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

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

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.

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

    Veterans Book Group participant
  • “[The Museums on Main Street] project was a win-win for the University and community. It enhanced student learning; they gained the ability to explore divisive topics from multiple angles and viewpoints, developed the skills needed to create engaging visual and audio displays, and cultivated an aptitude for envisioning a tangible project from inception through completion, all the while involving them in the local community.”

    ​Kara Rogers Thomas ~ Frostburg State University faculty, and Board Member at Spruce Forest Artisan Village, Grantsville, MD Host Site, Museum on Main Street
  • “[One Maryland One Book] taught me how much we need to talk and listen to one another.”

    One Maryland One Book 2016 participant
  • “I distributed copies of the book and we engaged in an afterschool discussion which included students and staff. Everyone who participated was so engaged that our 45 minute planned discussion ended up stretching into an hour and a half!”

    One Maryland One Book 2016 teacher
  • 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
  • “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
  • “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
  • “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
  • I’ve loved judging! It’s exciting to see the passion the middle schoolers have put in their projects. I hope that my critiques have helped strive for excellence throughout their lives.

    Dee Krasnansky, Maryland History Day Judge
  • “[I liked] witnessing three leaders in American thought discuss important issues in illuminating ways.”

    Pulitzer 100 event attendee
  • “Very interesting program. I had not heard of or read any of the stories; I would like to read them now.”

    Pulitzer Panel attendee
  • “[This panel provided] interesting insights into areas of our community that I don’t get by direct observation.”

    Pulitzer Panel attendee
  • “The school I am reporting on is designed as an alternative center for students who are not successful in the “regular” classrooms in our district. These students are challenged by a number of factors, including emotional problems, discipline issues, etc. This particular book was one that a number of students were able to relate to and engage with. As a consequence, students who do not normally read became active participants in both reading and discussing!”

    One Maryland One Book 2015 teacher
  • “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
  • “The program gave me new insights and reinforced many of my attitudes and commitments to the care of the seniors whom I see in my clinic. Interacting with colleagues whom I have now had a different and delightful “book club” experience with improves my work performance and work enjoyment.”

    ​Literature & Medicine participant
Share your feedback
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
Join the Conversation   TwitterFacebookYouTube
Featured Donor or Partner
Thalheimer-Eurich_Fund_logo_for_web