Past Programs

A Decade of Impact

There are over forty years of great Wisconsin humanities stories in the WHC’s program archives. We selected a few from the last ten so you can see what happens when communities and humanities experts get together.

Behind each program are community members with a vision – teachers, librarians, historical society members, and other civic-minded folks like you who love people and ideas, and what can happen when we put the two together.

Visitor looking at exhibition.

Museum on Main Street

The Smithsonian designed traveling exhibitions just for small, rural communities. The Wisconsin Humanities Council selected partners in 18 Wisconsin towns to host three exhibitions: “Barn Again: Celebrating an American Icon,” “Between Fences,” and “Key Ingredients: America by Food.”

Author Edwidge Danticat signing books at the Wisconsin Book Festival

Wisconsin Book Festival

Eleven years and more than 1,300 presenters later, the Wisconsin Humanities Council transitioned the Wisconsin Book Festival to a new home. The WHC founded the Festival in 2002 to celebrate books, literature, ideas and curiosity. The Madison Public Library is continuing that tradition.

Cover from the 2004-2005 Speakers Bureau Catalog.

Speakers Bureau

For 21 years, humanities presenters traveled the state as members of the Wisconsin Humanities Council Speakers Bureau. Their presentations about folklore, history, ethics, literature, philosophy, and more touched people in practically every county.

Marqee outside the theatre in Baraboo, Wisconsin.

Making It Home

How have Wisconsinites shaped, and been shaped by, the land we call home? This WHC statewide initiative included a touring exhibition about American food culture, three film festivals, and culture tours that helped teachers incorporate local culture into their teaching.

A pile of books.

A More Perfect Union

New ideas and surprising perspectives were what we hoped participants would find in three book discussion series built around phrases from the preamble to the US Constitution. Scholars led discussions in dozens of communities about notions of justice, war and defense, and the desire for domestic tranquility.

father reading


Motheread/Fatheread is a renowned humanities-based literacy program for parents. The Wisconsin Humanities Council coordinated workshops for over 150 librarians, teachers and literacy professionals who were trained to use the curriculum in libraries, schools, community centers, and prisons around the state.