Vermont Humanities


Rep. John Lewis and Andrew Aydin with students in front of a schoolbus


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Image of Victor with Ginger Lee

Happy New Year and Happy Anniversary!

Today, January 1st, 2024, we celebrate our 50th anniversary with deep gratitude for our extraordinary founding leadership. We are grateful for the work of everyone who has had a hand in bringing the humanities to life in Vermont communities over the past five decades.

Support just, vibrant, and resilient Vermont communities through the humanities

This has been one of the stranger years on record for Vermont’s cultural organizations – and just one in a string of very challenging years, albeit a period filled with many lessons about improving access and inclusion. It is only with your support that we can continue to bring the humanities to street corners, town halls, libraries, and schools across Vermont. Please give now!

Vermont Humanities Receives $200k from National Endowment for the Humanities for 2023 Flood Recovery Grant Program

The Floods Cultural Recovery Fund is designed to support non-profit organizations impacted by the historic flooding in Vermont as they seek to return to providing cultural or humanities-based programming to their communities.

Richford Jr. Sr. High School Librarian Honored with Statewide Humanities Educator Award

Vermont Humanities has named Annette Goyne, a librarian at Richford Jr. Sr. High School, as its 2022 Victor R. Swenson humanities educator of the year.

Jason Reynolds stands in front of an orage curtain and speaks to a group of attendees at Middlebury College

Staff Share Their Memorable Moments from 2022

In this year-end video playlist, Vermont Humanities staffers share their most memorable moments from the last year including a visit from New York Times Best-selling author Jason Reynolds, the return to in-person Words in the Woods events, the release of the new Freedom and Unity comic, and the quiet moments in between that make our work so rewarding.

Author Sarah Henstra

YA Author Sarah Henstra to Visit Vermont for Public Vermont Reads Events

Sarah Henstra, the author of the Young Adult novel “We Contain Multitudes,” will visit Vermont from April 12-15 for a series of free events, including two in-person public talks in Essex Junction and Middlebury and a virtual discussion with a panel of Vermont high school students.

Two women walking downhill through a meadow in front of the Green Mountains

Staff Pick Their Favorite Moments from 2021

Vermont Humanities staffers describe the virtual visit to Vermont by author Angie Thomas, a humanities camp focused on indigenous knowledge, our Words in the Woods collaboration, and our Fall Conference on climate change and the humanities.

Woodstock Union High School Library Specialist Susan Piccoli

WUHSMS Librarian Honored with Statewide Humanities Educator Award

Vermont Humanities has named Susan Piccoli, the librarian for Woodstock Union High School and Middle School, as its 2021 Victor R. Swenson humanities educator of the year.

Dreaming of Timbuctoo display panel showing a woodcut of a homesteader's cabin

Humanities Grant Funds Exhibit on Black Homesteaders

“Dreaming of Timbuctoo” is a traveling exhibit that will be displayed through October at Town Hall Theatre in Middlebury, with support from a Vermont Humanities Rapid Response grant.

Vermont Reads Book Choice 2021: We Contain Multitudes by Sarah Henstra

Vermont Humanities recently announced its Vermont Reads book choice for 2021: We Contain Multitudes by Sarah Henstra.

Mi Vida, Mi Voz Connects Migrant Youth Stories and Farmworkers through Storytelling

The mastermind behind the vision of Mi Vida, Mi Voz (My Life, My Voice) is a 17-year-old senior at Hinesburg High School, Lena Ashooh of Shelburne. Her project aims to draw attention to Vermont’s migrant community and to rural youth through annual workshops. 

A Personal Gift from Anne Commire Estate

Vermont Humanities is delighted to announce the creation of the Anne Commire Fund for Women in the Humanities, created through a legacy gift of $125,000 from Anne’s estate. The fund will support projects at Vermont Humanities that focus on women writers. 

Our Complex Humanity

Our staff and board have had many complex conversations since the December announcement that the University of Vermont plans to eliminate 23 programs in the coming years, most in humanities disciplines.

Images of staffer recording a video by a lake, a group of people in a field, Duke Ellington, and The Hate U Give book cover

Staff Picks: Our Favorite Moments from 2020

Vermont Humanities staffers share their favorite moments from this sad, strange, and sometimes uplifting year. Includes clips from our Words in the Woods, First Wednesdays, Speakers Bureau, and Vermont Reads programs.

Congressman John Lewis (center) with Woodstock Union High School students in Burlington in October, 2019

Vermont Humanities Wins Award for Outstanding Public Programming

Vermont Humanities recently won one of two 2020 Schwartz Prizes for best public humanities programming in the U.S. for Vermont Reads 2019: “March: Book One.”

Christopher Kaufman Ilstrup on the steps of the Kellogg-Hubbard Library

From the Executive Director

Times are hard, but your investment in our work shows that you understand the important roles that literature, history, art, religion, philosophy, and ethics play in our daily life and in our struggle to live up to the ideals of our democracy.

Crowd standing and applauding at UVM

Emergency Grants Help Vermont Cultural Organizations Adapt to Changing Landscape

Vermont Humanities and the Vermont Arts Council have now distributed $517,500 in emergency relief grants to 81 different Vermont cultural organizations, including museums, libraries, performing arts venues, and other cultural centers.

Two actors on a stage

Vermont Arts and Cultural Organizations Project Losses in Millions

More than 100 museums, performing arts venues, libraries and other cultural centers have applied for emergency relief grants.

Children with hands together sitting at a table

Vermont Humanities and Vermont Arts Council to Aid Arts and Humanities Organizations with COVID-19 Relief

Arts and humanities organizations in Vermont facing hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic can now apply for emergency relief funding through a new partnership between Vermont Humanities and the Vermont Arts Council.

Close up of corona virus

Coronavirus and Vermont Humanities

Because Vermont Humanities partners with dozens of libraries, schools, and community centers around our state to present over 800 events each year, we will work closely with our presenting partners to monitor the situation with COVID-19 in Vermont.

Boy and girl with Vermont Reads bookmark

View Video Highlights from a Terrific Year

We had a lot of fun editing clips from our programs in 2019 into a short year-end video. We revisited John Lewis’ and Andrew Aydin’s trip to Burlington in October, our Fall Conference, Humanities Camps, First Wednesdays, the Before Your Time podcast series, and more.

Elise Guyette from Burlington Edible History

Project to Tell Immigration Stories through Food Markets

Vermont Humanities recently gave a $2,000 grant to Historic New England to support the “More than a Market” project, which will explore the experiences of new Americans through the stories of past and present-day food markets owned by immigrants.

Victor R. Swenson in front of old Humanities Council building

Aiming High from the Start

Vermont Humanities was founded 45 years ago in 1974. We recently sat down with Victor R. Swenson, the organization’s first Executive Director, to hear his recollections of our early years.

Image of Peter Burns reading a story book to young boys.

Read with Me Helps Build Skills in Fathers and Children

A storyteller’s visits to the Munt Family Room are supported by our Read with Me program, in which facilitators share the importance and the joy of reading picture books with young children. 

Image of table read for veterans play

Female Veterans Book Group Inspires Deployed Play

Valley News writer Nicola Smith attended two sessions of a Veterans Book Group for women. “I knew there were women in the military, but I hadn’t really met any or listened to them talk about their experiences,” said Smith, who lives in Tunbridge. “I thought the stories were so compelling that they would make a great theater piece.”

Vermont Humanities*** December 3, 2021