Around the Nation 

A Roundup of Activities Sponsored by the State Humanities Councils

Compiled by Angelica Aboulhosn and Alyson Foster

(May 31, 2024)

Below is a roundup of selected humanities programs and events happening across the country this spring supported by NEH’s partner network of state and jurisdictional humanities councils.

For more up-to-date information on council programs, please refer to humanities councils’ websites.

Alabama Around the Nation

Grammy-winning musicians and Alabama natives Brittany Howard and Jason Isbell will be honored as Alabama Humanities Fellows on Aug. 26 at the Von Braun Center in Huntsville.

On July 22 and 23, the council offers a teacher workshop for Alabama educators who want to incorporate National History Day into their classrooms for the 2024/25 school year. Experienced History Day teachers will join staff from National History Day and the Alabama Humanities Alliance for the training at the Alabama Department of Archives and History in Montgomery.

During Birmingham’s second annual FOOD+Culture Fest, the council presents a showcase of authors, poets, and artists from across the state. The Sept. 14 storytelling event explores the evolution of the South’s history and foodways, highlighting how culinary traditions have shaped Alabama culture.

California Humanities continues its collaboration with Zócalo Public Square on the “What Connects Us, Resilience Against Hate” series at a July program on historical and present-day efforts to combat hate speech and domestic extremism in the state’s Inland Empire region. The event takes place at the University of California, Riverside, arts center.

July marks the opening of an exhibition on Black history at the Sutter County Museum in Yuba City, which will draw on research and artifacts uncovered through the Yuba-Sutter Black History Project. The museum will offer free public programs related to the exhibition.

In Fresno, place-based interdisciplinary works by artists and designers will be on display as part of “Deep Maps,” an exhibition and research project that explores how maps have been used to tell narratives about landscapes in moments of ecological crisis. The show runs from Aug. 22 through Dec. 5.

The 24th Colorado Humanities High Plains Chautauqua Festival will take place Aug. 5–9 in Greeley at the Aims Community College Welcome Center. This year’s theme, “Game Changers,” features portrayals of historical figures such as Louis Armstrong, Rachel Carson, Albert Einstein, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Chief Justice Earl Warren.

On Sept. 5 and 6, the Southwest Humanities Roundtable presents Durango History Live! with portrayals of Meriwether Lewis and Walt Whitman, and in Grand Junction on Sept. 12 and 13, the Colorado West Chautauqua program presents por­trayals of César Chávez, Frederick Douglass, Frances Perkins, and Lucy Stone.

Through Aug. 2, the exhibition “The Making of an Icon: Walter Iooss and Sports Photography” will be on view at the Housatonic Museum of Art in Bridgeport. Artwork by the famed photographer Walter Iooss will be organized into six themes that explore the ways photographs capture heroic moments and tell authentic stories of athletic struggle and uplift.

The first student exhibition gallery installation is now on display at the Yale Peabody Museum. The show juxtaposes objects created outside the museum, which the Peabody has labeled “fake,” with objects from the museum to explore questions about authenticity and the valuation of artwork.

Connecticut residents are invited to embark on a journey with the New London Black Heritage Trail, spanning more than 300 years of Black history. Rooted in Pequot/Indigenous history, the trail weaves narratives of recognized Black figures, forgotten heroes, and members of the city’s Black community. Each site features a bronze marker with a QR code that provides context to a chapter of the state’s shared history.

Delaware Humanities’s exhibition “Injustice & Integration: 70 Years of Brown v. Board of Education” is on view through the fall at locations across the state.

New episodes of Delaware Humanities’s podcast A More Just Delaware launch monthly on second Fridays through August. Episodes can be found on the council’s website or on Soundcloud.

Savannah’s Coastal Heritage Society launches Lecture Series, “Communities Create History,” with a presentation by Savan­nah State University’s Deborah Johnson-Simon on Sept. 17, followed by a discus­sion with historian Rita Fuller-Yates on Sept. 24. Each event in the series focuses on the state’s unique history and explores connections with the past that continue to shape the present.

Through August, Illinois Humanities is accepting applications for its 2025/26 Illinois Road Scholars Speakers Bureau, which offers engaging and thought-provoking presentations on humanities topics by experts from around the state. The council’s general operating grants—which offer up to $10,000 to cultural organizations in Illinois—are also open for applications through Sept. 16.

The 8th annual Gwendolyn Brooks Youth Poetry Awards will be announced on Sept. 14 in Chicago. Student poets from kindergarten through 12th grade will perform their winning poems in a public ceremony.

Indiana - Around the Nation

The council’s award-winning Campfires program, which pairs nature and literature to spark conversations about Indiana’s future, will hold sessions on July 13 and 20, Aug. 17, and Sept. 14 at locations around the state.

On Sept. 7, the Starke County Public Li­brary in Knox hosts the Beyond the Book Festival, a one-day event showcasing more than 30 local, national, and inter­national authors. Writers will meet with festival attendees, sign books, give presenta­tions, and facilitate work-shops as part of the fes­tival’s programming.

Humanities Iowa, in collaboration with the University of Northern Iowa and Western Home Communities, will release the documen­tary Timeless Journeys in August. The film tells the story of the cross-generational storytelling project, exploring the collaboration between college students and senior participants and featuring the stories they created together.

The 13th annual Kansas Book Festival will be at Washburn University in Topeka on Sept. 28, featuring a lineup of 50 writers, including New York Times best-seller Sara Paretsky. The event includes outdoor performances, a book-art exhibition, food trucks, and exhibitor tents with publishers and authors.

From Sept. 19 to 21, the Santa Fe Trail Center in Larned hosts “Rendezvous 2024,” an intensive scholarly retreat designed for the general public. This year’s theme, “Road of Conquest: Another View of the Santa Fe Trail,” examines the Doctrine of Discovery and the conquest and destruction resulting from the Santa Fe Trail.

The 44th annual Natchitoches-NSU Folk Festival will be held on July 20 at the Northwestern State University of Louisiana campus. Festival highlights include three stages of folk music, the Louisiana State Fiddle Championship, traditional crafts, indoor and outdoor exhibits, Louisiana folk foods, and scholarly interviews exploring music.

Every summer, Read ME encourages resi­dents to read two books recommended by a Maine writer. For 2024, author Jaed Coffin has chosen Moon in Full by Mar­pheen Chann and The Road to Dalton by Shannon Bowring. The program includes online conversations with Chann (July 18) and Bowring (Aug. 15).

This summer, the council marks the publication of Clementinos: Voices from the Clemente Writing Project, an anthology of essays, personal histories, and poems written by students and faculty from the Clemente Course in the Humanities. Book launch parties will be held in June at various locations throughout the state.

In honor of Independence Day, com­munities across Massachusetts will take part in annual readings of Frederick Douglass’s speech “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?” The signature event will be on the Boston Commons and feature members of the public reading Douglass’s famous address.

Recipients of the 2024 Governor’s Awards in the Humanities will be rec­ognized on Sept. 26 in a ceremony at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston. This year’s honorees include Martín Espada, Jackie Jenkins- Scott, Bob Rivers, and Cheryll Toney Holley.

Vandalia’s Underground Railroad Days takes place on July 13 and 14. The annual festival, which highlights former Underground Railroad sites in the community, features open houses, displays, and music.

On Aug. 27, a walking tour will be held in downtown Lansing in honor of the sesquicentennial of the Lansing Woman’s Club. Led by state capitol historian Valerie Marvin, the tour focuses on important sites with connections to pioneering women in the city.

The Tulip City Walls Mural Festival will take place in Holland Sept. 6–8. The annual event, which encourages neigh­borhood beautification, has previously included live mural painting, refresh­ments, and community events.

A moderated conversation between Nandi Comer, Michigan’s poet laureate, and Beverly Matherne, the Upper Peninsula poet laureate, will be held in Marquette on Sept. 12. The writers will discuss the connection between poetry and empathy.

From Sept. 25 through 28, Lawrence Technological University hosts the con-ference “ALT+F4: Rebooting Community After GamerGate.” Academics, designers, and community participants will engage in discussions about game development and game studies and the consequences of the famous 2014 online harassment campaign.

This July, Minnesota Humanities Center in St. Paul will host its third annual Third Way Civics workshop, bringing together higher-education faculty and administrators from around the country to explore and create civic learning and skills-building opportunities for undergraduates. Funded by the Teagle and Lumina foundations, “3WC” trains faculty to teach complicated histories and help their students negotiate political and cultural differences.

The council will host the Children’s Book Festival on Aug. 17 at its center in St. Paul. The event will highlight Minnesota children’s book authors of color and Indigenous authors, and feature story times, musical performances, art activities, and the unveiling of a new Little Free Library.

On Sept. 21 in Mankato, the Minnesota Humanities Center’s monthly writers’ series will feature historian Christopher Lehman discussing his new book, It Took Courage: Eliza Winston’s Quest for Freedom, which describes the experiences of an enslaved woman from Mississippi who, in 1860, successfully petitioned for her freedom in court while traveling in Minnesota.

The Mississippi Humanities Council and the New Jersey Humanities Council are teaming up for the unveiling of a Mis­sissippi Freedom Trail Marker in New Jersey as part of a program commemo­rating the 60th anniversary of Freedom Summer and the Mississippi Freedom Democratic party challenge at the 1964 national convention. This collaborative ef­fort will take place on Aug. 19 and 20, fea­ture panel discussions led by civil rights veterans, and culminate in the unveiling of a Freedom Trail marker on the Atlantic City boardwalk.

Missouri Humanities will host virtual summer veterans writing workshops July 13, 20, and 27, and an in-person workshop in September in partnership with the University of Central Missouri. Facilitators will provide professional instruction to empower veterans, military personnel, and military-connected family members with the writing and narrative skills to tell their stories.

In August, Missouri Humanities hosts Think-N-Drink in Rolla. The discussion will merge a current social topic around innovation and discovery and present it though a humanities lens in a relaxed environment.

This summer the council will also be rolling out a special United We Stand: Connecting Through Culture magazine. This issue will explore topics such as the history of intolerance, extremism, and hate-based violence in Missouri while emphasizing civic engagement and social cohesion.

On Sept. 21, the Saint Louis Science Center’s James S. McDonnell Planetarium will host the Missouri Humanities Gala, featuring a performance from jazz musician Janet Evra and a celebration of the council’s 2024 Signature Series theme, Missouri Marvels: Humanities, Discovery, and Innovation.

Humanities Montana speakers will travel across the state this summer, of­fering free workshops and conversations on current affairs, untold histories, na­tive cultures, literature, and more. New offerings in the Montana Conversations program include Philip Page’s “Authen­tic Storytelling and Cowboy Music,” held at the Fort Benton Community Improvement Association, the Conrad Public Library, and the Dillon Montana Community Foundation.

The Montana Center for the Book announced two selections for the 2024 Great Reads from Great Places. The books, The Lost Journals of Sacajewea by Debra Magpie Earling and Bob Marshall: Defender of the Wilderness by Linda Elovitz Marshall, will be promoted in August during the National Book Festival in Washington, D.C.

Underserved families in communities throughout the state are reading and discussing books with the help of summer reading kits prepared by Humanities Nebraska. The kits contain award-winning children’s books in both English and Spanish, as well as a conversation guide, toys, and family activities. The council will also offer summer Prime Time storytelling sessions around the state through July 2 and fall sessions beginning in August.

Omaha’s El Museo Latino hosts the “Frida Kahlo and the Blue House” photography exhibition through July 31. A selection of more than 60 photographs of Frida’s sister Cristina Kahlo will be on display, along with vintage photographs taken by Diego Rivera, Antonio Kahlo, Florence Arquin, and others.

The virtual Nebraska Poets Read­ing Series continues with a reading by Hannah Wilkinson on Aug. 6 and former Nebraska State Poet Twyla Hansen on Sept. 3.

In Norfolk, Nebraska Chautauqua presents “Weaving a Nation” on Aug. 2 and 3 to commemorate the upcoming 250th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence. Participants will hear the rarely told stories of the founding through the eyes of Spanish colonial cowboy El Vaquero, Abigail Adams, and Big Elk, chief of the Omaha Tribe. Inter­active workshops on a variety of related histories and locally planned events will round out the festival.

Nebraska Warrior Writers workshops resume this fall, providing professional instruction to veterans, active-duty military, and their support partners. A schedule will be posted at NEWarrior­

The 29th Annual Governor’s Lecture in the Humanities will be held Sept. 24 at the Lied Center for Performing Arts in Lincoln. Presented in partnership with the E.N. Thompson Forum on World Issues, the talk will be offered free in person and online.

New Hampshire - Around the Nation

New Hampshire
A yearlong program explores the history of flax and linen production in the state and includes an exhibition and lectures at the Woodman Institute Museum in Dover.

New Mexico
On July 19, poet Allison Adelle Hedge Coke reads from her book Look at This Blue, a finalist for the Na­tional Book Award, CLMP Firecracker Award, and ASLE Creative Book Award, and winner of the Emory Elliott Book Award. Coke will take questions from the audience following the free reading at SOMOS Salon in Taos.

This August, the Children’s Hour presents Communica­tion Nation, a four-part radio series airing weekly. Each one-hour episode explores diverse communication forms, from languages and media to community-building, crafted to enlighten and engage young minds.

The Historic Santa Fe Foundation in­vites the public to tour their grounds and interpretive space, participate in hands-on and kid-friendly adobe demonstrations led by preservation projects and programs manager Jacob Sisneros, and explore El Zaguán’s garden with master gardener Ruthbeth Finerman to learn about main­taining a historical garden in a semi-arid environment.

On the first of each month, the council’s blog, Pasa Por Aquí, publishes columns by community-based writers from around the state. Recent entries discussed the food odes of poet Pablo Neruda, Billy the Kid stories, and the Bandana Brigade.

The Columbus Book Festival returns for a second year at the main branch of the Columbus Metropolitan Library on July 13 and 14. The event features a lineup of more than 200 national and local authors, including Hanif Abdurraqib, Porochista Khakpour, Nick Petrie, Veronica Roth, Kennedy Ryan, and Debbie Rigaud, au­thor of Ohio Humanities’s new children’s book, Step by Step: How the Lincoln School Marchers Blazed a Trail to Justice. The fes­tival includes dozens of literary retailers, community exhibitors, an entertainment lineup, local food trucks, and the popular Indie Author Alley pavilion and Friends of the Library Big Book Sale tent.

This year, Ohio Humanities launched the United We Stand Speakers Bureau, providing organizations across the state with free and low-cost public program­ming from scholars in history, religion, law, comparative studies, international relations, conflict and peace studies, and feminist and queer studies focusing on past and present civil rights issues.

The council-supported documentary short Reclaiming, which documents oral histories of sexual and reproductive wellness traditions rooted in Appalachian Ohio, received the 2024 Jack Spadaro Award for the best media presentation on Appalachia or its people from the Appalachian Studies Association. Directed by Clara Haizlett and Talcon Quinn, the half-hour film is available to watch free on the United Plant Savers YouTube channel.

Museum on Main Street continues its tour through Oklahoma this summer with “Voices and Votes: Democracy in America,” which travels to the Anadarko Community Library from July 20 to Aug. 31 and the Cheyenne-Roger Mills County Chamber of Commerce from Sept. 7 to Oct. 19.

The National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum presents “Cheyenne Ledger Art from Fort Marion,” an exhibition that explores the resilience and agency of Cheyenne art and runs from Sept. 13 to Jan. 5.

The Woody Guthrie Coalition celebrates the songwriting, activism, and legacy of the folk singer at Okemah’s 2024 WoodyFest, July 10–14.

The state’s So Much Together workshops continue this summer, celebrating imagi­native and collaborative work in Oregon and throughout the Pacific Northwest. Now in its third year, the program includes a workshop on music, memory, and migration at Shaw Historical Li­brary in Klamath Falls on July 13; and an exploration of the natural environment through touch, led by poet Amelia Díaz Ettinger, at Four Rivers Cultural Center in Ontario on July 20.

Rhode Island
Registration opens in August for the National Humanities Conference in Providence, Nov. 13–17. The annual conference, organized by the Federation of State Humanities Councils and the National Humanities Alliance, draws hundreds of attendees from across the country, providing a unique opportunity to highlight the dynamic public humanities ecosystem in the Ocean State. The connection between water and human communities, behavior, and decisions over millennia inspires the conference’s theme of “Making Waves, Navigating Currents of Change.”

South Carolina - Around the Nation

South Carolina
This August, the Stone Soup Storytelling Institute holds a presentation in Wood­ruff about the American Revolution. Part of a yearlong series, each event includes a storyteller on the American Revolution, a scholar-led discussion about the topic, and a moderated audience conversa­tion. The August session focuses on how modern life is disconnected from the land, foregrounding those who fought in the Revolution and their reliance on the land for farming, hunting, trading, and trapping.

The South Carolina New Play Festival presents a town-hall event in Greenville featuring a play about early twentieth-century Black musician Josh White, a Greenville native, as part of the 2024 festival scheduled for Aug. 8–11. The evening includes theatrical and musical performances, as well as a panel discus­sion about the role Greenville played in White’s life and success.

The Smithsonian exhibition “Spark! Places of Innovation” tours South Carolina through 2025. Drawing from text, images, and experiences gathered through an ambitious crowdsourcing initiative, the show examines the technical, social, cultural, and artistic innovations of rural communities. The exhibition travels to the Colleton Museum and Farmers Market in Walterboro through July 27, the Museum in Greenwood from Aug. 3 to Sept. 14, and the Marlboro County Museum in Bennettsville from Sept. 21 to Nov. 2.

South Dakota
On July 10, the council’s Speakers Bureau presents a program on unmarried women and the Homestead Act of 1862. Exploring the congressional debates leading up to the passage of the act, the session will focus on why Congress decided to give unmarried women the right to homestead and on women’s broader rights in the democratic process.

Trent Preszler, author of the 2024 One Book South Dakota title, Little and Often, closes his statewide tour with visits to Pierre, Gregory, Yankton, and Vermillion, where he meets with readers and discusses his work.

On September 18, a publication of the South Dakota Agricultural Experiment Station celebrates its 50th anniversary. The event includes a public talk and exhibition in Brookings, as well as the re-digitization of the original 1974 publication. The show features historic and contemporary photographs spanning nearly 150 years on land-use changes in the Black Hills. Events will be held in Woster Celebration Hall at the South Dakota State University Alumni Center.

The South Dakota Festival of Books returns Sept. 20–22 in Brookings. This year’s festival connects regional and national writers with readers for con­versations, presentations, panel discus­sions, book signings, and special events. Through workshops and talks with authors and publishing professionals, the festival provides support for aspiring writers to craft and share their stories. Presenters include best-selling novel­ist Lian Dolan, Olympic gold-medalist Billy Mills, memoirist Trent Preszler, and children’s author and illustrator Juana Medina. The Oscar Larson Performing Arts Center hosts this year’s festival, with additional events at other Brook­ings venues.

The exhibition “Soldaderas to Amazonas: Escaramuzas Charras” runs through Dec. 31 at the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame in Fort Worth.

In July, Humanities Texas hosts two screenings of the documentary film Seadrift in Dallas and Plano. The film, screened with support from NEH’s United We Stand initiative, chronicles violence against Vietnamese refugee communities along the Gulf Coast.

From July 9 to Aug. 3, Texas City Mu­seum hosts the exhibition “Citizens at Last: The Woman Suffrage Move­ment in Texas.”

Palo Alto College in San Antonio mounts the show “Vaquero: Genesis of a Texas Cowboy,” Sept. 13–Oct. 15.

On Aug. 23, the San Antonio Afri­can American Community Archive and Museum screens the docu­mentary My Nappy Roots: A Journey Through Black Hair-itage as part of its 2024 Black History Film Series.

The council hosts a series of book discussions at Brigham City Public Library this summer, including a talk on The Last of the Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper, led by Branden Little of Weber State University on July 18, and a discussion of The Scar­let Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, led by Weber State’s Stephen Francis on Aug. 1.

The Smithsonian exhibition “Crossroads: Change in Rural America” travels to Green River through Aug. 18 and Blanding from Aug. 24 to Oct. 12. The show looks at sustainability in rural communities, past and present.

Vermont - Around the Nation

During the next two years, Vermont Humanities partners with New Hamp­shire Humanities to bring the Smithson­ian traveling exhibition “Crossroads: Change in Rural America” to their states in 2024 and 2025. The show looks at rural communities across the country and the challenges that have affected them throughout the past century. Ver­mont hosts the first installation of the show at the St. Albans Museum from Aug. 23 to Oct. 6. The exhibition returns in 2025 at the Chandler Center for the Arts in Randolph and the Old Stone House Museum in Brownington.

Words in the Woods, a series of poetry reading events throughout the summer, celebrates the centennial of the Vermont State Parks. The lineup includes poets Elizabeth Powell, LN Bethea, Verandah Porche, Alison Prine, and Major Jackson, author of six books of poetry, includ­ing Leaving Saturn, which won the Cave Canem Poetry Prize for a first book of poems. Jackson has also been awarded a Pushcart Prize, a Whiting Writers’ Award, and a Pew Fellowship in the Arts.

This summer, Humanities Washington hosts Speakers Bureau talks across the state. Upcoming events include “Coming Home: How the Nez Perce Tribe Regained Their Cultural Heri­tage,” “Beyond Words: Storytelling through Indian Classical Dance,” “Stomp and Shout: The Untold Story of Northwest Rock & Roll,” and “Fast Girls: Trailblazing Women Olympians.”

Washington, D.C.
On June 6, writer Rhaina Cohen discusses the importance of friendship in the midst of the “loneliness epidemic.” Author of the best-selling book The Other Significant Others, Cohen explores in this talk at Busboys and Poets what can be learned from past and present approaches to friendship.

The council hosts an oral history seminar on July 23 at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library. The program, designed for educators, explores how instructors can use oral histories and related resources in their lesson plans.