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

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

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

    Veterans Book Group participant
  • “This contest gives [students] a chance to practice [letter writing] while also expressing themselves about a work of literature or a particular author that has made an impact on them personally. As a teacher, I benefit from reading the letters because I always learn new things about each student.”

    ​Letters About Literature teacher
  • “For most of my 10th grade students, this was the first book they have read from cover to cover.”

    One Maryland One Book 2016 teacher
  • “[The students] learned a variety of ways to present their material and they could focus on what they wanted to learn about. The students had a choice in their learning. It was about their learning NOT what someone else felt they need to learn.”

    ​Maryland History Day teacher
  • “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
  • “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​
  • “By using a variety of sources, I was able to get angles on my topic that I wasn’t able to before. Also, I learned so much about a topic near and dear to my heart that will enrich my learning later in life.”

    Maryland History Day 2015 Student
  • “Across three months of programming, Kent County witnessed an explosion of 39 free public humanities and arts program presented by more than 20 community partners. Hosted by local churches, businesses, storefronts, art galleries, environmental groups and government agencies, these programs included lectures, exhibitions, walking tours, poster contests, book discussions, school field trips and oral history projects. This wide-ranging and grassroots approach to fostering civic dialogue created a moment for the community to pause and reflect – to consider together its diverse work experiences and shared economic histories while also discussing the county’s economic potential and planning policies moving forward.”

    Barbara Foster, Vice President, G.A.R. Post #25 Sumner Hall, Chestertown, MD, Host Site, Museum on Main Street
  • I didn’t know that with history came such unique stories and experience.

    Standing Together: Veterans Oral History Project, student participant
  • “I work in billing. I think the program has helped me to see that people come from all walks of life and the responses they have to problems with all aspects of health care are influenced by that. I am more willing to listen to them.”

    ​Literature & Medicine 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
  • “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
  • “History Day inspired me to become deeply invested in historical topics which I never thought I’d enjoy. It is an amazing experience that has the ability to make learning fun for everyone, no matter what you’re interested in.”

    Addie Skillman, National History Day Gold Winner
  • 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
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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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