Vermont Humanities

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Using the humanities, we connect with people across Vermont to create just, vibrant, and resilient communities and to inspire a lifelong love of learning.

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Attend

Come enjoy 400+ humanities
events held across Vermont.

upcoming events

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Watch

Miss an event or discussion? Watch a recording on your
own time.

recorded events

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Listen

Dive into our two humanities podcasts to engage and learn about new perspectives.

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Book

Bring a speaker or event to your library, community, or school.

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Featured Events

Mr. Punch and Judy stand in front of a wall full of posters with a trumpet, smiling
Live Event

Modern Times Theater: The Perils of Mr. Punch

The library’s Summer Kickoff BBQ features Modern Times Theater with their live Punch and Judy show, updated for the 21st century. Allow Mr. Punch to remove your bad mood, in this absurdist delight for four out of the five senses. Watch as Judy tames unruly plumbing while avoiding the jaws of the carnivore du jour! It’s a melodrama of epically small proportions, and it’s so funny that you’ll forget to take out your phone for at least the first half hour. It’s a low-tech old-time spectacle, as entertaining to the masses of today as it was three hundred years ago.

Image of Jesse
Live Event

Finding Jesse: A Fugitive from Slavery in Vermont

“Finding Jesse: A Fugitive from Slavery in Vermont” traces Jesse’s life from enslavement in North Carolina to freedom in Vermont. His story is told through letters in the collection at Rokeby Museum and documents at the North Carolina State Archives. The illustrated talk brings the narrative of one slave out of anonymity and explores his life and pursuit of freedom.

Image of Vermont field in winter
Live Event

Vermont, 1800 and Froze to Death: The Cold Year of 1816

1816 has long been known as the year without summer. Vermonters still call it “1800 and Froze to Death,” a year of frosts every month, dark skies, and mysterious lights that caused a widespread belief that a higher power was displeased. In this talk, historian Howard Coffin includes scores of anecdotes on the dark year of failed crops, scarce food, and religious revival.

Painting of two girls in 1950s San Francisco in a corner under a streetlamp
Live Event

Vermont Reads: Last Night at the Telegraph Club Discussion

All are welcome to the John G. McCullough Free Library for a discussion of Malinda Lo’s Last Night at the Telegraph Club, the 2023 Vermont Reads selection. Refreshments will be available.

Silhouette pen-and-ink drawing of the historical lesbian couple Charity and Sylvia
Live Event

Comics and Queerness in Vermont and Beyond

Vermont Cartoonist Laureate Tillie Walden presents a look at the intersection of indie comics with queer identity through her many graphic novels—from science fiction to memoir to historical retelling. Explore process and power through visual narrative and learn why comics are relevant to Vermonters and beyond.

Live Event

Art and the Discomfort Zone

A five-week seminar focused on art that challenges cultural norms about what is “pretty” to spur creative growth. Former instructor at the Art Institute of California, Pim Volpi, takes participants through various artistic movements, culminating in making pieces inspired by the concepts presented. Open to young adults & up.

Meetings on Saturdays, July 6, 2024 through August 3, 2024

Live Event

Ellen “LN” Bethea: Words in the Woods

Ellen “LN” Bethea has long been inspired by Desmond Tutu’s words- “Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.” For over 20 years, LN has volunteered locally. Whether reading for library Story Times or setting up tents for art events, each “little bit” is intended to actualize accessibility and build community. LN volunteers in hopes of developing nurturing spaces were creativity and connections thrive. LN has performed as a Spoken Word Poet across Vermont from Morrisville to Brattleboro.

Extreme Survival book cover, with a snow-covered mountain in the background
Live Event

Extreme Survival: Lessons from Those Who Triumphed Against All Odds

We have all heard amazing stories of survival that rendered us awestruck. But too often, we don’t realize the wealth of information we can learn from people who make it to the other side of life’s most daunting challenges. In this talk, New York Times bestselling author Michael J. Tougias chronicles harrowing survival stories and then discusses lessons to learn from these experience.

Comics in World History and Cultures in text over a collage of comic book illustrations
Live Event

Comics in World History and Cultures

A whirlwind tour of comics around the world and throughout human history! Join award-winning cartoonist and educator Marek Bennett (M.Ed.) as we explore and explain comics from many corners of the globe — with special attention to how people use sequential visual narratives to share ideas, information, and meaning.

Image of old postcard of the Connecticut River
Live Event

400 Miles Down the Connecticut River

New England’s longest river, the Connecticut, is rich in history. Michael Tougias, author of fourteen books about New England, offers a narrated slide presentation that takes the viewer down the entire 410 miles of the river, discussing history from the days of loggers, Indian Wars, steamships, and canals.

A white house or school building with lights on inside
Live Event

Memoir Writing

Discover why we should tell our own stories and the best forms for doing so, both for an audience and personal enrichment.

Award winning writer/educator Kate Youngdahl-Stauss, whose work has appeared on PBS, History and National Geographic, leads a five part course for young adults through super seniors.

Meeting on Thursdays, July 11, 2024 through August 8, 2024. $100 tuition, scholarships available!

Live Event

Verandah Porche: Words in the Woods

Verandah Porche works as a poet-in-residence, performer, and writing partner. Based in rural Vermont on the notable commune Total Loss Farm, since 1968, she has published Sudden Eden (Verdant Books), The Body’s Symmetry (Harper and Row) and Glancing Off (See Through Books). She has read her work on NPR stations, in the Vermont State House, and at the John Simon Guggenheim Museum. Verandah creates poems for moments and milestones.

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Our 2023 Project Grants supported The Vermont Symphony Orchestra’s Jukebox quartet partnership with Haitian/Vermont painter Julio Desmont for three concerts exploring migration and the intersection of art, geography, and history.

Learn more about our Project Grants

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Our Programs

Vermont Humanities has developed a broad range of programs that serves Vermonters of all ages and backgrounds.  In 2023, 68,529 people took part in our programs across the state, and we held 899 activities, either hosted by us or by our community partners.

Learn More about Our Programs

The Anne Commire Fund for Women in the Humanities supports projects that focus on women writers. Anne (at far left) is shown with the cast of her play “Melody Sisters” in 1984.

The fund was created through a legacy gift of $125,000 from Anne’s estate, one of the largest individual gifts ever made to Vermont Humanities.

Learn more about this gift

Support Our Work

By giving to Vermont Humanities, you support education for people of all ages through early literacy programs, Humanities Camps for middle-school children, and programs held in libraries, community centers, schools, and correctional facilities.

Learn More about Supporting Us

Vermont Humanities*** January 13, 2015