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

  • 873
    Maryland Humanities volunteers
  • $171,811
    Value of Volunteer Hours
  • 221
    Maryland Humanities scholars
  • 123
    towns in which Maryland Humanities programs were held
  • 15,142
    views of Maryland Humanities videos on YouTube
  • 81,479
    Maryland Humanities participants
  • 190,862
    Maryland Humanities total audience
  • 296
    Maryland Humanities virtual events
  • 15,443
    followers of Maryland Humanities social media accounts
  • 413
    Maryland Humanities Donors
  • 725
    Maryland Humanities in-person events
  • 37,952
    Maryland Humanities youth program participants
  • 6,020
    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.

  • “[The Walking Tour] was a delight: loved the audience-participation with the quotations; great history and anecdotes from the guides; they were excellent at asking provocative questions of the participants, eliciting thought and engagement; good pace, even for someone slow walking.”

    ​Literary Walking Tour Participant
  • “The Smithsonian connection gave us new credibility. We were able to track attendance and we’ve seen a continued rise in weekend activity. Based on increased attendance numbers, we’ve decided to keep the museum open year round. Using our guest book, our gung-ho membership chair was able to double the membership in the Friends organization. This enhanced our treasury by a substantial amount and identified many new volunteers.”

    ​Dorry Norris ~ Washington County Rural Heritage Museum, Boonesboro, MD Host Site, Museum on Main Street
  • “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
  • “I had never done anything like this before so it was a totally new experience to write a paper, be interviewed, and defend my positions. I now really know how to do research and it has improved my writing skills.”

    ​Maryland History Day 2015 Student
  • “[After Literature & Medicine,] I have more respect for other health care staff.”

    Literature & Medicine participant
  • “A few years ago a student connected with a novel describing a family merging from two families that had been traumatized by divorce. Her own family was in the process of this same event. Because of her selection I was able to learn what she was going through. No other assignment would have been quite so helpful for revealing and honoring her feelings.”

    Letters About Literature teacher
  • It was more than just a research project, it was more personal than that.

    Standing Together: Veterans Oral History Project, student participant
  • “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
  • “[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
  • “We were very proud to have been chosen to partner with the Maryland Humanities on this exhibit project. Small museums, such as ours…are generally not able to field programs of this scope. Maryland Humanities has truly given us an opportunity to bring a nationally recognized program to the City of Bowie and Prince Georges County and have made it easy to reach and stretch and accomplish something that we’ve never done before on this level in our small museum system. The support of Maryland Humanities both financially and professionally is invaluable to us.”

    Pam Williams ~ Belair Manison, City of Bowie Museums, Bowie, MD, Host Site, Museum on Main Street​
  • “[My favorite part of the tour was] learning about the literary giants who lived and visited Baltimore!”

    Literary Mount Vernon Walking Tour Participant
  • “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
  • 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
  • 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
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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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