Since Socrates, thinkers have extolled the vital role a humanities education plays in encouraging citizens to lead an examined life. It cultivates critical thinking, self-reflection, empathy and tolerance, the usefulness of which only becomes more apparent as one navigates life's challenges."

 - Ronald J. Daniels,  president of Johns Hopkins University  

October is National Arts & Humanities Month and has become the largest annual celebration for the arts and humanities in the United States.

Throughout the month-long celebration, people across the nation recognize the importance of culture and what it means to be human. Engaging with the humanities gives us a chance to learn from our past, improve our present, and create an informed and inspired future....together.

If you are human, you already "do" the humanities. Everything you read, think, create, and do adds to the human experience and can be looked at for meaning and understanding.

How are you going to celebrate? Here are some ideas:
  • Visit a local museum. Many have partnered with us in recently hosting       
    Speaking Volumes | Transforming Hate and  The Way We Worked.
  • Attend one of our many Book Festival events to engage with authors, topics, and conversations.
  • Join us at a community event we help to support such as the Bluff Arts Storytelling Festival to share very human stories and insights.
Click the state map above for a complete listing of our humanities events near you, and watch our video below to consider what role the humanities have in our communities.

Video: The Humanities are Ideas in Action

Utah Humanities Receives Nation's Most Prestigious Recognition for State and Local History:

2018 Leadership in History Award Winner for 
The Way We Worked Utah Tour

The Way We Worked Tour of Utah  has been selected as a 2018 Award of Merit winner by the Leadership in History awards committee.
Spearheaded by Utah Humanities' Megan van Frank, the Utah tour of the Smithsonian Institution Museum on Main Street traveling exhibition The Way We Worked resided in six Utah communities in 2017. The national exhibition explored the role of work in American life, tracing the many changes that affected the workforce and work environments over the last 150 years. The Utah tour enriched The Way We Worked with new local exhibitions, complementary digital media, and events designed specifically to highlight Utah's unique work history. The project also gave host museums in-depth, hands-on experience with a range of exhibition skills and ultimately increased their curatorial expertise.
Leadership in History Award: Our Nation's Most Prestigious Recognition
for State and Local History
The award is presented by the American Association for State and Local History (AASLH). The AASLH Leadership in History Awards is the nation's most prestigious competition for recognition of achievement in state and local history. The AASLH awards program was initiated in 1945 to establish and encourage standards of excellence in the collection, preservation, and interpretation of state and local history throughout the United States.  Utah Humanities is Utah's only recipient for the 2018 award.

Utah Humanities Influences the Preservation of Utah's Heritage
through Collaboration and Statewide Work
Utah Humanities has worked with Utah's museums throughout its 42-year history, and closely with small museums for the last 24 years through the Smithsonian Institution's Museum on Main Street program. The Way We Worked project furthers the mission to empower Utahns to improve their communities through the humanities. As Utah's NEH-mandated state humanities council and an independent nonprofit, Utah Humanities' work throughout the state is both broad and deep.
UH's heritage work specifically supports the capacity of Utah's small museums to serve their own communities. Specifically, Utah Humanities provides museum staff and volunteers with skills and resources to help them tell the rich and varied stories of their collections and communities. During the year-long Utah tour of The Way We Worked, exhibition hosts created interpretive exhibits and programming that informed their visitors and encouraged them to think, ask questions, and get involved. Thousands of museum visitors across the state enjoyed the national perspective of the Smithsonian exhibition, as well as these detailed, local stories.
Brad Westwood, Senior Public Historian at the Utah Department of Heritage & Arts underscores the impact of this project, remarking that  "For Utah, The Way We Worked was not a self-contained exhibition with minimal impact; instead, it had strong rippling effect... This moveable feast of national and local history had a wide and sustainable local influence by bridging Utah's rural and urban divide, sharing authority, and leveraging dozens of local and statewide partnerships."
The project represented a multi-faceted collaboration among many organizations. Through partnerships with the Utah Museum of Fine Arts, Utah Public Radio, KCPW Radio, consulting historian Professor Matthew Basso, and the museums that served as exhibition hosts, The Way We Worked Tour of Utah showcased the strength of collective work. Ultimately, this award represents the influence Utah Humanities has on the preservation of Utah's unique heritage through its statewide coordination and collaborative efforts.

"This award represents the culmination of lengthy, deep, and effective collaboration among many partners" describes Megan van Frank, Director of the Center for Community Heritage at Utah Humanities. "Receiving this level of national recognition underscores the value of such broad-based heritage work and how striving together to preserve, interpret, and share our collective history strengthens our local communities and cultural networks. Working locally to foster understanding of community history and spur discussion of community issues is essential to the health of our state and nation."

"This project significantly benefited Utahns through various touchpoints," says Jennifer Ortiz, Museum Services Manager at the Utah Division of Arts & Museums, describing the overall influence of the tour.  "First, the program served nearly 125,000 visitors through the exhibition and related programming across the state.  Second, in partnership with the Utah Museum of Fine Arts, education outreach programming for The Way We Worked served nearly 3,000 students and teachers in 10 school districts.  Last, more than 2 million listeners appreciated the content broadcast as part of the complementary Beehive Archive and Utah Works radio stories.  While the public-facing statistics are notable, it was the far-reaching and perhaps less visible impact to the participating museums' capacity that is remarkable. The community of participating small museums and their staff benefit from long-term, hands-on, project-based support as a way of learning how to improve their work. This program had the effect of building capacity in each site through professional development and ongoing mentorship through Utah Humanities."
The Way We Worked was made possible in Utah by Utah Humanities. The exhibition, created by the National Archives, is part of Museum on Main Street, a collaboration between the Smithsonian Institution and State Humanities Councils nationwide. Support for Museum on Main Street has been provided by the United States Congress. The Utah tour of The Way We Worked was presented by Utah Humanities in partnership with the Utah Museum of Fine Arts and local exhibition hosts: Ogden Union Station Museums, Hyrum City Museum, Museum of the San Rafael, Territorial Statehouse State Park Museum with President Millard Fillmore Library, Silver Reef Museum, and Park City Museum.

Photo 1: Team for the Utah tour of the Smithsonian's The Way We Worked exhibition drew from organizations across the Beehive State. Photo 2: Visitors to The Way We Worked at the Park City Museum enjoyed the museum's companion exhibition and public programming. Photos courtesy of TWWW Utah partners.

STePs Utah Pilot Builds on Organizational Strengths

Utah Humanities, the Utah Division of Arts & Museums, and the Utah Division of State History have partnered to pilot a program based on the American Association for State & Local History's (AASLH) Standards and Excellence Program for History Organizations referred to as "StEPs."

The program is currently underway after a competitive application process. Seven Utah history museums are now engaged with a two-year enrichment opportunity designed to help them achieve success in six areas of institutional practice. We will be reporting on the progress of this program, some of the museum outcomes, and how this is relevant to the preservation of our state history.

The Clemente Course in the Humanities Inspires Students to Continue their Education

  We have debates on topics you wouldn't normally speak about in regular classes and the teachers really make us question and talk about everything.
 - Amina
The bright, crisp fall days have signaled a new school year. Students are now bustling through halls and filling their hours with classes, sports, activities, and friends.

Students in the Clemente Course in the Humanities, however, are also filling their time with concurrent enrollment classes and a re-imagined vision for the future.

The University of Utah College of Humanities visited with students in the Clemente class at West High School and learned more about what the course means to them. The students spoke about what they are learning and sharing with each other in this college-level course.

The Clemente Course in the Humanities is a Utah Humanities program offered in partnership with the University of Utah Honors College, the Honors College at Westminster College, Salt Lake Community College, University of Utah College of Humanities, West High School, and East High School to provide college-level study of the humanities for high school students who would be first-generation college applicants.
For more information on the Clemente Course in the Humanities, contact
Josh Wennergren, Program Officer for Utah Humanities' Center for Educational Access, at wennergren@utahhumanities.org or 801.359.9670 x106.

Photo: Students in the Clemente Course in the Humanities share stories of engagement with literature, philosophy, history and more. 
Photo courtesy of the University of Utah College of Humanities.

Welcoming Board Members and an Addition to our Staff Team

Each summer we welcome several new board members to our team who voluntarily commit to between 3 and 6 years of engaged service with us. They generously represent Utah Humanities in their various capacities and help to extend our reach throughout the state. Their backgrounds and locations vary as much as their individual passions for the humanities, but what they have in common is knowing that the humanities can improve Utah communities through firsthand, engaging experiences.

This summer, we warmly welcomed:

Joni Crane from Vernal
Don Gomes from Torrey
Simón Cantarero from Draper
Matthew Lawyer from Park City
Don Montoya from Castle Valley
We thank them for the service and expertise they bring to our board!

Caitlin McDonald, Center for Local Initiatives Program Officer

Caitlin has joined our team as the Program Officer of our Center for Local Initiatives and she will be responsible for our Community Conversations program and our line of Grants.

Though Caitlin has spent time living in China, India, Thailand, and Washington, D.C., she is always drawn back to the mountains of the Salt Lake Valley. She holds undergraduate degrees in History and Asian Studies, an M.A. in Asian Studies, and a Masters in Public Administration from the University of Utah. Caitlin's research background is focused on gender equality around the world, most recently presenting her work evaluating mental health services for refugee women in Utah with support from a Journal of International Women's Studies Graduate Fellowship. Caitlin has previously worked for the U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs and the University of Utah College of Humanities as well as a variety of nonprofit organizations, including the Asian Association of Utah - Refugee and Immigrant Center, the United Way of Salt Lake, and the Law and Society Association. She also served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Chantaburi, Thailand. Caitlin is passionate about community advocacy and serving marginalized populations. In her spare time she is a voracious reader, national park visitor, and never passes up the chance to hug a dog.

Our 21st Annual Utah Humanities Book Festival is Underway

The Utah Humanities Book Festival stretches my mind

and feeds my soul every year.

- S. Simmons

The 2018 Utah Humanities Book Festival is well underway and marks 21 years of improving Utah communities through reading, literature, and conversations with authors and each other.

Look for our weekly Book Blasts detailing upcoming events.

You can also stay connected on social media by following the Utah Humanities Book Festival on Facebook and Instagram . Join in on the conversation by using the hashtag #utahhumanitiesbookfestival to share stories, photos, and your experiences with the festival!

October is National Book Month
You can also celebrate National Book Month with us during the entire month of October. Plan ahead to attend your favorite book festival events, connect with us on social media, and share your perspective using #nationalbookmonth.

Remember to visit our Book Festival Calendar or download our Printed Program.

Photo: Book Festival photography at Ken Sanders Rare Books. Credit: Niki Chan.

Printed Museum on Main Street Essays Available


Did you know that each time we tour a Museum on Main Street Exhibition through Utah museums, we enlist the expertise of a local scholar to capture Utah's historical and heritage-related connection to the topic?

These publications are upwards of 20 pages in length and provide detailed information, perspective, and photos. They are written by academic scholars and are produced in partnership with the Utah Division of State History.

Our two most recent exhibition tours were Journey Stories and The Way We Worked, and the resulting essays are still available!

If you would like copies of one or both of these publications, please contact Karissa Lago at lago@utahhumanities.org .

Museum on Main Street is a collaboration between the Smithsonian Institution and State Humanities Councils nationwide. Support for Museum on Main Street has been provided by the United States Congress.

Grant Deadlines

Grants awarded from Utah Humanities have various deadlines throughout the year and we want to keep you informed.

We are always accepting Quick Grants, so visit the  Grants section of our website to see if your project qualifies. Quick Grants are reviewed by UH staff on a rolling basis, and applications must be received at least 8 weeks before the program begins.
For more information, contact Caitlin McDonald at 801.359.9670 x105 or at mcdonald@utahhumanities.org.

Making a Gift Makes a Difference!

Utah Humanities would like to thank everyone who supports our work. Our efforts continue to thrive and grow each year because of your participation and generosity. We are able to empower Utahns to improve their communities through the humanities because of your help.
YOU can continue to make a difference by making a one-time gift, a gift in memory or in honor of someone special in your life, or a monthly sustaining gift to support our work through our secure website by clicking the gift box below!

For more information or to learn about other ways to give, contact Cristi Wetterberg at 801.359.9670 x108 or wetterberg@utahhumanities.org.

Your gift in any amount helps to change lives across the state and is 100% tax deductible.

Many Thanks for Generous Support
Utah Humanities is grateful for the generous support of many individuals, foundations, and corporations, and for public funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the State of Utah, and the Salt Lake County Zoo, Arts, and Parks Fund.

Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed on this website do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Connect with Us!

Our events calendar is organized by month, date, and region of the state.  Click the icon to visit our calendar, and remember  to check back often. There are always new humanities events to attend!