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Public Humanities Projects

Grants to USA Nonprofits, Agencies, and IHEs
for Humanities Projects Serving Public Audiences

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National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) - Division of Public Programs

Deadline Date:

08/14/19 11:59 PM ET Receipt


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Grants to USA nonprofit organizations, government agencies, tribes, and IHEs for a range of humanities projects serving the general public. Funding is intended for in-person programs and projects that explore humanities disciplines, including literature, history, ethics, and art history. This program supports projects in three categories: Exhibitions, Interpretive Programs at Historic Places, and Humanities Discussions related to the 250th anniversary of the nation’s founding. The program includes two funding levels: Planning and Implementation. Applicants with ambitious permanent or traveling Exhibitions Implementation projects of exceptional significance and impact may apply for a Chairman’s Special Award.

Project Type:
- Exhibitions: This category supports the creation of permanent exhibitions (on view for at least three years) and single-site temporary exhibitions (open to the public for a minimum of two months), as well as travelling exhibitions that will be available to public audiences in at least two venues in the United States (including the originating location).
- Historic Places: This category supports long-term interpretive programs for historic sites, houses, neighborhoods, and regions that are intended to be presented to the public for at least three years. Such programs might include living history presentations, guided tours, exhibitions, and public programs.
- Humanities Discussions: The Humanities Discussions category supports series of at least six in-person public programs focused on/related to the 250th anniversary of the nation’s founding, and engaging audiences with humanities resources such as historic artifacts, artworks, or documents. These programs should reach a diverse public audience and should be anchored in perspectives presented by humanities experts as speakers, panelists, or discussion leaders, providing context and analysis of program themes. Projects may include, but are not limited to, symposiums, lecture series, reading and discussion programs, analytical discussions of museum collections or theater/musical performances, lifelong learning programs, or other methods of face-to-face audience engagement or informal education. The proposed series should occur over a period of three-months to two years.

In addition, NEH invites projects related to its Standing Together initiative, which encourages projects related to war and military service. For additional information, see:

Planning awards support activities such as:
- Refining the content, format, and interpretive approach of a humanities project
- Developing the project’s preliminary design
- Testing project components
- Conducting an evaluation of the project’s likely impact

Implementation grants supports projects which are in the final stages of preparation to “go live” before the public. Activities may include final scholarly research and consultation, design, production, and installation of a project for presentation to the public.

Positions in Public Humanities are intended to invigorate the interpretation of the humanities in a wide variety of cultural organizations. To that end, organizations applying for an Implementation award, are invited to request additional funds for a position in public humanities. Planning applicants are not eligible to apply.

For a list of support activities, see:

For details on NEH areas of interest,see:

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 177745

Number of Grants:

Expected Number of Awards: 16; NEH typically awards no more than one Chairman’s Special Award per year.

Estimated Size of Grant:

Planning: Planning awards are typically up to $40,000. Awards up to $75,000 are available for the planning of exceptionally ambitious and complex permanent or traveling exhibitions with the potential to reach very wide audiences.

Implementation: Implementation awards range from $50,000 to $400,000. The maximum Implementation award for a temporary single-site exhibition is $100,000. The maximum Implementation award for permanent exhibitions and historic site/district interpretations is $400,000.

The maximum award for Humanities Discussions is $250,000.

If you are applying for the Implementation funding level, you may request an additional $60,000 to create a two-year staff position (or $30,000 for a one-year period of performance, and a one-year staff position) within your institution to work on the proposed project. This increases the maximum total request by $30,000 for a one-year period of performance and $60,000 for a two-year position during a two- to three-year period of performance. Applicants that wish to increase annual compensation above $30,000 for these positions must use their own funds to do so.

Applicants with ambitious permanent or traveling Exhibitions Implementation projects of exceptional significance and impact may apply for a Chairman’s Special Award of up to $1 million

Term of Contract:

Funding is for projects beginning June 1, 2020.

Planning Grants have a performance period of twelve months.

Implementation Grants have a period of performance from 12 to 36 months.

Implementation awards for permanent exhibitions and historic site/district interpretations are for projects that must be on view for at least three years.

Humanities Discussion series should occur over a period of three months to two years, and must include at least six public programs during a period of performance from 12 to 36 months.


  • City or township governments
  • County governments
  • Native American tribal governments (Federally recognized)
  • Nonprofits having a 501(c)(3) status with the IRS, other than institutions of higher education
  • Private institutions of higher education
  • Public and State controlled institutions of higher education
  • See RFP and/or Grant Guidelines for full eligibility
  • Special district governments
  • State governments

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

U.S. nonprofit organizations with 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status, state and local governmental agencies, federally recognized Native American tribal governments, and institutions of higher education are eligible to apply.

Small and mid-sized organizations are especially encouraged to apply. The Fund likewise welcomes humanities projects tailored to particular groups, such as families, youth (including K-12 students in informal educational settings), underserved communities, and veterans.

Applicants are advised to consider developing partnerships with other institutions, particularly organizations such as cultural alliances, broadcast media stations, cultural heritage centers, state humanities councils, veterans’ centers, and libraries.

Positions in Public Humanities: These additional funds support full-time employment opportunities for recent graduates with an MA or PhD in the humanities. For a list of eligibility requirements, see:

Individuals and foreign and for-profit entities are not eligible to apply.

For a list of ineligible activities see:

Pre-Application Information:

Applications must be received and validated by on or before are due August 14, 2019. will date- and time-stamp your application after it is fully uploaded.

The Division of Public Programs encourages applicants to work with NEH program officers. You can submit draft narratives or contact NEH with questions. Drafts, which are optional, must be submitted by July 3, so that staff will have adequate time to respond. A response cannot be guaranteed if drafts arrive after this date.

The expected notification date is March 31, 2020.

- Before the August 14, 2019 deadline: Contact Division of Public Programs program
officers with questions and for advice (optional)
- July 3, 2019: Applicants that have not registered in the System for Award Management (SAM) and should begin the process no later than this date
- July 3, 2019: Submit draft application by this date (optional)
- July 31, 2019: Applicants that have registered in SAM and should verify their registrations by this date
- August 14, 2019: Application must be submitted through and validated by by 11:59 PM Eastern Time on this date
- October-November 2019: Peer review panels take place
- March 2020: Meeting of the National Council on the Humanities, followed by funding
- April 2020: Applicants are notified of the funding decisions
- May 2020: Institutional grants administrators and project directors of successful applications receive award documents by e-mail from the NEH Office of Grant Management
- June 2020: Successful applicants may begin work on their projects

To apply through, the applicant organization must first have or obtain a valid Dun and Bradstreet Data Universal Numbering System number, and register (or have an active registration) in the System for Award Management.
- SAM:
- DUNS Requirements:

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For a list of application documents, see the Package tab (press Preview) on the page above.

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Register on

Send a draft proposal to:

Division of Public Programs
National Endowment for the Humanities
400 Seventh Street, SW
Washington, DC 20506

Division of Public Programs Team

Applicants who are deaf or hard of hearing can contact NEH via Federal Relay (TTY users) at 800-877-8399

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Funding or Pin Number:


URL for Full Text (RFP):

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