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Public Humanities Projects

Grants to USA Nonprofits, Agencies, and IHEs
for Humanities Programs

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

Deadline Date:

01/08/20 11:59 PM ET Submitted and Validated by


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Grants to USA nonprofit organizations, government agencies, tribes, and institutions of higher education for humanities programs that serve the general public. Funding is intended to support in-person projects that explore humanities themes in disciplines such as literature, history, ethics, and art history. Funded projects may be in the categories of Historic Places, Exhibitions, or Humanities Discussions.

The Public Humanities Projects program supports projects that bring the ideas and insights of the humanities to life for general audiences. Projects must engage humanities scholarship to analyze significant themes. 

The program supports projects in three categories: 

  • Exhibitions: This category supports the creation of permanent exhibitions and single-site temporary exhibitions, as well as traveling 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. 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 related to “A More Perfect Union”: NEH Special Initiative Advancing Civic Education and Commemorating the Nation’s 250th Anniversary, 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. For more details about Humanities Discussions, see

The Public Humanities Projects program includes two funding levels: Planning and Implementation.

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

For more details, including funding available for exceptionally ambitious and complex exhibitions, see

Implementation grants support 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. Additional opportunities for Implementation applicants:

  • Positions in Public Humanities: these grants 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. For more details, see
  • Chairman’s Special Awards: Applicants with ambitious Implementation projects of exceptional significance and impact may apply for a Chairman’s Special Award.  These projects must show the promise of addressing important humanities ideas in new ways and must be likely to reach very large national audiences. Successful proposals typically feature collaboration between multiple partners and a broad combination of diverse formats.

For examples of eligible activities, see:

To be competitive for funding, locally focused projects should address topics that are of regional or national relevance by drawing connections to broad themes or historical questions.

For details on NEH areas of interest, see:

In addition, NEH invites projects related to its Standing Together initiative, which encourages projects related to war and military service. 

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 177745

Number of Grants:

Estimated Number and Type of Award(s): 16 grants; 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 Implementation funding level in Exhibitions and Historic Places, you may request an additional $100,000 to create a two-year staff full-time position (or $50,000 for a one-year period of performance, and a one-year full-time staff position) within your institution to work on the proposed project. This increases the maximum total request by $50,000 for a one-year period of performance and $100,000 for a two- year position during a two-to-four-year period of performance.

The Chairman’s Special Award is for up to $1 million.

Term of Contract:

This funding opportunity is for projects beginning September 1, 2020.

The period of performance for Planning proposals is up to 24 months. The period of performance for Implementation proposals is up to 48 months.

Implementation awards for permanent exhibitions and Historic Places projects must be on view for at least three years. Single-site temporary exhibitions must be open to the public for a minimum of two months.

Humanities Discussion series should occur over a period of three months to two years and must include at least six in-person public programs during the period of performance.


  • 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 accredited public and 501(c)(3) institutions of higher education.

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.

Projects that don’t address issues of concern to wider regional or national audiences might consider local
sources of funding, such as their state humanities councils.

For a list of ineligible activities see: and

Pre-Application Information:

Before the January 8, 2020 deadline: Contact Division of Public Programs program officers (at 202-606-8269 or with questions and for advice (optional)
November 29, 2019: Submit draft application by this date (optional)
December 2, 2019: Applicants that have not registered in the System for Award Management (SAM) and should begin the process no later than this date
December 20, 2019: Applicants that have registered in SAM and should verify their registrations by this date
January 8, 2020: Application must be submitted through and validated by by 11:59 PM Eastern Time on this date
March-May 2020: Peer review panels take place
July 2020: Meeting of the National Council on the Humanities, followed by funding decisions
August 2020: Applicants are notified of the funding decisions
August 2020: Institutional grants administrators and project directors of successful applications receive award documents by e-mail from the NEH Office of Grant Management

The Division of Public Programs accepts applications for Public Humanities Projects at two deadlines a year: in January and August.

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. Application Portal:

Send a draft proposal to:

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


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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