Skip to main content

News Releases

Speakers Bureau introduces new topics now available for booking throughout the state
Speakers Bureau introduces new topics now available for booking throughout the state

We are pleased to announce several new additions to our Speakers Bureau. 

One of the new presentations now available will be of particular interest for public libraries, schools, clubs, or other not-for-profit organizations planning programming for Black History Month in February: Descendents of Dewitty are now presenting “The Audacious, NE Saga,” re-enacting stories of the struggles and triumphs of former slaves who settled in rural Nebraska and went on to create the village of Dewitty - later called Audacious. It was the largest and longest-lasting African-American Settlement in the state. 

Nine other topics also have been added to the catalog. 

“Aprons, Skirts, Hats & Flirts: Women - Their Range of Status During the Western Movement” give voice to obscure women and their vital, unique roles during the nation’s westward expansion. Sisters Marci Broyhill and Teresa Kay Orr incorporate original narrative poetry, music, and props in an educational and entertaining presentation. 

“The Better Half: Nebraska’s Hidden Treasures” is presented by Omaha World-Herald columnists Sarah Baker Hansen and Matthew Hansen, who are new to the bureau. Focusing on their statewide travels, the Hansens speak about rediscovering their own home state and encourage other Nebraskans to do the same.

“The Hussites” will be of particular interest to those with Czech ancestry as well as other history buffs. New speaker Stephen Lahey will discuss the Hussites’ 15th-century domination in Europe, which began with the first revolution in history, and continues to define Czech identity. 

“Marion Marsh Brown: A Continuing Legacy in Nebraska Writing” focuses on the work of this pioneering author. Veteran speaker Dan Holtz explores her five-decade writing career that earned her recognition by the Nebraska Council of Teachers of English as one of Nebraska’s 10 most important 1950s writers.

“Nebraskan at Heart: Joslyn’s Eugene Kingman and The New York Times” is presented by newcomer Maureen Waldron. With many images, she covers former Joslyn Art Museum director Eugene Kingman’s life and success, starting as an artist from New England who created a mural for the main lobby of The Times. 

In “The Nebraska Unicameral At Eighty: Does George Norris’s Vision Still Live?” author Ron Jensen, another new speaker, discusses George Norris’s vision of a “model state legislature” after 80 years as the nation’s only unicameral state legislature. Jensen includes interviews with living speakers of the legislature, Norris’s fundamentals, and analysis. 

“No Time on My Hands: The Story of Grace Snyder” is a new topic by one of the most  frequently sought speakers in the bureau, Charlotte M. Endorf, with her
husband, Kevin. As a child in Nebraska, Grace Snyder dreamed three dreams, all of which seemed impossible. The Endorfs share her remarkable story, along with a display that took countless hours of research to produce.

“Patriotic Panoramas” is a snapshot of our country’s history that paints significant American moments in song. Presented by bureau veteran Donna Gunn, audiences can sing along as they imagine floating in the harbor with Frances Scott Key during the bombing of Fort McHenry, experience Julia Ward Howe’s angst on the eve of a Civil War battle, or climb to the top of Pike’s Peak with Katherine Lee Bates. 

“World War I and the Treaty of Versailles: How the Treaty that Ended the ‘War to End All Wars’ Helped Trigger World War II” is an enlightening look at the immediate effects of the Treaty of Versailles. While the future looked peaceful, and humanity was filled with hope, this vision was an illusion that could not last. History professor and bureau member Thomas Berg explains why.

Educational and entertaining, these programs give audiences the opportunity to observe, preserve, and pass down the rich culture and heritage of our nation. The HN Speakers Bureau sparks learning and discussion in schools, libraries, senior centers, and other venues. Historians, scholars and other experts offer more than 250 different humanities programs. 

Any interested non-profit organization is encouraged to book a speaker here. Speakers must be booked a minimum of 30 days in advance of the program date.

Pamela Hilton Snow named 2018 Sower Award recipient
Pamela Hilton Snow named 2018 Sower Award recipient

Humanities Nebraska announced that Pamela Hilton Snow of Ashland will receive the 2018 Sower Award in the Humanities. Ms. Snow will be honored on Tuesday, October 9 at a benefit reception and dinner held at Lincoln’s Embassy Suites hotel. The 23rd
Annual Governor’s Lecture in the Humanities featuring Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jon Meacham will follow at the Lied Center for Performing Arts.

The Sower Award is presented annually to an individual who has made “a significant contribution to public understanding of the humanities in Nebraska.” This contribution
can be through any combination of time, expertise, or resources, and the selection committee examines how the nominee has helped inspire and enrich personal and public
life in our state through the humanities.

Born and raised in Lincoln, Pamela Hilton Snow is known for her passion and commitment
to the humanities in Nebraska. In his nomination letter, Robert Nefsky referred to Ms. Snow as “among those Nebraskans whose contributions to the humanities have made a real difference.”

A founding board member (1999-2006) and former executive director (2006-2014) of the Nebraska Cultural Endowment, Ms. Snow’s long history of serving the humanities
includes being a board member (1996-2006) and chair (1999-2000) of Nebraska
Humanities Council, and board member (1999-2006) of the Nebraska Foundation for the Humanities. She was also instrumental in bringing the Great Plains Chautauqua to Grand Island, planning and consulting for the Nebraska Book Festival, and recruiting
Humanities Nebraska board members.

Ms. Snow has served on several other boards and is a current board member of the Cooper Foundation. She travelled to other state humanities councils as a National
Endowment for the Humanities site visitor and consultant, and helped strengthen many other Nebraska institutions.

Edythe Manza, retired director of the National Endowment for the Humanities’ (NEH) Federal-State Partnership Division, wrote from Maryland, “During my time at NEH, I worked with dozens of site visitors. Pamela Hilton Snow was one of the best...[She]
understands the importance of collaboration. She represented NEH in the highest professional way while also bringing distinction to Nebraska, its cultural institutions generally, and Humanities Nebraska in particular.”

According to Kim West Dinsdale, Ms. Snow is known for her talent to create successful
teams through her incredible leadership skills. “Her name is synonymous with the
Humanities,” Dinsdale wrote. “It is out of respect for Pam and all that she has done that people are eager to say, ‘Yes!’”

Ms. Snow is credited for her leadership, organization, philanthropy, knowledge and love for the arts and humanities. She is also a talented writer and photographer. Her hard work in Nebraska, specifically the Grand Island area, led to the creation and enhancement of many institutions of the humanities that have benefitted countless communities.

The 2018 Governor’s Lecture in the Humanities is presented by Humanities Nebraska, along with co-sponsors E.N. Thompson Forum on World Issues and the University of Nebraska. The free public lecture by Jon Meacham is titled, “Tumult, Tragedy and Hope: America in 1968 from a Half Century’s Perspective.”

The 7:30 p.m. lecture is free and open to the public. Table sponsorships and tickets for the pre-lecture benefit reception and dinner are now available for purchase.

Pulitzer Prize winner Jon Meacham to deliver 23rd annual Governor’s Lecture
Pulitzer Prize winner Jon Meacham to deliver 23rd annual Governor’s Lecture

Pulitzer Prize-winning presidential biographer Jon Meacham will deliver the 23rd annual Governor’s Lecture in the Humanities on Tuesday, October 9, 2018 at the Lied Center for Performing Arts in Lincoln. The lecture is presented by Humanities Nebraska (HN) with
co-sponsors E.N. Thompson Forum on World Issues and the University of Nebraska.

One of America’s most prominent public intellectuals, Jon Meacham is a regular contributor to TIME and The New York Times Book Review. From 1998 to 2006, Meacham served as Newsweek magazine’s managing editor; he was editor 2006 to 2010. His national best-seller, “American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House,” won the Pulitzer Prize in 2009. He is also the author of best-sellers “Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power” and “Destiny and Power: The American Odyssey of George Herbert Walker Bush.” Meacham’s new book, “The Soul of America: The Battle for our Better Angels,” will be released May 8.

Meacham’s lecture marks the 50th anniversary of a watershed year in American life. The year 1968 was full of historic events, from the assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert Kennedy to the advances made by antiwar, civil-rights, and feminist forces. Meacham will explain how the legacies and lessons of that time still resonate in the world today.

Co-chaired by HN board members Shannon Harner and Matt Schaefer, the free public lecture will be preceded by a benefit reception and dinner which raises private support for HN’s statewide programming.

Table sponsorships for the benefit dinner prior to the free lecture will be available soon, with invitations to be mailed this summer.

Humanities Nebraska adds six new board members

Humanities Nebraska (HN) has selected six new members to its Council and Foundation boards of directors. The Nebraska Humanities Council board elected three new members, as did the Nebraska Foundation for the Humanities.

New members elected to the Council are:

Chris Cornelius of Lincoln is a faculty member in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and Editor of the Journal of Materials Science. His combined research experience spans over 15 years as a faculty member, a senior administrator in academia, a national laboratory staff scientist, and an industrial engineer. He uses his unique perspectives to contribute to outreach efforts to promote student and faculty diversity to enrich the research, scholarship, and learning domains.

Barb Schlothauer of Gering is a graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, with a double major in speech pathology and elementary education. She worked as a speech therapist in the Rockford, IL public schools and the Lake County Special Education District in Illinois, and was the Director of Development for the University of Nebraska Foundation in western Nebraska for 25 years. She is a current board member of the Oregon Trail Community Foundation and the Nebraska Children and Families Foundation, and a past board member for the Theatre West Summer Repertory theater at Western Nebraska Community College in Scottsbluff. Barb co-chaired Humanities Nebraska’s Chautauqua in Scottsbluff-Gering in 2014.

Dori Wanitschke of Grand Island is finance officer at the Grand Island Community Foundation and has 35 years experience in banking operations and compliance management. She earned a Bachelor’s of Science degree from UNL. Dori served on the Hall County Leadership Tomorrow Board, was president of the Grand Island Zoological Association, and was a Nebraska LEAD fellow. While living in California, she chaired the Athena Committee of Palm Springs and served on the Go Red for Women committee of the Coachella Valley Heart Association. Since returning to Grand Island, she serves on the board of the Grand Island Little Theater and is a volunteer at the Nebraska State Fair and her church’s summer youth programs.

New members elected to the Foundation are:

Brenda Christensen of Omaha has been a volunteer leader for a number of civic and charitable organizations, including: Hope Center for Kids Board of Directors, Millard Public Schools Foundation Board of Directors, Past president and current Advisor to the Board of Directors of Junior League of Omaha, Aksarben Womens Ball Committee, and Completely Kids. Brenda has chaired many special events, such as the American Red Cross 100th Anniversary gala, Lauritzen Gardens Antique & Garden Show, Symphony Debutante Ball Gala, Children’s Hospital & Medical Center Friends gala, Completely Kids gala, and others.

John H. Conley of Omaha is a financial advisor and senior vice president of D.A. Davidson Company. He began his career in 1974 and operated Conley Investment Counsel from 1986-2014, when it merged into SmithHayes Financial Services. He is a fifth generation Nebraskan and a graduate of Nebraska Wesleyan University. He has served on many boards and is currently a member of the Nebraska Investment Council, a Trustee of the Business Ethics Alliance and is Governor Emeritus of the Knights of AkSarBen. His partner, Catherine Lang, is immediate past president of the Nebraska Foundation for the Humanities and his daughter is an architect in Chicago.

Tami Hellman of Kearney just completed a second term as president of the Museum of Nebraska Art (MONA) board, and is serving a final year as its past-president. She also serves on the Merryman Performing Arts Center Board, the Archway Foundation Board, and the G.W. Frank Museum of History and Culture Advisory Board. Tami and her husband Jerry (a CPA) are also trustees of the University of Nebraska Foundation.

The Council also elected Cynthia Milligan of Omaha as Foundation president and John Schleicher of Omaha as chair of the Council.

Humanities Nebraska inspires and enriches personal and public life by delivering opportunities to engage thoughtfully with history and culture. Accomplishing this mission is made possible by the dedicated volunteers on both boards. Nebraska Humanities Council strives to make the humanities accessible to all Nebraskans through programs and grants. The Nebraska Foundation for the Humanities works with the Council to raise private donations and advocate for public funding at the state and federal levels to make this work possible. A third organization, the Nebraska Cultural Endowment, serves as the endowment for both Humanities Nebraska and the Nebraska Arts Council, a state agency.

Humanities Nebraska’s core programs include major and mini grants for humanities-related projects in communities across the state, a Speakers Bureau providing hundreds of presentations to libraries, schools, and other community groups state-wide, Prime Time Family Reading Time, Capitol Forum on America’s Future for high school students studying global issues, Chautauqua summer history festival, touring exhibitions from the Smithsonian, and many more.

Humanities Nebraska is funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Nebraska Cultural Endowment, an appropriation from the Nebraska Legislature, and through private donations from many generous individual and organizational supporters.

“Celebrate Nebraska Water” launched
“Celebrate Nebraska Water” launched

On March 22, in recognition of World Water Day, Humanities Nebraska announced plans for a yearlong celebration of Nebraska’s water resources.

“Celebrate Nebraska Water” will coincide with a Smithsonian Traveling Exhibition, Water/Ways, which will travel to six Nebraska communities from June 2018 through April 2019.

The Water/Ways exhibition will provide visitors with the opportunity to explore the relationships between people and water; water as both a critical resource and sacred symbol, a subject of politicians, authors, economists and artists, and a source of food, recreation, work, and celebration. The exhibition will be hosted at the following locations:

Niobrara National Scenic River Visitor Center in Valentine, June 23 through August 3

Custer County Historical Society Museum in Broken Bow, August 11 through September 21

Bone Creek Museum of Agrarian Art in David City, September, 29 through November 9

Nebraska Prairie Museum in Holdrege, November 17 through December 21

Knight Museum and Sandhills Center in Alliance, January 5 through February 15, 2019

Legacy of the Plains in Gering, February 23 through April 7, 2019

Because water is so essential to Nebraska, a number of Nebraska organizations will join in promoting “Celebrate Nebraska Water!” These organizations include: The Crane Trust, Daugherty Water for Food Global Institute at the University of Nebraska, The Groundwater Foundation, The Nature Conservancy in Nebraska, Nebraska Association of Resources Districts, Nebraska Commission on Indian Affairs, Nebraska Department of Natural Resources, Nebraska Extension, Nebraska State Historical Society, Nebraska State Irrigation Association, Nebraska Educational Telecommunications, Platte Basin Timelapse, Prairie Loft Center for Outdoor and Agricultural Learning, and the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service.

These collaborating organizations encourage all Nebraskans to make a special effort to enjoy, protect, and learn more about Nebraska’s water resources in all its forms. Libraries, museums, schools, and other organizations are encouraged to schedule activities related to water during the upcoming year.

Visit for a list of events and resources.

Water/Ways is part of Museum on Main Street, a collaboration of the Smithsonian Institution and Humanities Nebraska, a private, nonprofit serving the state with programming related to history and culture. The exhibition and associated programming is brought to Nebraska with funding support from the Nebraska Cultural Endowment, Brown Transfer Company,
Valley, and other generous donors.
# # #

CONTACT: Mary Yager, Associate Director
(402) 474-2131 or

WHAT: 20th Annual Capitol Forum on America’s Future.
WHEN: Monday, March 19, 2018, 8:45 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.
WHERE: Nebraska State Capitol: Warner Chamber and hearing rooms.
(An information table will be located just outside the Warner Chamber in the Rotunda)


8:45-9:25 a.m.
Opening of Capitol Forum with a welcome by Lieutenant Governor Mike Foley and remarks by Secretary of State John Gale.

9:30-11:55 a.m.
Students from 25 high schools across the state meet in break-out sessions to discuss U.S. foreign policy regarding terrorism, immigration, international trade, nuclear weapons proliferation and climate change.

1:15-2:40 p.m.
Students meet in the Warner Chamber to present four distinct options for the future of U.S. foreign policy and the nation’s global role in this century.

2:45-3:30 p.m.
Students attend a live video conference with U.S. legislators, including Rep. Jeff Fortenberry, Rep. Adrian Smith, and Rep. Don Bacon who will answer questions from the students regarding foreign policy.

SPONSORS: Secretary of State John Gale, Humanities Nebraska

Capitol Forum is designed to engage high school students in a discussion of our nation’s future in a changing international environment. Each year more than 1,500 students from participating Nebraska schools learn the complexity of world politics and their role as active, informed citizens.

The 2018 Capitol Forum is funded in part by the Nebraska Cultural Endowment, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and a state appropriation by the Nebraska Legislature.

For an interview with Secretary of State John Gale, please call Laura Strimple at (402) 471-8408. For questions about the day’s agenda, activities, and purpose, please contact Kristi Hayek Carley at (402) 474-2131 or

Prime Time Family Reading Time is returning this semester to 16 Nebraska locations. Each session of the six-week program is free and open to families and their children, ages 6 to 10, who struggle with reading, or for families with preschool children who need a head start in reading readiness before kindergarten. Programming will begin with a light meal and continue with storytelling and discussion based on award-winning children’s books.

Prime Time is a Humanities Nebraska family literacy program that helps strengthen participants’ interest and skills in reading and talking about books. A definitive 10-year analysis published by the creators of Prime Time Family Reading Time found that children who attend Prime Time show a 95-100% improvement on achievement tests in elementary school and 81% improvement on high school exit exams.

Eleven of the school-age series and all three of the preschool series will be bilingual, with books read and discussed in both English and Spanish. Three will be English-only series.

The sessions in Norfolk will be held as follows:
• Jefferson Elementary School, Mondays at 6 p.m., February 12-March 19 (Bilingual)
• Washington Elementary School, Tuesdays at 6 p.m., February 20- March 27 (Bilingual)

The session in Lexington will be held as follows:
• Lexington Public Library, Saturdays at 10:30 a.m., February 17-March 24 (Bilingual)

The session in Omaha will be held as follows:
• Charles B. Washington Branch Library, Saturdays at 9:30 a.m., March 3-April 7 (English)
• Learning Community Center of South Omaha, Tuesdays at 5 p.m., March 6-April 19
(Simultaneous bilingual school-age and preschool sessions)
• Gilder Elementary School, Tuesdays at 5 p.m., March 20-April 24 (Bilingual)
• Chandler View School, Tuesdays at 5:30 p.m., March 20-April 24 (Bilingual)
• Gateway Elementary School, Thursdays at 5 p.m., March 22-April 26 (Bilingual Preschool)
• Chandler View School, Thursdays at 5:30 p.m., March 22-April 26 (Bilingual Preschool)
• Spring Lake School, Thursdays at 5:30 p.m., March 22-April 26 (Bilingual)
• Highland Elementary School, Tuesdays at 4:30 p.m., March 27- May 1 (Bilingual)
• Completely Kids, Thursdays at 5 p.m., March 29-May 3 (Bilingual)

The session in Grand Island will be held as follows:
• Grand Island Public Library, Thursdays at 6 p.m., March 15-April 24 (Bilingual)

The sessions in Lincoln will be held as follows:
• Arnold Elementary School, Tuesdays at 6 p.m., March 20-April 24 (English
• Boys & Girls Club, Park Middle School, Thursdays at 6 p.m., March 29-May3 (English)

The session in Fremont will be held as follows:
• Keene Memorial Library, Mondays at 6 p.m., April 16-May 21 (Bilingual)

All sessions are offered without cost to families thanks to generous statewide sponsors including the State of Nebraska, Nebraska Cultural Endowment, Carol Gendler, and an anonymous donor.

Humanities Nebraska has offered Prime Time since 2002, reaching more than 15,000 Nebraskans

in one or more of the 238 Prime Time series that have been held throughout the state. Seventeen public libraries, 18 elementary schools, one Head Start program, and five community centers have hosted Prime Time in communities where student reading scores do not meet Nebraska state standards.

Teachers who are interested in recommending families for Prime Time should contact one of the sites listed above and ask to speak with the Prime Time coordinator. For more information about Prime Time, visit the Humanities Nebraska web site,, and select “Prime Time” from the programs list.

Humanities Nebraska awards 12 grants totaling $16,223

Recently, the board of directors of Humanities Nebraska awarded twelve mini-grants ($2,000 or less) to fund public humanities programming in six Nebraska communities.

John G. Neihardt Foundation received $1,420 for the 37th Annual Neihardt Spring
Conference, scheduled for April 28 at the Neihardt State Historic Site.

Friends of the Homestead received $1,800 to help fund annual Heartland Storytelling Festival March 22-23 at the Homestead National Monument.

Central Community College received $1,626 for an event titled “Earth Week: Native Corn,” which will be offered April 28 beginning at 9:30 a.m. at the Hastings Campus.

Friends of the University of Nebraska Press in Lincoln received $1,300 to help fund
presentations by two authors during the Nebraska Book Festival on Saturday, August 25, at the downtown City Campus student union.

Lincoln City Libraries received $1,796 to print and mail posters and bookmarks to
Nebraska’s 320 libraries to promote the new website.

Nebraska State Historical Society received $1,300 for its “Looking Past Skin”
programming series related to immigration in Nebraska. Events are scheduled for February and March 2018.

Vision Maker Media received $1,000 in support of the 2018 Vision Maker Film
Festival, which will feature works by Native Americans. The festival will be held in Lincoln this April.

North Platte
North Platte Public Schools KIDS Klub Afterschool Program received $1,081 to take 125 elementary students on a day-long field trip to the Hastings Museum.

The University of Nebraska at Omaha Board of Regents received $1,100 to help fund keynote speaker Adam Beach’s delivery of the annual John Trudell Lecture in Native American Studies on February 16 at 7:30 p.m., at UNO’s Thompson Alumni Center. The institution also received $800 to help bring internationally acclaimed musician Benjamin Bagby to give a free pre-performance lecture on February 26 at 6 p.m. at the Barbara Weitz Community Engagement Center in anticipation of the following day’s event, “Beowulf: The Epic in Performance.”

College of Saint Mary received $1,800 for its Native American visiting artist program. Four monthly lectures by Kelly Church will be presented in the Lincoln and Omaha areas from February to May.

Verse, Inc. received $1,200 to present history through performance of spoken word, song and dance. “An Ode to Burlesque: A Tribute to Josephine Baker will be performed on February 17 at 8 p.m. at Love’s Jazz and Art Center. ”

Humanities Nebraska inspires and enriches personal and public life by delivering opportunities to engage thoughtfully with history and culture. These opportunities include grants for humanities-related projects accessible to the public throughout the state, Speakers Bureau programs to schools and community groups, Prime Time Family Reading Time, Chautauqua summer history festival, touring exhibits from the Smithsonian, workshops for veterans, and many others.

Humanities Nebraska is a non-profit organization supported by the National
Endowment for the Humanities, the Nebraska Cultural Endowment, the Nebraska Legislature, and private donors.

The Nebraska Cultural Endowment is a 501(c)(3) corporation that was created to raise funds and invest them in response to an endowment created by the Nebraska legislature to support the work of Humanities Nebraska and the Nebraska Arts Council.

Humanities Nebraska is seeking nominations for the 2017 Sower Award in the Humanities, which will recognize an individual who has made “a significant contribution to public
understanding of the humanities in Nebraska.”

This was the first in the E.N. Thompson Forum on World Issues 2016-17 series “Crossing Borders” in addition to being sponsored by the Pulitzer Prize Centennial Initiative.

Veterans and active duty military personnel in the greater Omaha area are invited to join Nebraska Warrior Writers from February 25 through May 6 at the Willa Cather Branch Library, 1905 S. 44th Street, Omaha.

You may have seen reports in the media about possible plans to eliminate funding for the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and National Endowment for the Arts (NEA)

Humanities Nebraska programming is made possible by:

and generous individuals, foundations, and businesses across Nebraska.