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

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

  • “Although “Fences” are down, the reverberations of our initiative are still resonating. The web of collaboration is clearly active. Many “reached across the fence.” Our community is all the stronger for it. The exhibition boasts the largest attendance of any seven week display on campus with a visitor count of over 1,050. Add to that the rich programming amounting to over 25 events which saw attendance again well over 1,000 participants. What is remarkable is the cross section of interest groups and individuals who attended from the three-county area of southern Maryland and beyond. In essence, the rich mosaic that formed attracted a broad range of people and opened a rare exchange of ideas. We witnessed epiphanies!”

    ​Mary Braun ~ Director of the Boyden Gallery, St. Mary’s College, St. Mary’s City, MD Host Site, Museum on Main Street
  • We were enabled to go into the community and get information from real people. Also, the assignment was pretty subjective so we were able to take it in any way we liked. We led the projects and each one is so different from the next.

    Standing Together: Veterans Oral History Project, student 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
  • “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
  • “[My favorite part of the tour was] learning about the literary giants who lived and visited Baltimore!”

    Literary Mount Vernon Walking Tour 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
  • “This oral history experience was amazing. I learned so much and will never forget this. I LOVED IT, I was super skeptical at first. I felt like we had a lack of planning but I think everything went so great.”

    ​Standing Together: Veterans Oral History Project, student participant
  • “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
  • “[Veterans Book Group] was better than expected! [I got] a feeling of connection and pride with the other member [and] I’d love to participate again in any future book clubs—I enjoyed the stimulation.”

    Veterans Book Group participant
  • “[The humanities] provide us with tools and perspectives to analyze and interpret social phenomena with different lenses; they open up perspectives we may not have thought about and help us look at issues in more empathic ways.”

    ​Maryland Humanities survey participant
  • “This program is a gift, literally and figuratively!”

    One Maryland One Book 2015 teacher
  • “[One Maryland One Book] is wonderful; enlightening, explorative, innovative, [and] educational.”

    One Maryland One Book 2016 participant
  • “I feel more connected to history.”

    ​Standing Together: Veterans Oral History Project, student participant
  • “One of my students, a boy who works 35 hours a week at McDonalds, took the time to write me a letter stating the book had changed his life.”

    ​One Maryland One Book 2015 teacher
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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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