Florida Humanities History and Mission

Questions? Contact:

Nashid Madyun
Executive Director
[email protected]

About Florida Humanities

In the mid-20th Century, the United States was deeply concerned with technological advancement. America was fully engaged in its space race with the Soviet Union, and fears of nuclear annihilation grew with each passing year. Our emphasis on science, however, endangered the humanities. National leaders came to understand that without history, literature, ethics, and philosophy, America could obtain immense power without an understanding of how to wield it effectively.

On September 29, 1965, President Lyndon Johnson signed the National Foundation on the Arts and the Humanities Act into law. This law created the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). The purpose of the NEH is to advance the humanities and its respective disciplines into the public square.

The NEH soon realized the immense challenge of its mission. To respond more effectively to local needs, the NEH decided to establish a humanities council in every state, plus six U.S. territories. The Florida Humanities was established in 1973.

Since the organization’s founding, we have been dedicated to advancing NEH’s core mission in the state of Florida. In order to accomplish that mission — to provide humanities access to all Floridians, wherever located — we emphasize partnership opportunities with organizations and locations with limited access to the humanities.

To date, Florida Humanities has awarded over $20 million toward grants and public projects. A majority of these awards are in the form of “mini” grants, consisting of $5,000 or less. The most impactful projects are often those which are narrow in scope and respond to an immediate need. The public programs we support increase organizational capacity and bring Floridians together to develop a shared understanding of the past and a willingness to address future challenges.

What are the Humanities?

The Humanities are those academic disciplines that study human culture, using methods that are primarily critical and have a significant historical perspective. Through the humanities, we learn how to think creatively and critically, to reason, and to ask questions, coming to a broader understanding of our shared human experience.

The term ‘humanities’ includes the study and interpretation of: language, both modern and classical; linguistics; literature; history; jurisprudence; philosophy; archaeology; comparative religion; ethics; the history, criticism and theory of the arts; those aspects of the social sciences which have humanistic content and employ humanistic methods; and the study and application of the humanities to the human environment with particular attention to reflecting our diverse heritage, traditions, and history and to the relevance of the humanities to the current conditions of national life.

Our Partnerships

Florida Humanities works with local humanities organizations to accomplish its mission. This includes libraries, museums, and historical societies, among others. Many of these organizations rely on volunteers and limited funding to sustain their operations. Local humanities organizations are committed to their communities and committed to sharing a diverse range of stories, ideas, and experiences.

How We Operate

Our operations are largely divided into four categories:

Florida Humanities Community Project Grants

Grants, which are designed to solicit and respond to local needs and interests.

Cynthia Barnett and Jack Davis at the Our Florida, Our Water program in St. Petersburg, FL

Programs, which consist of standardized program offerings that are offered statewide.

Sample ads from FORUM Magazine

FORUM Magazine, our award-winning statewide publication dedicated to sharing news and information about Florida’s history, heritage and culture.

Florida Stories: Walk Fort Myers the Dunbar Community Walking Tour

Florida Stories, a robust collection of thirty-six digital walking tours of Florida towns.

Our Mission

To preserve, promote and share the history, literature, culture and personal stories that offer Floridians a better understanding of themselves, their communities and their state.

Our Mission

To preserve, promote and share the history, literature, culture and personal stories that offer Floridians a better understanding of themselves, their communities and their state.

Annual Reports

Experience the Humanities

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Florida Stories Walking Tours

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Museum on Main Street Exhibit

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Local Color event, Tallahassee, 2018

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