The National Endowment for the Humanities ensures Americans in rural areas have access to high-quality humanities programming by supporting traveling exhibitions, community colleges, and rural institutions. And by supporting the documentation and preservation of rural histories, the NEH celebrates rural cultures.
The NEH ensures that world-class exhibitions are available across the United States. Traveling exhibition programs, funded by the NEH, help Americans in every state explore our shared past and engage with new ideas. One such program, NEH on the Road, reached 99,268 children and adults in 2016 alone; since 2003, 17 of its exhibitions have traveled to more than 300 venues across the United States. Fifty-three percent of the communities served have populations under 50,000.
The NEH ensures that students at rural community colleges have access to high-quality humanities education. In rural areas, community colleges often serve as community hubs while also supporting underserved students. Through grants to these colleges, the NEH ensures that faculty can maintain a high standard of teaching and that the colleges have the technological and cultural infrastructure to serve their communities.
The NEH provides critical support to rural institutions, making it possible for them to better serve their local communities. Humanities organizations in rural areas rarely have access to the corporate and philanthropic foundation support available in urban areas. The National Endowment for the Humanities helps fill these funding gaps, making it possible for rural areas to maintain up-to-date libraries, quality museum exhibitions, and functional community spaces.
The NEH celebrates rural culture. Since its founding, the NEH has supported rural-centered projects, including documentary films, oral history collections, and the preservation of historic sites. In places like Manhattan, Kansas, Whitesburg, Kentucky, and Rabun Gap, Georgia, NEH funding has helped establish long-standing cultural institutions that have made major impacts on their regions.