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

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 enjoyed] the selection of icons: Taylor [Branch], Isabel [Wilkerson], and Sherrilyn [Ifill] as a team!!! I died and am in heaven.”

    Pulitzer 100 event attendee
  • “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 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
  • “I had two students participate who told me they’ve never finished a book before and they finished this one and want to read more!”

    ​One Maryland One Book 2015 teacher
  • “We had our best attendance, ever, for a book discussion, in the seven years I’ve been here.”

    One Maryland One Book 2015 participant
  • “The discussion of the [2015 One Maryland One] book could not have been better. Everyone had a particular part of the story that touched them. One of the newcomers was an experienced rower and gave us wonderful insight into the physical and spiritual aspects of the sport. It is the first time in my ten years with this group that everyone loved the book.”

    One Maryland One Book 2015 participant
  • “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
  • “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
  • “[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 felt that I had a very unique oral history experience. It was very emotional and I feel that I learned valuable information. I got to learn stories and practice skills that normally I wouldn’t have been comfortable with.

    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
  • “The impact of this particular book was probably stronger than any other Maryland One Book due to the connections we could make with real world events and police brutality in the headlines. Many groups were reading and discussing the book at our school: Student Equity Team, Drama Club, Faculty book club, sociology and English classes. It fostered important discussions about race relations.”

    One Maryland One Book 2016 teacher
  • “It was wonderful for us to be able to facilitate this occurrence for it demonstrated to key community stakeholders the power of our museum as an anchor in an old town that is working to draw people downtown and it demonstrated the value of working together on large initiatives.”

    ​Michael Dixon ~ The Historical Society of Cecil County, Elkton, MD, Host Site, Museum on Main Street
  • “[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
  • “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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