Funding Alert! Public Humanities Projects for Planning and Implementation

National Endowment for the Humanities – Public Humanities Projects

Attention humanities professionals! The National Endowment for Humanities (NEH) recently opened applications for the Public Humanities Projects program to bring ideas and insights of the humanities to life for general audiences. The NEH seeks projects that engage humanities scholarship to analyze significant themes in history, literature, ethics, and art history. Projects may include in-person, hybrid, or virtual programming. Applications for this program are due January 11, 2023.

Who is eligible to apply?

This opportunity is for institutions of higher education (IHEs), nonprofits with tax-exempt status, state or local government agencies, and federally recognized Native American Tribal governments. Organizations may submit multiple applications for separate and distinct projects, but not for the same project at the same deadline. Planning grants are not a precursor for implementation grants.

What are the program details?

Public Humanities Projects support projects in three program categories and at two funding levels.

Program categories:

  1. Exhibitions category supports the creation of permanent, single-site temporary, and traveling exhibitions. Applicants must provide at least twenty hours of free admission per month to NEH-supported exhibitions during the period of performance.
  2. Historic Places includes long-term interpretive programs for historic sites, houses, neighborhoods, and regions that are intended to be open for at least three years. Examples include living history presentations, guided tours, exhibitions, and public programs.
  3. Humanities Discussions supports series of public programs related to the organization’s focus and resources that engage diverse public audiences with historic artifacts, artwork, literature, or archival documents. Discussion programs for local audiences are encouraged to connect to broader national themes. Projects may include symposiums, lecture series, reading and discussion programs, analytical discussions of museum collections, and more.

Funding levels:

  1. Planning projects are available only to Exhibitions and Historic Places applicants and support projects that have completed the preliminary work of identification of analytical themes and interpretive models needed during the planning period. Awards are typically up to $40,000 with a period of performance up to 24 months. Activites may include refining project content, format, and approach; meetings and consultation with scholars and designers; developing preliminary design; testing components; evaluating impact; curatorial research travel and exhibition loans. Exceptionally ambitious and complex permanent or traveling exhibitions are eligible for up to $75,000 if they collaborate with multiple institutional partners, are instilled at a large number of venues, or combine a wide range of formats such as digital resources, symposia, neighborhood tours, publications, and broadcast media.
  2. Implementation grants support projects in the final stages of preparation. Activities may include final scholarly research and consultation, design, production, and installation. Eligible for $50,000 to $400,000, the period of performance is 12 to 48 months. Humanities Discussion projects average awards are $250,000, with up to $400,000 for outstanding projects that demonstrate an extensive audience reach with a regional or national scope. A more detailed breakdown of implementation awards per program category can be found in the notice of funding opportunity (NOFO) with guidance on levels of funding in this NEH blog post.

Projects applying by January 11, 2023, will begin projects as early as September 1, 2023. With an estimated funding pool of $ $2,735,000, NEH anticipates funding approximately 20 total awards amounts based on the project category in which the applicant is applying (described above).

What makes a project a good fit?

Eligible projects should explore broad, regional or national humanities themes through multiple formats, such as a public museum exhibit paired with a mobile app. The NEH encourages applicants to develop partnerships with organizations such as cultural alliances, broadcast media stations, cultural heritage centers, state humanities councils, veterans’ centers, and libraries; to include humanities scholars throughout all phases of the project; and to highlight the contributions of underrepresented populations.

Public Humanities Projects should be grounded in sound scholarship in the humanities disciplines. They should engage public audiences with content and ideas that encourage dialogue and a public understanding of important themes.

What if I am ready to apply? To move your project forward, take the following action steps as soon as possible:

  • Review the full NOFO for additional details and allowable activities for each project type.
  • Check out NEH program resources such as a prerecorded applicant webinar, frequently asked questions, and sample narratives from previous applicants.
  • Confirm your institution’s eligibility by reviewing the legislation and its definitions here.
  • Make sure your System for Award Management (SAM) registration is active and be sure you have a profile. You can check your SAM status here:

What if I need help with this application?

Contact Assel Grant Services (AGS) today! Our team can help with all aspects of preparing the application and managing the grant if you are awarded. If you would like to discuss this possibility, please contact AGS as soon as possible. Julie Assel, GPC, President/CEO, will be happy to talk with you about this opportunity and provide you with a quote for grant services.

What if I am not ready to apply this year?

Start preparing for next year! NEH also has a variety of other programs and funding opportunities available that might be a good fit. The office’s website has ample resources, webinars, and descriptions of available or upcoming opportunities.

How do I learn more about federal grant proposal writing, so my application is more likely to be successful?

AGS is excited to offer a Federal Grants Training Series in 2022! The series is designed to support leaders at institutions of higher education before and during the application process. AGS also offers several on demand webinars on a variety of topics to support the full grant cycle. Check out our website to learn more and sign up for our training newsletter.

AGS blogs, funding alerts, and trainings are aligned with the Grant Professional Certification Institute’s Competencies and Skills

Competency #1: Knowledge of how to research, identify, and match funding resources to meet specific needs

Skill 1.2: Identify major trends in public funding and public policy

Skill 1.6: Identify fundable programs and projects for specific organization

Skill 1.7: Determine best matches between funders and specific programs