This grant program supports projects for general audiences that encourage active engagement with humanities ideas in creative and appealing ways. Many different formats are supported, including permanent and traveling exhibitions, book or film discussion programs, historic site or district interpretations, living history presentations, and other face-to-face programs in public venues. All projects must be grounded in humanities scholarship in disciplines such as history, art history, film studies, literature, religious studies, philosophy, or anthropology. Projects must also demonstrate an approach that is thoughtful, balanced, and analytical (rather than celebratory). The approach to the subject matter must go beyond the mere presentation of factual information to explore its larger significance and stimulate critical thinking. NEH is a national funding agency, so the projects we support must demonstrate the potential to attract a broad, general audience. We welcome humanities projects tailored to particular groups, such as families, youth (including K-12 students), teachers, seniors, at-risk communities, and veterans, but they should also strive to cultivate a more inclusive public audience.
Museums, Libraries, and Cultural Organizations grants provide support for museums, libraries, historic places, and other organizations that produce public programs in the humanities.
NEH encourages projects that explore humanities ideas through multiple formats. Proposed projects might 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.
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 audience evaluation.
In the last five competitions the Museums, Libraries, and Cultural Organizations: Planning Grants program received an average of 56 applications. The program made an average of six awards per competition, for a funding ratio of 11 percent.
The number of applications to an NEH grant program can vary widely from competition to competition, as can the funding ratio. Information about the average number of applications and awards in recent competitions is meant only to provide historical context for the current competition. Information on the number of applications and awards in individual competitions is available from firstname.lastname@example.org.
Contact the staff of NEH’s Division of Public Programs at 202-606-8269 or email@example.com. Hearing-impaired applicants can contact NEH via TDD at 1-866-372-2930.