Projects Funded in 2017

Here you will find brief descriptions of public humanities projects that received grants from the WHC in 2017. 


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.


Zoom down the page to read about Major Grants funded in 2017.

Mini Grants Awarded in 2017

Allied in the Fight: Jews, Blacks and the Struggle for Civil Rights | $2,000 to Jewish Museum Milwaukee

With funds from WHC, the museum will enhance a national exhibit about segregation, called ‘Allied in the Fight,’ with Milwaukee content and engage the community in a deeper exploration of the exhibit’s themes. The exhibit tells the story of collaboration between African Americans and Jewish Americans before and during the Civil Rights Era and explores the complexity of Jewish participation in the Civil Rights movement. This project is part of our focus on race and ethnicity.

Native American Family Film Experience | $2,000 to Oneida Film Society in Green Bay

WHC is pleased to support the Oneida Film Society in its presentation of three family-friendly outdoor film screenings. Screenings will be followed by an audience discussion of the negative stereotypes, unrealistic portrayals, and cultural struggles of Native Americans depicted in the films. This project is part of our focus on race and ethnicity.

ARTi Gras 2018 | $2,000 to Wisconsin Rapids Community Theatre

We are happy to again support ARTi Gras, a 10-day festival of arts and culture based in Wisconsin Rapids and taking place in eight Central Wisconsin communities from March 8-17, 2018.  The festival includes 50 events ranging from theater, literature, music, history, and film, serving audiences of all ages.

Bonnie Jo Campbell at the Lake Reading Series: Midwestern Voices | $2,000 to Thelma Sadfoff Center for the Arts in Fond du Lac

WHC funds will enable the author Bonnie Jo Campbell to participate in a series of events designed to engage the community in conversation about Midwestern literature. Campbell, who has written several novels and short story collections, will do a public reading, as well as meet with community members at a dinner and work with students at Marian University.

Working Lives: A Look at Construction and Trades in the Slinger Area | $2,000 to Slinger School District

Students at Slinger High School will once again document working lives in the Slinger, WI, area, focusing this year on the construction and trade fields with the help of a WHC Mini Grant. A year’s worth of site visits, interviews, surveys, and speakers will culminate in a public program in May 2018 called the Slinger Area History/Culture Night where the videos, displays, and a website will be shared and opened up to community dialogue.

This project is part of our Working Lives Project.

Toward One Wausau | $2,000 to Wisconsin Institute for Public Policy and Service (WIPPS) in Wausau

WHC will help fund the culmination of an ongoing community visioning project, “Toward One Wausau,” that asks area residents how they view their community: as welcoming to newcomers of different ethnic and cultural backgrounds or if the community views them cautiously, negatively or something in between. The culmination of this process will share the findings and open a discussion about those findings, including a multi-cultural celebration of different cultures through music and dance. The celebration will be followed by a convening of key community members who can help achieve the goals identified by the public.

Infamous Mothers Display, Book Reading and Discussion | $2,000 to End Domestic Abuse Wisconsin in Madison

WHC is pleased to  support the public display, book reading and conversations surrounding Sagashus Livingston’s book Infamous Mothers in conjunction with a statewide conference, collective Liberation: Movement Building for the Years Ahead in Green Bay. The project explores how real-life narratives describing Black motherhood can counter pervasive stereotypes such as “the welfare queen,” “the prostitute,” or “the drug addict” and could help produce a more just, humane and creative society.

Ibsen Playreading Series | $2,000 Wisconsin Rapids Community Theatre, Inc.

The Wisconsin Rapids Community Theatre will be holding presentations of the major works of Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen on six Sundays in January and February, with the help of a grant from WHC. With each reading, the play will be set in its historical and cultural context, along with highlights of the Norwegian heritage that is prevalent in Central Wisconsin. After the reading, readers will engage with the audience in discussion.

John Doar Civil Rights History Trail Celebration | $2,000 to City of New Richmond

WHC awarded a mini grant to help John Doar’s hometown celebrate the late civil rights lawyer and Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient with programming at the dedication of a new history trail in downtown New Richmond. Exhibits, films, and community discussions of race and civil rights issues will highlight a month long celebration culminating with the ribbon cutting weekend. This project is part of our Focus on Race and Ethnicity.

Typhoid Mary & Patient Zero: Public Health and Personal Freedom | $2,000 to TAPIT/new works, Inc. in Madison

WHC is pleased to support TAPIT/new works Inc. as it explores the intersection of public health and personal freedom, which juxtaposes true stories from the past with an imagined tale of our new future to explore how our attitudes about infectious diseases reveals our social values and thus our response to the disease. WHC funds will help support public programming associated with the project, including public discussions and workshops, some of which target healthcare workers.

Second Saturdays – Journeys Into Local History | $2,000 to Sheboygan County Historical Research Center in Plymouth

We are happy to again support SCHRC’s series of historical presentations and discussions. The series runs every second Saturday morning of the month from September to May with topics ranging from the World War I Home Front, to the Mississippi River, from Wisconsin’s Supper Club tradition to stories about the land, and hiking the Ice Age Trail to the Charles Dickens.

Speech and Debate Professional Development Workshop | $2,000 to UW-La Crosse School of Education, Professional and Continuing Education and Wisconsin High School Forensics Association in La Crosse

In the current digital landscape, keeping up with information and media literacy can be a challenge, much less teaching it to youth. This project helps support middle and high school forensics and debate coaches in a train-the-trainer workshop designed to help teachers improve their skills in both the classroom and in support for their interscholastic forensics and debate teams. The workshop will provide teachers skills in teaching the review, synthesis and vetting of multiple source platforms; conducting interviews as a primary source; looking at ‘big picture’ historical backgrounds and contexts; and conveying the importance of topics. WHC funds will provide support for substitute teachers and travel to allow teacher attendance at the workshop.

Lessons from the Past: Shaping our Present and Future | $2,000 awarded to Superior High School

Superior High School is using a WHC Mini Grant to bring Holocaust survivor Marion Blumenthal Lazan, author of “Four Perfect Pebbles” to speak to the district’s schools and surrounding community over a three-day period in April, culminating in a public program that takes reflection on intolerance from this dark period of the past and puts these lessons into present practices. This project is part of our Focus on Race and Ethnicity.

Milwaukee Meets Mark Doty | $1,844 awarded to Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets

The Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets will feature renowned poet Mark Doty at its April conference in Milwaukee with sessions open to the public. Doty has published multiple award-winning books of poetry and memoirs that address the intensely personal experiences of loving and living as a gay man, AIDS and grief. WFOP hopes to engage the broader public on the need for diverse poetic voices through Doty’s participation.

Making a Hometown: Life in Neenah’s Progressive Era | $2,000 awarded to Neenah Historical Society

WHC support will help the Neenah Historical Society create a new temporary exhibit featuring the story of industry and community building organizations and how they worked together during the Progressive Era (1890-1920) to establish today’s Neenah, highlighting the challenges of the industrial age and the community’s response to them. Drawing for both history and engineering scholars, the exhibit will introduce visitors to the flour milling industry, paper mills and other local early Neenah industries and the working lives of the time period. Additionally, the development of early organizations and infrastructure are explored, such as the opening of the community’s hospital and the emergence of service and civic organizations. The exhibit asks its visitors to think about what they will do for their home town. This project is part of our Working Lives Project.

Shakespeare in the State Parks, Season Three: The Comedy of Errors |$1,616 awarded to Summit Player’s Theatre (Wisconsin State Parks)

Support from WHC will help this seven-member traveling theatre company produce free workshops and performances this summer in Wisconsin State Parks. A 75-minute version of Shakespeare’s The Comedy of Errors will be performed for park visitors, plus a 45-minute educational workshop on Shakespearean history, language and characters will be conducted prior to each performance.

Surviving Terezin: A Holocaust Education Mini Series | $2,000 awarded to Nathan & Ester Pelz Holocaust Education Resource Center in Milwaukee

HERC will use WHC funding to put on an educational miniseries using art therapy, the history of dance, and the testimony of a Danish Holocaust survivor who was interred at Theresienstadt (Terezin) in Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia, to explore the features of the “model camp.” This program, aimed at teenagers and adults, shows how the camp was used as propaganda to dispel suspicions about rumored mass murder in the ghettos and concentration camps. The camp house intellectuals and fine artists among its inmates and would be remembered as a site of arts, music, theater and dance created in resistance to Nazism, and the series explores as well the loss of this talent to the Holocaust. This project is part of our Focus on Race and Ethnicity.

Native American and Sámi Cultural Connections in Education | $2,000 awarded to Wisconsin Indian Education Association in Lac Du Flambeau

With the assistance of WHC, the Wisconsin Indian Education Association will bring Sámi musician and indigenous rights activist Sofia Jannok from Sweden to the organization’s annual conference in Lac Du Flambeau in May. Jannok will focus on how education can lead to indigenous cultural sovereignty and self-determination. The program will expose teachers and students to an international indigenous celebrity and role model, while providing firsthand and experiential learning opportunities that place indigenous issues into both local and global perspectives while addressing racism against Native peoples. This project is part of our Focus on Race and Ethnicity.

Major Grants Awarded in 2017

The Sounds of Eau Claire History Harvest | $9,960 to University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire

This project will document and share the roots and cultural dimensions of a recent musical renaissance in Eau Claire, as the community has reinvented itself as a “Music City” built on indie rock, festivals, and UW Eau Claire’s nationally-acclaimed jazz program. Through an open call “history harvest,” community members will contribute personal and family stories, artifacts, and documents for preservation. This will help build and document the community’s history of music, which will be interpreted and made available to the public through presentations, musical performances, podcasts, a digital collection, and digital exhibits.

Wisconsin Reads The Round House | $9,999 to UW-Colleges in Rice Lake

This project will explore cultural differences and divisions in Wisconsin communities through the lens of Louise Erdrich’s book The Round House. The story explores the story of a 13 year old Ojibwe boy who witnesses his mother’s sexual assault. It opens a discussion of the impacts of sexual assault on a Native American family and community that will include book and film discussions, literary readings, exhibits, writing, storytelling, and indigenous cooking demonstrations among other activities. Activities will occur in communities that are home to UW-Colleges, including Rice Lake, Baraboo, Hayward, Marshfield, Waukesha and Milwaukee. WHC funds will help pay the travel and honoraria for discussants, including Erdrich.

Circles of Faith Discussion Series | $9,461 to Wisconsin Institute for Public Policy and Service in Wausau

This WIPPS project involves facilitated “story circle” discussions on key themes to highlight the common ground among people regardless of religion or denomination. The project hopes that by encouraging people of different faith back grounds to participate in discussion around themes, and to tell stories in safe spaces, these spaces for civil discourse could help those of opposing backgrounds come to understand one another. The project intentionally is reaching out to multiple faith traditions as well as those with no religious affiliation, in addition to drawing in more than 50 clergy from multiple faith traditions in the area.

Talking Spirits XIX: Forest Hill Cemetery Tour in Madison | $7,556 to Wisconsin Veterans Museum Foundation

Talking Spirits showcases Madison’s role during the Civil War through a living history performance by four re-enactors who relate different perspectives on the Civil War as part of a walking tour of the cemetery. The WHC is happy to again support this program.

Deliberative Dialogue and Youth Voice | $9,500 to Parents for Public Schools – Milwaukee.

WHC is supporting an expansion of a previously funded pilot project that engages Milwaukee Public Schools students in deliberative dialogue around the question, “what can communities do to help youth succeed?” Working with UW-Milwaukee’s Center for Community-Based Learning, Leadership and Research, the program trains students to facilitate dialogues with ther school communities and create digital stories based on the dialogues for presentation at a public showcase. The project is intended to empower students, and given them the tools to see multiple perspectives on an issue and advocate for solutions to real-world problems.

Nature of Culture | $10,000 to Neighborhood House of Milwaukee 

Low-income, underserved Milwaukee youth will engage in cultural explorations and focused education activities that examine how the natural world has affected different cultures over time, thanks to a grant from WHC. Funds will enable summer camp programs to infuse traditional and contemporary cultural experience as children learn about the history, art, language and customs of ethnic groups from Africa, Southeast Asia and Pacific Islanders, Latin America, and Native American Woodland tribal groups.

Folksongs of Another America: The Enduringly Diverse Upper Midwest | $4,800 to Folklore Village (Dodgeville)

WHC is please to support a day of celebrating the folk music of our region through lecture/conversations, polka performances, film and workshops in addition to a polka dance. The program revolves around the Grammy-nominated, multi-media “Folk Songs of Another America: Field Recordings from the Upper Midwest 1937-1946” by James P. Leary, Richard March’s “Polka Heartland: Why the Midwest Loves to Polka” and the reissue of Franz Rickaby’s “Ballads and Songs of the Shanty Boy,” updated and re-named “The Pinery Boys.”

Untold Stories Digital Magazine (Zine) Pilot | $10,000 to LOTUS Legal Clinic, Inc.  (Milwaukee)

WHC has proudly supported the Untold Stories project that gives survivors of gender-based violence and human trafficking the skills to transform personal trauma into powerful messages for advocacy and change in culture. The project involves a writing workshop and response artwork that helps restore the voices of survivors. This pilot project involves publishing a zine that showcases the writing and artwork from the past five years plus the upcoming session of Untold Stories in a compilation that includes essays from the fields of literature, art therapy and the law addressed by the workshop.

Ex Fabula Fellowship | $10,000 to Ex Fabula (Milwaukee)

With WHC support, the Ex Fabula Fellowship will engage Milwaukeeans in meaningful, community-led dialogue about race and equity – some of the most pressing issues in the Greater Milwaukee area. The project involves recruiting 25 adults who will come together to craft personal stories about race and equity to be shared at 12 free, interactive outreach performances around the Greater Milwaukee region.  An audience sharing component allows the audience to reflect on and share their own stories through facilitated small group dialogues.

Color-Brave Photo Gallery: Black and Brown Faces, a new narrative | $9,604 to FIT Oshkosh 

FIT Oshkosh, which delivers racial equity programs, education and workshops in the Fox Valley Area will use WHC funds to gather the stories of people of color from the area to celebrate their own stories and share them through facilitated discussions. The project aims to give voice to complexities and details of lived experience that dominant culture narratives may reduce or silence.

The Land We Share Community Engagement Initiative | $10,000 to UW-Whitewater

“The Lands We Share” initiative of the Wisconsin Farms Oral History Project, housed at UW-Whitewater, aims to engage communities in a dialogue about agricultural history and culturally diverse connections to land and farming in Milwaukee County, Jefferson County and several communities in Northeast Wisconsin with an exhibit, web tool and community conversations. WHC funds will help support a pop-up exhibit used to help spark a dialogue about the history of farming and food production in Wisconsin and solicit participation in community conversations.

UntitledTown Book and Author Festival | $10,000 awarded to Untitled Town Co.

This inaugural Green Bay literary festival slated for April 28-30th is intended to be a broad spectrum cultural festival that will feature diverse topics of interest to both readers and writers. Dozen of events are programmed across more than a dozen venues in downtown Green Bay, with one foot in the traditional book culture from printing demos to bookbinding workshops, and another solidly in the 21st century with program including online marketing classes for authors.

Heritage Days: Get Hooked on History! | $7.962 awarded to Friends of Fred Smith, Inc

WHC is pleased to again support the Friends of Fred Smith with the 6th annual Heritage Days event at Wisconsin Concrete Park. This two day event spends one day providing important hands on learning for fourth graders from schools throughout Price County, and a second day open to the public with additional exhibits, traditional and ethnic music, interactive demonstrations of skills, artifacts and tools. The success of this festival has continued to grow and this year it will expand the representation of tribal nations, focusing on lifestyles before the arrival of European settlers. This project is part of our Focus on Race and Ethnicity.

Native Milwaukee: A Here at Home Cultural Tour for K-12 Educators | $10,000 awarded to Wisconsin Teacher of Local Culture 

An award of $10,000 to Wisconsin Teachers of Local Culture will enable its 2017 cultural tour for teachers. “Native Milwaukee” will focus on the urban Indian community of Milwaukee. The three-day professional development opportunity will offer 24 educators from Milwaukee and other school districts immersive experiences in local culture in order to investigate the complexities of life as a Native American in a major urban setting. The tour will expose teachers to the cultural and social assets developed and maintained by the urban Indian community in Milwaukee, as well as exposure to language programs and discussion of topics such as the Indian school mascot and logo issue. This project is part of our Focus on Race and Ethnicity.

Hands-On Wisconsin History | $10,000 awarded to Wisconsin Historical Society

This project takes Wisconsin history on the road to high-need schools in the Milwaukee Public School District where many students cannot afford opportunities to come to Madison to explore the collections of the Wisconsin Historical Society Museum. “Hands-On Wisconsin History” will put artifacts in the hands of kids, and help them visualize their own roots in Wisconsin’s past. Educators with object-based activity kits will travel to the schools to expose students to a snapshot of individuals of various ethnic backgrounds who formed Wisconsin and help students explore their own heritage.

Florence Eiseman: Designing Childhood for the American Century | $8,250 awarded to Museum of Wisconsin Art

WHC’s grant will help provide public programming, exhibition materials and a catalog of this exhibition of over 100 historic garments, photographs and objects, as well as online resources. Eiseman, a Milwaukee-based fashion designer (1899-1988) created the style of the ideal Post-War American child. The exhibit explores questions about the history of childhood, girlhood, race, accessibility, the fashion industry and elite culture in the American Century.

Civil War Living History Days Community Festival 2017 | $4523.92 awarded to Milton Historical Society

History comes alive at the Milton Historical Society’s Civil War Living History Days, May 19-21, on the grounds of the Milton House Museum. The event includes a school day that serves schools of the South Central Wisconsin region and programming over the weekend geared toward families. A grant from WHC will help Milton House add additional context to the experience of Black Americans during the Civil War period with conversations about slavery’s ramifications in modern culture and the legacy of the Underground Railroad in American society. Funds will go toward additional actors and reenactment groups that help contextualize this time period. This project is part of our Focus on Race and Ethnicity.