About Us

Our Mission

“Where we have been makes us who we are and shapes who we will become.”

Humanities Nebraska inspires and enriches personal and public life by offering opportunities to thoughtfully engage with history and culture.

Ideas in Progress.

NEH Logo MASTER_082010Humanities Nebraska was established as a state-based affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities in 1973. Over the last four decades, Humanities Nebraska programming has evolved and expanded to include:

There are two organizations that fall under the Humanities Nebraska umbrella — the Nebraska Humanities Council is the entity that conducts programs and makes grants. The Nebraska Foundation for the Humanities works with the Council to secure private funding and advocate for public funding at the state and federal levels to support these programs. A third organization, the Nebraska Cultural Endowment, serves as the endowment for both Humanities Nebraska and the Nebraska Arts Council, a state agency.

Why Is the Study of the Humanities So Important?

“The principal rationale for humanities studies is, and will probably always remain, that they enhance the meaning of life. This rationale is so powerful that it, too, easily obscures the utilitarian case which is also compelling. Hence, on Capitol Hill, we have been stressing the importance of the humanities both to creating jobs and to understanding national security problems. How can we compete in our own markets if we don’t understand our own culture, or abroad if we don’t understand foreign languages, histories, and traditions? How can we contain prejudice and counter forces of hatred if we don’t come to know more about each other?

“As the NEH’s founding legislation affirms, ‘The world leadership which has come to the United States cannot rest solely upon superior power, wealth, and technology, but must be solidly founded upon worldwide respect and admiration for the nation’s high qualities as a leader in the realm of ideas and of the spirit.’ Just as we need an infrastructure of roads and bridges, we need an infrastructure of ideas. The humanities are America’s stock in trade. They are a national asset that we short-change at our peril.”

— Jim Leach, chairman, National Endowment for the Humanities, 2011 National Humanities Conference, St. Petersburg, Fla. 

Official Definition of the Humanities:

“The term ‘humanities’ includes, but is not limited to, the study and interpretation of the following: 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 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.”

–National Foundation on the Arts and the Humanities Act, 1965, as amended


The humanities are how we explore who we are collectively, and individually, and what it means to be human through reading, learning, thinking, questioning, and discussing.

For a list of some of our favorite sites, click here.



Humanities Nebraska adds five new board members

Humanities Nebraska (HN) recently elected five new members to its Council and Foun