Public Humanities Projects

Funding Agency:
National Endowment for the Humanities

The Public Humanities Projects program supports projects that bring the ideas of the humanities to life for general audiences through public programming.  Projects must engage humanities scholarship to analyze significant themes in disciplines such as history, literature, ethics, and art history. Awards support projects that are intended to reach broad and diverse public audiences in non-classroom settings in the United States. Projects should engage with ideas that are accessible to the general public and employ appealing interpretive formats.

Public Humanities Projects supports projects in three categories (Exhibitions, Historic Places, and Humanities Discussions), and at two funding levels (Planning and Implementation). Proposed projects may include complementary components: for example, a museum exhibition might be accompanied by a website or mobile app.

Project topics may be international, national, regional, or local in focus, but locally focused projects should address topics that are of regional or national relevance by drawing connections to broad themes or historical questions. Projects that don’t address issues of concern to wider regional or national audiences might consider local sources of funding, such as their state humanities councils. Award amounts offered to successful applicants will reflect the project’s scope and the size of its expected audiences.

Small and mid-sized organizations are especially encouraged to apply. We likewise welcome humanities projects tailored to particular groups, such as families, youth (including K-12 students in informal educational settings), underserved communities, and veterans.

Application Due Dates:

Cycle One:

  • Optional Draft: TBA
  • Application: Aug. 9, 2023

Cycle Two:

  • Optional Draft: Nov. 29, 2023
  • Application: Jan. 11, 2024

 

Agency Website

Areas of Interest

This program supports projects in three categories: Exhibitions (permanent, temporary, or traveling); interpretive programs at Historic Places; and Humanities Discussions. 

The Exhibitions category supports the creation of permanent exhibitions (on view for at least three years) and single-site temporary exhibitions (open to the public for a minimum of two months), as well as traveling exhibitions that will be available to public audiences in at least two venues in the United States (including the originating location).

The Historic Places category supports long-term interpretive programs for historic sites, houses, neighborhoods, and regions that are intended to be presented to the public for at least three years. Such projects might include living history presentations, guided tours, exhibitions, and public programs. 

The Humanities Discussions category supports series of public programs related to your organization’s humanities focus and resources. These programs should engage diverse public audiences with humanities resources such as historic artifacts, artwork, works of literature, or archival documents, and be geared toward topics or themes meaningful to your community. Discussion programs aimed at a local audience are encouraged to make connections to broader national themes. Programs may be moderated or led by a range of humanities experts such as historians, curators, librarians, scholars, authors, artists, or community or tribal leaders who will help interpret thematic content, and spark conversation and critical analysis.

Eligibility Requirements

To be eligible to apply, you must be established in the United States or its jurisdictions as one of the following organization types:  

• a nonprofit organization recognized as tax-exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code

• an accredited institution of higher education (public or nonprofit)

• a state or local government or one of their agencies 

• a federally recognized Native American Tribal government 

You may submit multiple applications for separate and distinct projects under this notice, but you may not submit multiple applications for the same project at the same deadline. If you have already submitted an application for a project under a prior deadline, NEH will not accept a second application for the same project while the first is still under review. Be advised that this program’s January 2023 deadline falls during the review period for applications submitted to the August 2022 deadline, so you may not submit applications for the same project to both deadlines.

Amount Description

This program supports projects at two funding levels: Planning and Implementation. Humanities Discussions applicants must apply at the Implementation level. 

Planning: These awards support projects which have completed preliminary work resulting in the identification of possible analytical themes and interpretive methods that you will further explore during the planning period. Awards are typically up to $40,000, with a period of performance of up to 24 months. NEH will make awards up to $75,000, with a period of performance of up to 24 months, for the planning of exceptionally ambitious and complex permanent or traveling exhibitions with the potential to reach very wide audiences 

Implementation: Implementation grants support projects that are in the final stages of preparation to “go live” before the public. Activities may include final scholarly research and consultation, design, production, and installation of a project for presentation to the public. The period of performance must include the required minimum exhibition time.  Implementation awards range from $50,000 to $400,000 with a period of performance from 12 to 48 months. For Humanities Discussions, average award amounts are $250,000; awards up to the maximum of $400,000 are reserved for outstanding projects that exceed the minimum number of required programs and demonstrate an extensive audience reach bearing more of a regional or national scope.

In rare circumstances, NEH may make Chair’s Special Awards of up to $1,000,000 for Implementation projects that will reach an exceptionally large audience.

In addition, if you are applying at the Implementation level, you may request an additional $50,000 or $100,000 for a Position in Public Humanities. 

Funding Type

Grant

Eligibility

Faculty

Category

Arts & Humanities
Community Outreach and Engagement
Curriculum Development

External Deadline

January 11, 2024