From groundbreaking documentaries, podcasts, and exhibitions to community conversations and literacy programs, the National Endowment for the Humanities provides humanities access for all Americans. Much of this access is enabled through long-term partnerships with prominent American cultural institutions. Over the past forty years, NEH support to organizations like the Gilder Lehrman Center for American History, the American Library Association, the Mid-America Arts Alliance, and local PBS affiliates has fostered an ecosystem of humanities organizations that ensure that the best of humanities research and programming is available to Americans in small rural towns and big cities alike.
The NEH ensures that the best of NEH-funded exhibitions are shown throughout the nation. A partnership with the Mid-America Arts Alliance, NEH on the Road repackages groundbreaking exhibitions like Jacob Riis: Revealing “How the Other Half Lives,” developed by the Museum of the City of New York; The Power of Children, developed by the Indianapolis Children’s Museum; and Frida Kahlo: Art, Garden, Life, developed by the New York Botanical Garden. Once downsized for smaller exhibit spaces, these exhibitions travel the nation, showing in new communities every four months. To date, NEH on the Road exhibitions have traveled to 285 predominantly-rural communities in the United States, reaching more than 2 million adults and children.
The NEH brings facilitated conversations, lectures, panels, and other programs to communities throughout the United States. With an NEH grant for Revisiting the Founding Era, the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History is bringing discussion groups, lectures, and resources to more than 100 rural libraries. And NEH funding helped WETA promote public programming related to The Vietnam War throughout the United States. Eighty-one programming grants to local stations from Conway, Arkansas, to Anchorage, Alaska, supported public screenings, panels, lectures, oral history collecting, exhibitions, and writing and art projects. Seventy-five percent of respondents to a participant survey, collected from multiple programs, indicated that they “increased their knowledge of the Vietnam War.”
The NEH supports programs for rural and at-risk youth, ensuring that they have the tools to succeed in school and in life. NEH funding has helped the American Library Association support programs at more than 1,800 libraries over the past six years. One of these programs, Great Stories Club, brings reading and discussion programs to at-risk youth throughout the country, including youth in juvenile detention centers. And with funding from the NEH, the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities brings PRIME TIME Family Reading programs to children and their guardians in rural Louisiana and in Kentucky, Nebraska, Georgia, and Michigan. Since it was founded, PRIME TIME programs have been hosted in 40 states, serving more than 40,000 families in communities with high-needs schools.
Americans have visited NEH on the Road Exhibitions.
Of respondents to a survey on WETA’s Vietnam War programming indicated they had learned something about the war.
Families have been served by PRIME TIME Family Reading programs.
The NEH supports the production of world-class documentaries, ensuring access to new perspectives on our history and culture. NEH funding ensures that Americans have access to high-quality educational television and film, regardless of their annual incomes. These documentaries are screened on local PBS stations and used in school classrooms throughout the country—often alongside NEH-supported curricula. Many are available on streaming devices, including through Kanopy, which provides free access to library cardholders. And of the 48 NEH-funded documentary films completed between 2012 and 2018, 47 received nationwide distribution. Thirty-six were broadcast on the national PBS schedule, while an additional eight were distributed to local PBS stations through services like PBS Plus and American Public Television. NEH funded films include Ken Burns’s The Civil War and The Vietnam War; the Created Equal film series; Hillbilly; and Shakespeare Uncovered.