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

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

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.

  • “Humanities are the core of everything. You cannot be a good scientist or computer programmer, if you cannot communicate clearly with others and understand others. Humanities studies and scholarships are the essential element in learning how to relate to each other AND how to better communicate with one another.”

    ​Maryland Humanities survey participant
  • “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
  • Good way to make learning real world. I learned first-hand what it was like in Vietnam, I learned a lot from this and enjoyed the experience.

    Standing Together: Veterans Oral History Project, student participant
  • “The project definitely raised the visibility of our organization in western Maryland. Spruce Forest Artisan Village has become a fixture in Garrett County, but it does become taken for granted. This project gave local residents a new reason to make the effort to make a return visit to the Village. Moreover, the programs hosted by the adjacent Penn Alps Restaurant helped us in reaching a new audience.”

    ​Kara Rogers Thomas ~ Frostburg State University faculty, and Board Member at Spruce Forest Artisan Village, Grantsville, MD, Host Site, Museum on Main Street
  • “[I liked] witnessing three leaders in American thought discuss important issues in illuminating ways.”

    Pulitzer 100 event attendee
  • “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 met some great people, read books I might never have otherwise, [and] had great discussion.”

    Veterans Book Group participant
  • “One student in my book club who is in a wheelchair and has a lot of other persona/home issues, was the first to finish the book, and wheeled herself into the library more than once to ask me if I had finished the book because she wanted to talk about it. She was a huge contributor to the discussion.”

    One Maryland One Book 2016 teacher
  • “[In Veterans Book Group,] I considered other perspectives both of other service members and others who did not serve.”

    Veterans Book Group participant
  • “[My son] became a real expert in his topic and, he says, developed a life-long love of history, especially the history of music. I cannot thank you enough for this rare and incredible opportunity.”

    Andrea LeWinter, parent of Maryland History Day participant
  • “[After Literature & Medicine,] I sat and spoke with a terrified family member for much longer than I would have. Building a rapport is so important for the patient’s and family’s mental health.”

    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
  • “Talking with students also helps those of us who have said little about our combat experiences because, in a sense, we feel guilty about why others died and not us/me? So, to be able to talk about it helps the veterans. The opportunity you provided to both students and veterans is wonderful and I do hope that our messages are meaningful to students.”

    ​Standing Together: Veterans Oral History Project, veteran participant
  • “Besides giving my students a relaxed writing situation with a non-threatening prompt (a personal letter, after all), your program challenges students to think ‘outside the box.'”

    ​Letters About Literature teacher
  • “Lifelong learning is a philosophy, practice, and lifestyle that I’ve long advocated for in both my professional and personal lives. In the rapid pace, constantly changing, technological, social, and cultural environments we find ourselves in, a continuous adjustment to change is necessary. Lifelong learning is essential to understanding where we’ve been, where we are, and where we want to go, both as individuals and as a society.”

    ​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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