Recently Funded Projects


Hello! Thanks for your interest in the public humanities programs happening around Wisconsin.

2017-event-map-districtsYou’ll find brief descriptions of our most recently funded projects below (and lists from years past in the sidebar menu on the left).

We 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 WisconsinProject sponsors match grants in their community with an average of $3 for every $1 we award.

Please visit our Grants section to find the criteria for a successful project proposal, along with grant guidelines, instructions and applications.

PS: When grants are awarded, announcements are published on Humanities Booyah, our online magazine where you can also find grant writing tips, read behind-the-scenes stories of funded projects, hear from Project Directors and others who plan public programs, and stay current on the happenings of the Wisconsin Humanities Council. Subscribe to Humanities Booyah so you don’t miss anything!



Mini Grant Awards awarded in 2018

Kewaunee Historical Walking Tour | $2,000 to Friends of the Kewaunee Pierhead Lighthouse. (Kewaunee)

Funds will be used to create an historical walking tour along the harbor seawall with reader boards and a brochure that highlight Kewaunee’s maritime history.

Finding Their Place: Resettled Lives in Wisconsin [Photo Exhibition] | $2,000 to UW-Oshkosh Sociology Department. (Oshkosh)

At the conclusion of a study in cooperation with the Oshkosh Resettlement Task Force to explore the landscape of refugee resettlement in the Fox Valley, this project will use WHC funds to create a traveling exhibit of photos of and by residents with refuge backgrounds, detailing their past and present lives and highlighting the findings of the study. This project meets our focus on race and ethnicity.

Second Saturdays – Journeys into Local History | $1,850 to Sheboygan County Historical Research Center (Sheboygan)

We are happy to once again support Second Saturdays, an interactive speaker series. Featured speakers will talk about naval history, the Spanish Flu, one room schools, Christmas nostalgia, Victorian architecture, the Sheboygan Symphony, the history of work, three case studies of endangered species and the emergence of Lake Geneva in the late 1800s as a playground for the wealthy.

Shakespeare Inspires: Stories from the City | $2,000 to Optimist Theatre (Milwaukee)

Optimist Theatre will use funds to partner with the Center for Applied Theatre to offer workshops on Shakespeare’s King Lear as a jumping off point and inspiration for inner-city youth to relate the play to their own lives. By re-telling moments of oppression and conflict in Shakespeare’s tale and exploring ways to overcome oppression and resolve conflict, participants will become empowered to own and change their own stories.

Contemporary Hmong Art & Culture in the Fox Valley: Exhibition and Public Programs | $2,000 to Lawrence University (Appleton)

This project pairs an exhibition of visual art by two Hmong-American artists with public programming related to the themes and content of the exhibition, which poses questions about identity, history, and belonging and will touch on issues of culture, family and diversity within the greater Fox Valley community. This project meets our focus on race and ethnicity.

Beyond the Ingenue | $2,000 to Music Theatre of Madison (Madison)

To encourage conversation about the portrayal of women in entertainment and their contributions to society and music, this project will present a series of new musical theatre songs that look at women’s issues such as motherhood, work, equity, aging and more. The revue will be presented as an outreach presentation for schools, libraries, senior groups and local justice organizations.

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.

Major Grants Awarded in 2018

The Fabric of Milwaukee | $10,000 to Arts @ Large (Milwaukee)

This project addresses issues of bullying and harassment of the growing immigrant and refugee student population in the Milwaukee Public Schools. The goals are to build student confidence, expand cultural awareness and strengthen student connections to their support communities by using art to explore ethnic and cultural awareness. This peace-building project meets our focus on race and ethnicity.

Relationship Building with Local Ojibwe Community through an Ojibwe Village Improvement Project | $10,000 to Burnett County Historical Society (Danbury)

The Burnett County Historical Society will work with local Ojibwe communities to rebuild the winter wigwam at The Forts Folle Avoine historical site, which is essential in telling the story of the area’s original residents and the history of the fur trade from the Ojibwe perspective. This project meets our focus on race and ethnicity.

BLM2WUU (Black Lives Matter to Wisconsin Unitarian Universalists | $9,742 to United Unitarian Universalist Church (Waukesha)

A coalition of five congregations in Southeast Wisconsin will provide greater access to quality anti-bias and U.S racial history education as a step in addressing this region’s hyper-segregation and the impact of that segregation on persons of color. The series of lectures, facilitator training, dialogues, and educational materials will target Milwaukee, Waukesha, and Ozaukee counties. This project meets our focus on race and ethnicity.

 “The Amish Incidents: Rural Conflict & Compromise” Documentary Film | $10,000 to Richland County Historical Society (Lone Rock)

This film project by Fourth Wall Films tells the stories of two cases that came to identify how states coordinate education for Amish children. It interweaves the stories of the 1968 conflict over Wisconsin Amish parents removing their children from school because of required education beyond age 14, plus a clash in Iowa over teacher certification that began in 1965.

Intergenerational Folk Art Fair | $5,030 to Waukesha County Historical Society and Museum (Waukesha)

The Folk Art Fair, which brings youth and seniors together for inter-generational learning, offers hands-on education for hundreds of Waukesha County 3rd through 5th graders. ERAs Senior Network is passing leadership of the fair over to WCHSM to provide a permanent home and to enable more historical and cultural depth to the program.

The 2018 Wisconsin Book Festival | $10,000 to Madison Public Library Foundation (Madison)  

We are proud to continue our support of the Wisconsin Book Festival, founded by the WHC 16 years ago and now run by Madison Public Library. This year, more than 110 free programs will showcase literature, art and performance by both literary artists and nationally-acclaimed authors.

Forest County Kentuck Heritage Day Camp $2,169 to Forest County Historical and Genealogical Society 

This project exposes youth and community members to the history of family migration to Forest County from the southeastern hills of Kentucky during the early part of the 20th Century in conjunction with the 2018 Kentuck Day festival held in Crandon July 28.

Real Life Library: Veterans Edition | $10,000 to Wisconsin Veterans Museum Foundation. (Madison)

This project provides an opportunity for people to listen to and learn from veterans’ stories designed in conjunction with “We Help One Another,” which will invite veterans to attend storytelling and non-violent communication training to help them tell their stories. A day of storytelling will occur on Veterans Day at Madison Public Library, with their stories later filmed to create a digital volume of stories to be published online.

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.