Public Humanities Projects

Division of Public Programs

Grant Snapshot

Maximum award amount

Planning grants (up to $75,000)
Implementation grants (up to $1,000,000)

Open to

Organizations

Expected output

Reinterpretation Plans;
Exhibition

Period of performance

Twelve months

Application available

Application due

Project start date

ALERT from SAM.gov: The first time you log in to SAM.gov after June 29, 2018, you’ll be asked to create a login.gov user account (if you don’t already have one). Going forward, you will use your login.gov username and password every time you log in to SAM.gov. Your current SAM.gov username and password will no longer work.  If you are renewing or registering a new entity in SAM.gov, you must mail an original, signed notarized letter stating that you are the authorized Entity Administrator for the entity associated with the DUNS number. Read the FAQs to learn more about these process changes. Currently SAM.gov recommends that registrations and renewals submit their notarized letters at least 45 days in advance of expiration dates or anticipated needs. Please note that you will be unable to access Grants.gov Workspace or fillable application forms until your SAM.gov registration is active.

The Public Humanities Projects program supports projects that bring the ideas and insights of the humanities to life for general audiences through in-person programming. 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 program supports a variety of forms of audience engagement. Applications should follow the parameters set out below for one of the following three categories:

  • Community Conversations:

This category supports three-month-long to two-year-long series of at least six 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. Projects may include, but are not limited to, community forums, panel symposiums, lecture series, reading and discussion programs, after-school programs, summer camps, analytical discussions on theater or musical performances, life-long learning programs, or other methods of face-to-face audience engagement or informal education. Applicants proposing programs that include public forums or question-and-answer sessions must demonstrate prior experience conducting public dialogues.

  • Exhibitions:

    This 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 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 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 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.

Review your application package

As soon as you know you're ready to apply for this grant, make sure you register for a SAM number/DUNS number, and for a grants.gov account as this is vital to the grants process. If you already have registered for these items, make sure they are up to date.

Begin by reading the full grant guidelines and studying the application. The files are linked below. You want to ensure you understand all the expectations and restrictions for projects delivered under this grant and are prepared to write the most effective application. 

Download Application Materials

Public Humanities Projects Guidelines (PDF)

Public Humanities Projects Guidelines (DOC)

Grants.gov Application Package

Budget Resources

Budget Instructions, September 2018 (PDF)

Sample Budget, September 2018 (PDF)

Budget Form, September 2018 (MS Excel)

Program Resources

Public Humanities Projects Frequently Asked Questions, August 2018 (PDF)

List of recent Community Conversations grants

List of recent Exhibitions: Planning grants

List of recent Exhibitions: Implementation grants

List of recent Historic Places: Planning grants

List of recent Historic Places: Implementation grants

DUNS Number Requirement

Sample Application Narratives

Community Conversations Project: City Lore, Becoming American

Exhibitions Planning Project: American Precision Museum, Interpretive Plan

Exhibitions Planning Project: National Museum of American Jewish History, Leonard Bernstein

Exhibitions Planning Project: University of California Los Angeles,The Art of African Blacksmiths

Exhibitions Implementation Project: Heard Museum, The American Indian Boarding School Experience

Exhibitions Implementation Project: Oakland Museum, Gallery of California History

Historic Places Planning Project: Lower East Side Tenement Museum, Rear Yard Exhibit

Historic Places Planning Project: National Society of Colonial Dames, Reinterpreting Dumbarton House

    Complete your application package

    Be sure to follow the instructions outlined in the guidelines and in the grants.gov instructions. 

    Submit your application package on Grants.gov

    You will receive a confirmation from grants.gov when you've successfully submitted your application. 

    Verify you have received email messages from Grants.gov

    After you submit your application, Grants.gov will send you up to five e-mail messages confirming receipt of your application. These messages represent different stages in the application acceptance process. You should verify that you have received all confirmation messages. Please note that email filters may send these messages to your spam or junk folder.

    Program Statistics

    This grant has been awarded for
    3
    years
    NEH received an average of
    83
    applications
    per competition
    This grant has a
    16%
    funding ratio
    NEH made an average of
    13
    Awards
    per competition