Wednesday, May 18, 2022

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Public Humanities Project Grant

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    Funder Type

    Federal Government

    IT Classification

    B - Readily funds technology as part of an award


    National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH)


    Public Humanities Projects grants support projects that bring the ideas and insights of the humanities to life for general audiences. Projects must engage humanities scholarship to illuminate significant themes in disciplines such as history, literature, ethics, and art, or to address challenging issues in contemporary life. NEH encourages projects that involve members of the public in collaboration with humanities scholars or that invite contributions from the community in the development and delivery of humanities programming.

    This grant program supports a variety of forms of audience engagement. Applications should follow the parameters set out below for one of the following three formats:

    • Humanities Discussions - This format supports three-month-long to two-year-long series of at least fifteen in person public programs that engage audiences with significant humanities resources, such as historic artifacts, artworks, literature, musical compositions, or films.
    • Exhibitions - This format supports permanent exhibitions that will be on view for at least three years and single-site temporary exhibitions that will be open to the public for at least two months, or traveling exhibitions that will be available to public audiences in at least two venues in the United States (including the originating location).
    • Historic Places - This format supports the interpretation of historic sites, houses, neighborhoods, and regions, which might include living history presentations, guided tours, exhibitions, and public programs.

    NEH encourages projects that explore humanities ideas through multiple formats. Proposed projects may include complementary components that deepen an audience's understanding of a subject: for example, a museum exhibition might be accompanied by a website, mobile app, or discussion programs. Your application must identify one primary format for your project and follow the application instructions for that format.

    Humanities projects mean projects that seek to understand and explain the significance of what people have thought, done, and achieved, both in the past and in our time. Humanities fields explore topics like these: the philosophy, literature, art, and music that people create; the battles that they fight; the polities and societies in which they live; the social forces that unite and divide them; the work that they do; and the religions in which they believe.

    All projects must:

    • be grounded in sound humanities scholarship
    • offer an analytical perspective on the themes and ideas that underlie it in order to deepen public understanding of the humanities
    • involve humanities scholars who contribute to all phases of the project
    • attract a broad public audience or target a particular group underserved by the humanities
    • offer engaging content approached through an appropriate variety of perspectives
    • encourage dialogue and the exchange of ideas

    Public Humanities Projects grants may be used for:

    • meetings with scholars and other content advisers, program partners, and audience representatives
    • research into the topic
    • travel to archives, collections, sites, or other resources
    • development and production of program or discussion guides, exhibition labels, brochures, digital assets, publications, or other interpretive material
    • design of any of the interpretive formats to be used
    • planning and presentation of public programs and publicity materials
    • evaluation of the project's impact
    • planning and conducting project-specific training for docents, discussion coordinators, or other interpretive leaders
    • development and production of curriculum guides and other materials for teachers and students
    • exhibition design and fabrication, as well as crating and shipping
    • conservation treatments of objects, not exceeding 15 percent of the request to NEH
    • development and construction of interactive program components
    • publication costs for complementary materials, including catalogs and curriculum guides
    • publicity expenses

    There are two levels of funding for Exhibitions and Historic Places: planning and implementation. For Humanities Discussions, there is only one level of funding: implementation.  

    • Planning grants are used to refine the content, format, and interpretive approach of a humanities project; develop the project's preliminary design; test project components; and conduct an evaluation of the project's likely impact.
    • Implementation grants are for projects that are in the final stages of preparation to go live” before the public. Grants support final scholarly research and consultation, design, production, and installation of a project for presentation to the public.

    Additional opportunities for Implementation applicants

    Chairman's Special Awards: Applicants with ambitious Implementation projects of exceptional significance and impact may apply for a Chairman's Special Award of up to $1 million. These projects must show the promise of addressing important humanities ideas in new ways, and must be likely to reach very large national audiences. Successful proposals typically feature collaboration between multiple partners and a broad combination of diverse formats. Chairman's Special Awards are rare: NEH typically awards no more than one Chairman's Special Award per year.

    Positions in Public Humanities: Positions in Public Humanities provide full-time employment opportunities for recent graduates with an MA or PhD in the humanities and are intended to invigorate the interpretation of the humanities in a wide variety of cultural organizations. Organizations applying for an Implementation award in Exhibitions and Historic Places may request additional funds for a Position in Public Humanities. Planning applicants and Humanities Discussion applicants are not eligible to apply.


    History of Funding

    Previous grantees can be seen at

    Additional Information

    Public Humanities Projects grants may not be used for:

    • expenses for hosting a traveling exhibition that is not being developed as part of the project proposed in the application submitted to this program;
    • expenses for venues in foreign countries;
    • projects that are exclusively or primarily digital (applicants should apply instead to the Digital Projects for the Public grant program);
    • purchase of art, artifacts, or equipment;
    • the creation of encyclopedias, or projects for preservation, cataloging, or archiving that do not include significant interpretive components;
    • print or digital publications that are not an integral part of the larger project for which funding is requested;
    • professional development or new staff hires (except for new hires resulting from the creation of a Position in Public Humanities, described below);
    • general operations, renovation, restoration, rehabilitation, or construction;
    • strategic planning or feasibility studies;
    • projects intended primarily for students in formal learning environments or that satisfy requirements for educational degrees or formal professional training (though projects may include components that can be used in classrooms);
    • projects primarily devoted to research rather than interpretation for the general public;
    • dramatic adaptations of literary works;
    • promotion of a particular political, religious, or ideological point of view;
    • advocacy for a particular program of social or political action;
    • support of specific public policies or legislation;
    • lobbying; or
    • projects that fall outside of the humanities (including the creation or performance of art; creative writing, memoirs, and creative nonfiction; and empirically based social science research or policy studies).


    Division of Public Programs Staff

    Division of Public Programs Staff
    400 Seventh Street, SW
    Washington, DC 20506
    (202) 606-8269

  • Eligibility Details

    Eligible applicants are U.S. nonprofit organization with IRS tax-exempt status, state and local governmental agencies, federally recognized Indian tribal governments, and institutions of higher education (public or private).

    Deadline Details

    Applications are to be submitted by August 10, 2022 and January 11, 2023. Applications are to be submitted via Similar deadlines are assumed annually.

    Award Details

    Approximately $2,735,000 is available to fund 20 awards per application deadline. Planning grants will be up to $75,000 for exceptionally ambitious and complex projects and have a project period of 24 months. Implementation grants will be $50,000 to $400,000 each for a project period of up to 48 months. Although cost-sharing is not required, this program is rarely able to support the full costs of projects approved for funding.

    Implementation applicants in Exhibitions and Historic Places may also request up to $100,000 above the ceiling amount for a Position in Public Humanities to create a two-year, full-time staff position (or, alternately, $50,000 for a one-year period of performance, and a one-year full-time staff position) to work on the proposed project.

    Applicants may request up to an additional $50,000 to create a full-time position for one year or up to $100,000 o create a full-time position for two years for Positions in Public Humanities.

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