About

the Maine Humanities Council

Woman holding booksWhat are the humanities?

The humanities explore why we do what we do by delving into the events of history, social and political institutions, creative expressions (literature, art, music, film, digital media, to name just a few), and systems of belief. It’s all about examining human culture and asking questions about our motivations, ideas, and actions—there are typically no right or wrong answers in the humanities.

What is the Maine Humanities Council?

The Maine Humanities Council, Maine’s affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) since 1975, offers humanities programs and grants for all Mainers. There are 55 humanities councils, one in each state and the territories. The MHC doesn’t do this work alone—our partners (libraries, hospitals, school districts, adult education programs, correctional facilities, historical societies, and more) make it possible for us to offer quality programs and grants  around the state.

MHC staff

The MHC staff, 2016
Photo by Dan D’Ippolito

Mission Statement

The Maine Humanities Council, a statewide non-profit organization, uses the humanities— literature, history, philosophy, and culture — as a tool for positive change in Maine communities. Our programs and grants encourage critical thinking and conversations across social, economic, and cultural boundaries.

Vision

Maine communities transformed by the power and pleasure of ideas.

How is the MHC funded?

Foundations, corporations, and individuals are essential supporters of the MHC; less than one-third of our funding is provided by a base grant from the NEH. We also receive annual funding from the state of Maine, 100% of which is given out as grants to Maine nonprofits.