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Public Humanities Projects

Division of Public Programs

Receipt Deadline August 8, 2018 for Projects Beginning April 2019

Updated guidelines will be posted at least two months in advance of the deadline listed above.

In the meantime, please use the guidelines for the previous deadline, to get a sense of what is involved in assembling an application.

Brief Summary

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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 analyze significant themes in disciplines such as history, literature, ethics, and art history. 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:

  • Community Conversations:
    This format supports one- to two-year-long series of community-wide in-person public programs that are centered on one or more significant humanities resources, such as historic artifacts, artworks, literature, musical compositions, or films. These resources should be chosen to engage a diverse public audience. The programs must be anchored through perspectives drawn from humanities disciplines. Applicants must demonstrate prior experience conducting public dialogues.

  • Exhibitions:

    This format 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 four to six months), as well as travelling 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 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 programs 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: 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.

Program Statistics

In its first two competitions the Public Humanities Projects program received an average of 101 applications per competition. The program made an average of sixteen awards per competition, for a funding ratio of 16 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 publicpgms[at]neh[dot]gov.

Questions?

Contact the staff of NEH’s Division of Public Programs at 202-606-8269 or publicpgms[at]neh[dot]gov. Applicants who are deaf or hard of hearing can contact NEH via Federal Relay (TTY users) at 800-877-8399.

Guidelines Resources

Download Application Materials

Budget Resources

Program Resources

Sample Application Narratives