Announcing Spring Grant Awards totaling $102,427

This spring we are proud to announce that 17 organizations have been awarded $102,427 in Major Grants and Mini Grants! 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

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. Curious about the WHC’s impact in the state? Learn more here!

Inspiration starts here!

Major Grant Awards

Honoring Our Native American Heritage | $10,000 to Rusk County Historical Society (Ladysmith) 

The Rusk County Historical Museum will use WHC funds to develop an exhibit to acknowledge and appreciate the Ojibwe who first resided in Rusk County. In consultation with members of Wisconsin six Ojibwe tribal nations, the project will engage area residents with the culture, life values, treaty rights and shared environmental issues. This project meets our focus on race and ethnicity and received targeted funding from the Mary H. Rice Foundation allocated for northern counties.

Civil War Living History Days – 2018 | $9,900 to Milton Historical Society  

We are pleased to again support Milton Historical Society’s Civil War Living History Days May 18-20, a living history festival and a hands-on school day with Civil War-era reenactments. Using WHC funds, they will develop a new presentation based on recently discovered primary sources on Andrew Pratt, a man who sought shelter in Milton as a passenger on the Underground Railroad and became a self-emancipated slave . This project meets our focus on race and ethnicity.

Taking Back Neighborhoods: Conversations around Place in Milwaukee | $10,000 to Buildings-Landscapes-Cultures Field School, School of Architecture and Urban Planning, UW-Milwaukee

This project includes history harvests, community walks, public talks and community conversation in Milwaukee’s Northside neighborhoods in order to collect and share local stories of caring and stewardship. The vision is to “take back homes, streets and gardens” for neighbors. This project meets our focus on race and ethnicity.

Knowing News: How to Understand What Others Want Us to Know | $7,000 to Wisconsin Center for the Book (Milwaukee) 

What is real news and how can we tell? Addressing the issue of “Fake news’ requires first, the ability to recognize it and then, evaluate it for ourselves. This pairs librarians and journalists in their communities to engage in a program called “Knowing News.” This project aligns with our Beyond the Headlines program focused on media and democracy.

The Immigration Story | $9,997 to Norskedalen Nature & Heritage Center (Coon Valley) 

Norskedalen staff feels their collection of Norwegian immigrant belongings and buildings are in need of attention. WHC funds will help them use the collection to tell a fresh story of immigration from Norway to Wisconsin. Some themes that will be explored are the decisions to leave Norway, difficult travel over land and sea, and building a life in a new country. The new exhibits will include trunks, tools, clothing, architecture, education, nature, wildlife, agriculture and more. This project meets our focus on race and ethnicity.

Ancient Lake Sturgeon: A 100 Million-Year History | $10,000 to Wisconsin DNR Bureau of Fisheries Management  

WHC funds will be used for a new exhibit celebrating Lake Sturgeon in Wisconsin at the Wild Rose State Fish Hatchery Education Center. The exhibit will highlight the cultural connections between the sturgeon and Wisconsin residents over time, including the sacred role of the fish in Menominee culture. This project meets our focus on race and ethnicity.

UntitledTown Book and Author Festival 2018 $10,000 to UntitedTown Co. (Green Bay) 

We are pleased to again support UnititledTown’s Book and Author Festival, which launched last year. This year, the festival plans more than 100 events about all aspects of book culture. The three days will feature 100 authors in 10 locations in downtown Green Bay between April 19-22nd

WXPR 91.7 FM | $9,194 to WXPR FM (Rhinelander) 

This project will assist an independent non-profit radio station in creating local feature stories that highlight the people and culture of the Northwoods. This project aligns with our Beyond the Headlines program focused on media and democracy.

Bembé Drum & Dance $8,050 to Milwaukee Public Theatre

WHC funds will provide instruments for this children’s cultural performing arts program. With a focus on Afro-Latino musical culture, Milwaukee’s school-aged youth will gain music and performance skills, youth leadership, inter-generational connection and the exploration of cultural identity. This project meets our focus on race and ethnicity.

World Arts Through K/Cultural Engagement (WAKE) | $7,215 to UW-LaCrosse  

WHC support allows for the development of a pilot program called WAKE, which aims to raise the awareness of the diverse cultural heritages within the La Crosse and Onalaska communities and to unite people by highlighting commonalities. Project goals include addressing the risk of becoming a racially divided society and developing a more profound understanding of cultural differences. To do this, they will explore Native American, African American, African, Hmong and Latino cultural traditions through the lens of the expressive arts. This project meets our focus on race and ethnicity.

Mini Grant Awards


Project Citizen | $1,694 to Civics in Wisconsin 

We are pleased to once again support Project Citizen, a critically acclaimed civic education program for upper elementary, middle school, high school, and youth organizations that promotes competent and responsible participation by students in local and state government.

Joyce Westerman, Wisconsin Women, and the All American Girls Professional Baseball League: Play Ball! | $1,925 to Arts Wisconsin

WHC funds will support bringing Dr. Bob Kann to libraries, senior centers, theaters and the Wisconsin Historical Society Museum to highlight the role of women baseball players in the 1940s and 1950s, including Wisconsinites like Westerman, and focusing on the working lives of women before and after the league. This project falls under our Working Lives Program.

Writing Women Back into History $1,144 to The Driftless Writing Center in Viroqua

WHC funds will help support a one-day symposium that will pair a writer of historical fiction with academics from the fields of history, literature and women’s studies to explore how writing fiction and the work of historians intersect and diverge. There will be an emphasis on researching and writing the history of overlooked figures in women’s history.

The Lorine Niedecker Poetry Wall $1,000 to Friends of Lorine Niedecker in Fort Atkinson

WHC funds will help support the creation of a poetry wall on North Main St. in Fort Atkinson that will cover the first story of a building at a busy intersection. A short poem painted on the wall will become the center of several events.

Gathering Places: Religion and Community in Milwaukee $1,425 to UW-Milwaukee History Department  

More than just places of worship, Milwaukee’s churches, mosques, synagogues, temples and other sacred sites are also vital community institutions with histories that reveal something about the city’s past. This project will document this diverse religious history then make it available online in a map-based digital exhibit.

Click Youth Media Festival $2,000 to UW-Madison  

The Click Youth Media Festival, hosted by Wisconsin Public Television and the UW-Madison School of Education, will bring youth and educators from around the state together in Madison for a full day of workshops on video production, podcasting, and digital storytelling. WHC funds will help enable students to come to Madison for the festival.

Shakespeare in the State ParksTwelfth Night | $1,883 to Summit Players Theatre  

We are pleased to again support this non-profit traveling theatre company’s production of free workshops and performances in 17 Wisconsin State Parks and forests this summer. The performance includes a 75 minute version of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night preceded by a 45-minute educational workshop on Shakespearean history, language and characters.

Got your own great ideas? 

If you or your organization have never applied for a grant, or you just want some feedback on an idea you aren’t sure about, please contact us to discuss your idea. We may be able to help!  It might be anything from helping to brainstorm an idea or connecting with a humanities expert. We are happy to read drafts, but please allow three weeks to a month before the application deadline for review.

We award Mini Grants of up to $2,000 and Major Grants of up to $10,000.

  • There are four Mini Grant rounds. Applications must be received by: February 1, May 1, August 1 or November 1. Decisions are made by a WHC board subcommittee within one month of the deadline.
  • There are three Major Grant rounds. Applications must be received by: April 15, August 15, or December 15. Decisions are made by the WHC board in the following June, October, and February, respectively.

One Response

  1. Hello,
    I am inquiring to see if our project might fit into your grant requirements. We have a 100+ year old depot that is the last remaining depot of the F and NE railroad. It is a brick building and is in need of a roof. Our long term, 5 year, plan for the building is to create a local rail museum. We would like to get the building registered on the State and National Historic Registries. Thank you for all you do, Tim Swiggum

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