryland One Book taught me that] these types of book discussions that include diverse populations across the state open necessary dialogues to help solve problems. We need to have many more.”

    One Maryland One Book 2016 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
  • Humanities matter because humanity matters. The best thoughts, the highest questions, the most profound actions of courage and sacrifice are found in written accounts, art, and creative expressions throughout the ages. To study the humanities is to study oneself in a way that develops cultural literacy, critical thinking, and emotional intelligence.

    ​Maryland Humanities survey participant
  • 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
  • “I completed the book club with 22 students, all of them on the JV football team – so not your stereotypical group of book club attendees. On the last day of our book club experience I asked students for some feedback and also asked if they would be interested in participating in another book club. Nearly all of them said that this was the first time they had ever participated in a book club, and a few said it was the first time they had actually read an entire book. I keep hearing back from them, too, [asking] ‘When is the next book club starting up?’. The discussions we had were powerful and meaningful–this was truly one of the most moving experiences I have had as an educator.”

    One Maryland One Book 2016 teacher
  • “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
  • “I feel very proud and happy that I did this, it motivates me to learn more about history. My opinion of history has changed. It made me more motivated to learn about history and it seems much more interesting now.”

    ​Standing Together: Veterans Oral History Project, student participant
  • “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
  • “The impact of this particular book was probably stronger than any other Maryland One Book due to the connections we could make with real world events and police brutality in the headlines. Many groups were reading and discussing the book at our school: Student Equity Team, Drama Club, Faculty book club, sociology and English classes. It fostered important discussions about race relations.”

    One Maryland One Book 2016 teacher
  • I’m so glad I did the interview and would do it again. Now I realize just how much history affects people.

    Standing Together: Veterans Oral History Project, student participant
  • “Over the past few years, I have noticed a decline in the number of students who read for pleasure. This type of contest certainly fosters that love of reading.”

    ​Letters About Literature teacher
  • “Lifelong learning is continuing to read, listen, learn, share ideas, discuss, and be enlightened by the great ideas and events of the human experience during the course of an entire life.”

    ​Maryland Humanities survey participant
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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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