Projects Funded in 2018

Here you will find brief descriptions of public humanities projects that received grants from the WHC in 2018. 


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 2018.


Mini Grant Awards awarded in 2018

Voting for a Change – The Impact of the 19th Amendment on Our Community | $2,000 to Neenah Historical Society

WHC funds will help the Neenah Historical Society create an exhibit and supporting programming to celebrate the passage of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The exhibit will highlight the struggle, the process and the outcome of this monumental moment in our history and how the community and the lives of women have changed since then.

Eighth Annual Tony Woiak History Festival | $2,000 to Washburn Heritage Association

As co-sponsors, the Washburn Heritage Association and the Washburn Area Historical Society again present a series of four history lectures featuring regional topics presented by local experts.

Of Time and Place: The River Bend Trail | $1,628 to T.B. Scott Free Library in Merrill

This project will help Merrill explore its changing cultural identity as it faces demographic and social change. The project seeks to build community and increase citizen engagement. This planning project will culminate in a community exploration of the city’s heritage and cultural landscape.

Film and Discussion to Build Racial Healing | $1,222 to Lake Country Unitarian Universalist Church in Waukesha

WHC funds will be used for the screening of the film, Blood is at the Doorstep, a documentary about the fatal shooting by a police officer of an unarmed man diagnosed with schizophrenia in Milwaukee and includes a panel discussion including members of the victim’s family and a mental health advocate in the pursuit of building racial understanding and healing. This project is part of our Focus on Race and Ethnicity.

Wisconsin Film Festival’s Screens for Teens | $2,000 to UW-Madison Division of Arts

The project brings high-quality and thought-provoking documentary film and filmmakers to high schools across Wisconsin. Study materials provided help teachers prepare students to discuss questions and issues addressed in the film.

Project Cultural Awareness | 1,095 to Marinette and Oconto Counties Literacy Council. (Coleman)

This project brings students and tutors together to learn the language and culture of food traditions from the students’ backgrounds. In addition to the services of a humanities scholar to help bring the cultural elements into the project, WHC funds paid for books for students and tutors to help.

Dane County Performance Series | 2,000 to Black Earth Institute. (Black Earth)

WHC funds support bringing four noted scholars and writers whose works engage social justice issues involving immigration, Native American victims of violence and environment into public dialogue through a reading and performance series.

Celebrating Water with an Archaeological Dig |  $2,000 to Crossroads at Big Creek  (Sturgeon Bay)

This project supports the Middle School Archaeological Dig conducted annually at Crossroads at Big Creek for Sturgeon Bay School District. In conjunction with Celebrate Water, a year-long series of activities celebrating Door County waters, the project raises awareness of water issues by incorporating these subjects into the pre-existing archaeological project and explores how prehistoric societies used local water for drinking, cooking, fishing, and transportation. The grant helps expand the existing program to neighboring school districts’ 6thgraders.

Southeast Wisconsin Festival of Books | $2,000 to University of Wisconsin-Waukesha  (Waukesha)

With the help of WHC funds, the Southeast Festival of Books, held November 2-3, will host local and national authors for panels, keynotes, musical performances, art projects and exhibits. The theme this year, American Stories, embraces the diversity that makes us American.

Talking Spirits XX: Forest Hill Cemetery Tour | $2,000 to Wisconsin Veterans Museum Foundation

We are pleased to again support the Wisconsin Veterans Museum’s Talking Spirits cemetery tour. In addition to living history tours that annually serve more than 1500 school children, there are several tours open to the general public. Performers highlight the lives of Wisconsinites’ experiences at war through four vignettes. In honor of the 100-year anniversary of World War I Armistice, the vignettes include two multigenerational stories of fathers who fought in the Civil War and their children who supported the efforts of World War I.

Jim Veninga Lecture on Religion and Society featuring Dr. Ed Stetzer: “Christians in the Age of Outrage” | $2,000 to Wisconsin Institute for Public Policy and Service(Wausau)

This series of interfaith dialogues includes follow-up discussions and interfaith events to explore the issues raised by the speakers. This event is a “kickoff” to Circles of Faith dialogues that have been ongoing in an effort to break down religious stereotypes and promote understanding. WHC funds are for a speaker who represents viewpoints that had not often been part of the discussion before.

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

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 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 is partnering 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 come away feeling 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

Waldemar Ager: Conversations about Immigrant Identity  | $5,155 to Waldemar Ager Association (Eau Claire)

The Waldemar Ager Association’s explorations of Ager’s voice as a Norwegian immigrant explores the kinds of questions that face immigrants to the United States today, and the importance of contributions from the cultures of origin. This project meets our focus on race and ethnicity.

Roots, Shoots, and Blooms: Oral Histories of Adults in Dane County, Wisconsin Who are Intellectually and Developmentally Disabled.$10,000 to Community Support Network (Madison)

Intellectually and developmentally disabled individuals have historically found their voices usurped by other well-intentioned adult caretakers. This project realizes a desire of these individuals to share their own stories with the community. This oral history project documents the struggles and joys of their early lives (roots), experiences of profound self-growth (shoots) and their personal successes based on self-determination and choice (blooms).

The Power of Poetry: Forge Workshops inspired by the play LOCOMOTION  | $6,450 to First Stage  (Milwaukee)

LOCOMOTION tells the story of an 11-year-old boy who uses poetry to help him work through trauma he has endured. This project will involve workshops for audiences of all ages to reflect on the story and explore — through dramatic scene work and expression, group discussion and spoken word — how poetry and spoken word can provide positive coping skills for building empathy and connection to community.

Vedem: The Underground Magazine of the Terrezin Ghetto  | $10,000 to Jewish Museum Milwaukee (Milwaukee)

Some of World War II’s youngest resistance fighters were a group of 13-15-year-old- boys who risked their lives to create an underground magazine secretly chronicling real life in a Nazi “show camp.” This project brings the traveling Smithsonian exhibit about their resistance to its Midwestern premiere. This project meets our focus on race and ethnicity.

Art Start Portrait Project  | $10,000 to Milwaukee Board of School Directors (Milwaukee Public Schools) (Milwaukee)

This project offers Black and Latino young men the opportunity to explore and portray the complex narratives about their lives, asking the world to see them for how they choose to be seen. Art Start will work with 30 Milwaukee teens to create visions of their future that will be displayed in galleries and public spaces throughout Milwaukee. The portraits offer communities the opportunity to see beyond the statistics and circumstances of their lives to see the essence of complex, self-determined young men in pursuit of self-discovery. The project meets our focus on race and ethnicity.

Latino Wisconsin (film)  | $10,000 to Milwaukee Film (Milwaukee)

WHC funds will help finish this documentary film that tells the story of the impact and importance of the fastest growing population in Wisconsin and how Latinos are changing the face and future of the state. The film explores how the labor of immigrant workers has supported key agricultural and manufacturing industries in the state. Additionally, Latinos are bringing new life, energy, business startups and diversity to the state. This project meets our focus on race and ethnicity.

GREEN: Reimagine Environment  | $9,900 to St. Norbert College. (De Pere)

St. Norbert College’s Cassandra Voss Center is spending this academic year exploring “what is our environment: is it as simple as nature parks and oceans, or as complex as environmental racism, climate change, food deserts and land rights?” WHC funds will help support diverse activities and public programming from a farmer-in-residence to poets and writers and multiple experiential opportunities in between.

Untold Stories: Justice Through Witness. A More Impactful Ripple Effect for Survivor Advocacy  | $10,000 to LOTUS Legal Clinic (Milwaukee)

Untold Stories gives survivors of gender-based violence and human trafficking the skills to transform personal trauma into powerful messages for advocacy and change in culture. WHC funds will help Untold Stories in this transition year as it continues to hold writing workshops that help participants testify to their experience, publish its Zine of writing and related art and help survivors re-gain their voices.

Plants & Place: Vanishing Flora in the Age of Climate Change | $7,500 to Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts & Letters  (Madison)

WHC will help fund talks, workshops and a publication in conjunction with a James Watrous Gallery exhibit of artworks inspired by how changes in plant life shape our sense of place in Wisconsin. Public programming will explore the impacts on the human experience and climate-driven change in Wisconsin and nature journaling among other activities.

One Community, Many Stories  |  $10,000 to Friends of the Monona Public Library  (Monona)

WHC support will allow Monona Public Library to dedicate staff oversee a community oral history project. The project comes as Monona’s demographics are changing and community members fear the loss of stories of its character. Stories from all ages will be collected and made accessible, with handmade books, radio programs and spoken work performances, as well as the capture of these stories for archival purposes.

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.