Starting the Conversation in Beloit

Humanities Programs in Focus | July 20, 2017 | By:

The Wisconsin Humanities Council is committed to strengthening community life for every Wisconsinite. We are doing this using history, culture, and conversation in different ways every day.

As an organization, we are guided by a board that includes humanities professionals and members of the public. These extremely dedicated volunteers from around the state bring a range of experience and wisdom to their service. We are lucky to get to know each and every one of these people during their tenure.

In June, we eagerly greet our newly nominated members as they rotate onto the board. This year was no exception. We are excited to introduce you to (l-r) Juan Jimenez, Alton “Sonny” Smart, Kathy Laakso and John Viste! Read More


Summer Reading for 2017

Voices from the Field | July 6, 2017 | By:

What are you reading?

This is a question we love to ask, and answer.

In a conversation with my seven-year-old recently, I casually but deliberately mentioned that there are books about any question you could possibly ask.

“You mean there are books about where the first seeds came from, and who planted them?” she immediately replied. She was incredulous.

Yes, there are so many books. More than we’ll ever read in one lifetime. And isn’t that wonderful!?

Every summer we indulge ourselves in the fun of sharing some book recommendations with you. Here is our list for summer 2017, though these books will hold there own into 2018 and beyond. Enjoy!

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Major Grants Announced

Humanities Programs in Focus | June 28, 2017 | By:

We’re pleased to award $71,460 to eight outstanding projects that explore history, culture, race and ethnicity, youth leadership and regional folklore and lifeways. The Wisconsin Humanities Council couldn’t fund these projects without support from the National Endowment of the Humanities. The NEH provides 90% of the funding that enables us to bring great programming, support and services to the state of Wisconsin. Project sponsors match grants in their community with an average of $3 for every $1 we award.

Congratulations to these eight organizations! These projects tell meaningful stories about Wisconsin and bring communities together to explore important themes. We welcome you to be a part of the story and see these projects and events.

Inspiration starts here!

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Mini Grant Awards Announced

Humanities Programs in Focus, Uncategorized | June 15, 2017 | By:

We’re pleased to award $8,000 to four great projects that tackle everything from support for youth information literacy to a Civil Rights History Trail celebration, and from a play that explores public health and personal freedom to a series of local history topics.

The Wisconsin Humanities Council couldn’t fund these projects without support from the National Endowment for the Humanities. The NEH provides 90% of the funding that enables us to bring great programming, support and services to the state of Wisconsin. Project sponsors match grants in their community with an average of $3 for every $1 we award.

Congratulations to these four organizations! These projects tell meaningful stories about Wisconsin and bring communities together to explore important themes. We welcome you to be a part of the story and see these projects and events.

Inspiration starts here! Read More


Building Citizens for their Future

Humanities Programs in Focus | June 1, 2017 | By:

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Why is learning to be a citizen something youth need? What good is it? Why should we care? Why should THEY care?

New Holstein Middle School Teacher Heather Tomchek has been a long time participant in Project Citizen, a curriculum and professional development program for which WHC provided funding over the last three years. This year, she and I were both judges for the Project Citizen statewide showcase. I was taken by student enthusiasm for projects students felt would really make a difference in their community. I asked Tomchek if she had a sense of whether the lessons stuck beyond the 7th grade, if there was any way to measure the success of a program like this. Read More


A complicated truth: Milwaukee History

Humanities Programs in Focus, Voices from the Field | May 18, 2017 | By:

Founder's Day Saturday Feb. 25, 2017 for America's Black Holocaust Museum (ABHM) event program-Help Heal The Racial Divide In Our City- held at the Milwaukee Public Library Centennial Hall downtown Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Pat A. Robinson photo

America’s Black Holocaust Museum (ABHM) organized the “Help Heal The Racial Divide In Our City” event engaging Milwaukee community leaders in facilitated small-group conversations. Photo by Pat Robinson, courtesy of the Dr. James Cameron Legacy Foundation.

On this day in 1954, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously ruled that segregation of public schools “solely on the basis of race” denies black children “equal educational opportunity.” Thurgood Marshall argued the Brown v. Board of Education case before the Court. He went on to become the first African American appointed to the Supreme Court.

In Wisconsin, just two years later, Vel Phillips became the first African American and first woman elected to Milwaukee’s Common Council. Read More


Free Labor: Working & Living at an Asylum

Humanities Programs in Focus, Voices from the Field | May 4, 2017 | By:

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Emily Rock is curator at the History Museum at the Castle in Appleton, where she manages the artifact collection, coordinates educational programs, and curates exhibits. She is passionate about community building and works to make history come alive with creative approaches to storytelling.

Asylum: Out of the Shadows, open through May 20th at The History Museum at the Castle, is the result of Emily’s and others’ effort tell the story of the Outagamie County Asylum. With this exhibition, the museum ambitiously sought ‘truth and reconciliation’ for past abuses and aimed to personalize the stories of the residents and employees.  We are proud to be a funder of this community exploration as part of our Working Lives Project.
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When friends come together, this is what happens!

Voices from the Field | April 13, 2017 | By:

img_2564-croppedWe believe in the power of face-to-face conversation and we value community. This comes through in our programs, which forward our mission to use history, culture and conversation to strengthen community life. And so when we moved into our new office space last summer, we knew it was a good excuse for a party.

Last week, we welcomed friends new and old to our Regent Street office. Our cozy space was filled with music, food, conversation, and lots of good energy.  Now in our 45th year, WHC ties and friendships are deep and strong.  Thank you to all who were with us!

You may know that federal support for the humanities goes back to the founding of the National Endowment for the Humanities 1965.  You may not know this fun piece of American history that Dena Wortzel, WHC director, shared at our party.  Until the founding of the United States Postal Service in 1792 with the Post Office Act, postal service in countries around the world was created for and used by nations’ elites.  Our founding fathers believed a literate populace was the key to sustaining democratic institutions. They thought the way to achieve this was to circulate newspapers to every American.

After independence from England, the new government created a system of routes and established that all newspapers could be mailed at the same low rate. This set off an explosion of new newspapers from all sorts of political viewpoints. The post office was the main way, sometimes the only way, people got information. From this initial and fundamental structuring of a system to provide access to news and differing viewpoints, our democracy grew.

The WHC takes pride in its 45 year history of partnerships and friendships with people, communities, and organizations around the state. Federal support, and therefore our future, is uncertain.  We are grateful for your support, and all that you do to keep humanities conversations vibrant.

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Thank you for contacting your members of Congress to ask for his or her support for full funding of the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Federal/State Partnership, which funds the Wisconsin Humanities Council. To find your representative, click here.


 

$62,195 in WHC grants awarded in 2017 Listen to WI Life Radio Essays about Work Request for Proposals to the WHC

 


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Big Impact, Many Ripples

Humanities Programs in Focus | March 30, 2017 | By:

WHC programs have impacts that spread

The humanities are about who we are and how we fit together.

There couldn’t be a more important time to talk about why the humanities matter. As we’ve said here beforethe humanities are critical to civic discourse, community building, local identity, regional culture, and democracy.

What is the Wisconsin Humanities Council’s role in this?  If the National Endowment for the Humanities is cut from the Federal budget, as has been proposed, the WHC would longer exist.  If that happens, what will Wisconsin lose?

Or to put it another way, what is the real impact of the public humanities in Wisconsin?  What strikes us most is how, like pebbles skipped across a pond, the community projects we support have many ripples. 

Each WHC grant and every event we hold sets into motion untold numbers of creative ideas and personal connections, crossing through local and regional networks and touching every Wisconsinite. Read More


#SavetheNEH

Voices from the Field | March 15, 2017 | By:

Flag displayed in a museumAn Argument for Maintaining Federal Funding for the Arts & Humanities

This Opinion piece was published on March 8, 2017 in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

by Anne Pryor

It would be a short-sighted mistake by Congress to eliminate or defund the National Endowment for the Arts or the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Communities across Wisconsin are better informed, more cohesive and creatively positioned to market their assets thanks to investments made through grants from the endowments. Both founded in 1965 by Congress, the two endowments support local endeavors generated by community members who want to connect with others on vital issues. They do this by creating exhibits, conducting research, performing, conversing or preserving heritage, and the endowments provide seed money to make this happen. Read More