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National Humanities Medal Nominations


The National Humanities Medal honors individuals and organizations whose work has deepened our nation’s understanding of and engagement with history, literature, languages, philosophy, and other humanities subjects. The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) established this annual prestigious award in 1997 as the successor to the Charles Frankel Prize in the Humanities, which the agency sponsored from 1989 to 1996.


NEH welcomes nominations for individuals and organizations whose activities, contributions, and achievements have significantly enriched the educational, intellectual, and cultural life of the nation. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • significant scholarship or writing that has expanded our knowledge and understanding of the humanities;
  • outstanding humanities education programs for students, teachers, or adult learners;
  • exemplary television documentaries and radio programs;
  • compelling interpretive exhibitions, reading and discussion programs, or other programs that enrich Americans’ understanding of the humanities;
  • programs that preserve and create access to the nation’s cultural heritage and intellectual legacy;
  • design and implementation of innovative technologies that enhance public, scholarly, or educational access to the humanities; and
  • sustained philanthropic efforts on behalf of humanities activities or organizations.

Individual nominees must be living U.S. citizens or permanent residents who have filed for naturalization. Nominated organizations must be established or incorporated in the United States. Self-nominations are not permitted. Please consult the list of previous National Humanities Medal and Charles Frankel Prize honorees before submitting a nomination.

Please note: For individuals or organizations involved in the creative or performing arts, please see the description of the National Medal of Arts on the National Endowment for the Arts Web site.

Selection Process

The president of the United States selects recipients of the National Humanities Medal in consultation with NEH. The National Endowment for the Humanities initiates and administers the nomination and selection process. Nominations are first considered by the National Council on the Humanities—NEH’s 26-member presidentially appointed and Senate-confirmed board of advisors— and then by the Chairman of NEH. The NEH Chairman forwards the agency’s recommendations to the president for consideration with candidates of the president’s own choosing. The White House typically announces the winners of the National Humanities Medals in the fall or winter. The principal criterion for selection is the significance of the nominee’s contributions to the humanities. Up to 12 awards are conferred each year.

How to Submit a Nomination

To nominate an individual or organization, please use the online nomination form. Please note that once a nomination is submitted, it will remain active for an additional two years.


NEH will accept nominations until close of business Friday, June 8, 2018.


National Humanities Medal Nomination Form


Nominee's Contributions to the Humanities

Please describe the nominee's exceptional contributions to the humanities and explain why the nominee merits consideration for a National Humanities Medal.

Nominator's Contact Information (optional)

Question about the submission of nominations can be sent to medalists[at]neh[dot]gov.