Virginia Humanities is the state humanities council. We’re headquartered in Charlottesville at the University of Virginia, but we serve the entire state.
We aim to share the stories of all Virginians—or, better yet, find ways for people to share their own stories. We want Virginians to connect with their history and culture and, in doing that, we hope we’ll all get to know each other a little better.
Founded in 1974, we are one of fifty-six humanities councils created by Congress with money and support from the National Endowment for the Humanities to make the humanities available to all Americans. As a non-partisan organization, we have been successful thanks to many years of strong bi-partisan commitment to our work at federal and state levels, as well as from the NEH itself.
In 2019 we created a new strategic plan. It unifies our work around three important themes that will connect our programs, guide our partnerships, and help us make the humanities part of the daily life of all Virginians.
Amplifying Virginia’s Stories
As we seek to celebrate and share Virginia’s stories, we also highlight and explore experiences traditionally left out of mainstream narratives.
Equity and Democracy
In all times, we must consider how our nation can strive to become a more perfect union and move toward the noble, but imperfectly expressed ideal that “all men are created equal.” Our programs encourage civic dialogue, facilitate the exchange of experiences and perspectives, and investigate ways that American democracy both advances and inhibits the equality of all people.
Cultures in Transition
Today we are all confronting economic, environmental, and technological change that at times feels unprecedented. Our programs help all Virginians understand how these major shifts in our world affect us and our future.
2020-2023 Strategic Goals
In addition to using these themes to better focus, understand, and communicate the work of Virginia Humanities, we’ve also established four major strategic goals to shape how we do our work.
- Identify and help document under-told and lesser-known stories in Virginia.
- Seek and engage Virginians outside of Virginia Humanities’ traditional and core audiences.
- Create a new organizational structure at Virginia Humanities that makes us more cohesive, responsive, and efficient across programs.
- Achieve significant increases in individual, corporate, and philanthropic contributions.
Discovery Virginia is our own digital archive. It was created to digitize and preserve the thousands of valuable assets we have produced in our more than forty year history, ranging from rare musical recordings to oral histories and grant-funded films. This institutional repository gives you a single web-based point of access to digital content across all our programs. A major part of this project is the preservation of audio and video content stored on old media and in danger of being lost forever.
We want to connect with you. If you have a question about one of our programs or how to apply for a grant or fellowship, don’t hesitate to contact us.
Our Board of Directors is comprised of Virginians from education, business, government, civic, and cultural communities. Each member serves for a three-year term, once renewable. Six members of the Board are appointed by the Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia; the rest are elected by the Board.
At Virginia Humanities, we are wholly invested in cultivating a staff that embodies our commitment to inclusion, which is increasingly reflected in our cultural programming statewide. We deeply value the voices and work of marginalized communities and strongly encourage applicants who represent the diverse and intersecting identities that contribute to the fabric of Virginia.
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