The founding of the National Endowment for the Humanities sprang
from a belief that the humanities are as critical as the sciences
to the nations success. Democracy demands wisdom and
vision in its citizens, declares the legislative act that
President Lyndon B. Johnson signed on September 29, 1965. The legislation
continues, It must therefore foster and support a form of
education, and access to the arts and the humanities, designed to
make people of all backgrounds and wherever located masters of their
technology and not its unthinking servants.
Since then, NEH has strived to provide leadership and funding
to the best in humanities research, preservation, digital development,
education, endowment-building, films, exhibitions, and public programming.
Through NEH funding, millions have been touched by the films created,
museum exhibits displayed, books written, historic places investigated,
The story of the first 50 years of the National Endowment for
the Humanities can be told through projects and people:
- NEH grants have resulted in 7,000 books16 won Pulitzer
Prizes and 20 won Bancroft Prizes.
- There are 56 local humanities councils that each year create
and support 56,000 humanities programs across all the states and
- Nearly 85,000 teachers have attended NEH summer programs,
transferring knowledge to approximately 11 million students.
- About 29,000 research fellowships have assisted humanities
- Grants have funded roughly 1,900 film and radio documentaries,
- Hundreds of exhibitions have toured the United States to
museums, libraries, and community venues large and small.
- Roughly 5,200 grants have helped preserve humanities collections
and resources for the future.
NEH looks forward to the next 50 years of our public investment
funding discovery and innovation and preserving Americas cultural
heritage. Learn more at neh.gov.
For its 50th anniversary, we present
NEH projects that have enriched and shaped American lives.
Explore and enjoy.