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

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

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.

  • “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
  • “It provided an opportunity for my child to learn through experiential opportunities. He had interviews and tours that were relevant to his topic that helped the history come alive and create unforgettable memories.”

    Maryland History Day 2015 Parent
  • “It was an amazing experience to meet and talk to a veteran.”

    ​Standing Together: Veterans Oral History Project, student participant
  • “The enthusiasm, and preparedness of your students was impressive. I have spoken about them at different forums, as the leaders of a new generation of Americans, who will study the past, so, not to repeat the mistakes.”

    ​Standing Together: Veterans Oral History Project, veteran participant
  • “[This panel provided] interesting insights into areas of our community that I don’t get by direct observation.”

    Pulitzer Panel attendee
  • “I feel more connected to history.”

    ​Standing Together: Veterans Oral History Project, student participant
  • “In a test-driven educational system, we can sometimes lose sight of what is important. Allowing students time to read and discuss literature can never be underestimated. I appreciate that Letters About Literature recognizes, promotes, and fosters the importance of literature by getting students to write to authors. This contest gives students the opportunity to really think about how a piece has impacted them. I know that the authors don’t necessarily read the letters addressed to them through the contest, but my students have often sent an additional copy of their letter to the author. The euphoria and excitement that comes over the kids who are lucky enough to have the author respond is heart-warming. Just this past year, a student of mine received a personal letter, an autographed book, and other items of appreciation from the author he wrote to.”

    ​Letters About Literature teacher
  • “Maryland History Day challenged my daughter to go deeper, deeper in research analysis and presentation. It took her to a whole new level academically.”

    ​Maryland History Day parent
  • It was more than just a research project, it was more personal than that.

    Standing Together: Veterans Oral History Project, student participant
  • “It was an interesting thing to do. The process of digging through photos, souvenirs, copies of old orders, and other memorabilia was meaningful after 43 years. I WAS impressed with all of the students I met.”

    ​Standing Together: Veterans Oral History Project, veteran participant
  • “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 enjoyed that this program directly related to key issues within our community […] I think this lecture could go on for hours; it’s fabulous!”

    Pulitzer Panel attendee
  • “[One Maryland One Book] is wonderful; enlightening, explorative, innovative, [and] educational.”

    One Maryland One Book 2016 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
  • I enjoyed it very much and I learned quite a lot. I think there is a lot that can be learned from these experiences and I think this could be a positive experience for the veterans also.

    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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