50 Years of Humanities Tennessee

“Engaging in the stories of the present and the past to build a better future for Tennesseans.”


To foster community and civility in Tennessee through public programs that examine and reflect upon ideas, stories, history, arts, and culture.


For the past 50 years, Humanities Tennessee – the staff and board, volunteers, donors, and community partners – all of us together – have worked to foster community and civility. We have examined and reflected on our stories and ideas through arts, history, and culture.

And that looks like…

  • Grant funding to support the cultural infrastructure of Tennessee
  • Almost 15 years of online literary content from Chapter 16
  • Traveling exhibits and neighborhood story projects
  • Young writers honing their skills and building their confidence
  • And, 35 years of shared stories through the Southern Festival of Books

These first 50 years are just the beginning . This year, as we reflect, we will also look ahead and imagine the next 50 years. How may our work together today foster a future in which Tennesseans seek knowledge, share stories, and unite with empathy to create more connected communities?

Humanities Tennessee is a non-profit organization that fosters community and civility in Tennessee through engaging programs that examine and reflect upon ideas, stories, history, arts and culture. In addition to our own programming, we partner with a variety of organizations across the state who are similarly encouraging community dialogue and activities that push us to think deeper and develop mutual respect and understanding for each other.

Humanities Tennessee, formerly the Tennessee Humanities Council, is the state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). Founded in 1973, we continue to develop ways to connect, learn, and grow as a community.

Leading the state in public humanities.

Humanities Tennessee conducts and supports public humanities programming across the state. We provide opportunities for Tennesseans to engage with our state’s diverse stories – found in literature, history, arts and culture – to encourage critical thinking and civility. We also work with museums and community organizations to strengthen the infrastructure of Tennessee’s cultural institutions. Through our programs, grants, and media partnerships, we provide approximately 500,000 Tennesseans with humanities resources, content, and programming each year.

Between 2013 and 2017, we supplied 9,387 free books through our Student Reader Day program, reviewed over 1,250 books on Chapter 16, and hosted more than 1,300 authors and 750 book vendors at the Southern Festival of Books. We gave away $546,770 through grants, awards, scholarships, and partner programs. Grantees and partners matched our support through significant local investment totaling more than $1.5 million for public humanities programs throughout the state.

Annual Reports.

HT Annual Report 2021-2022

HT Annual Report 2020-2021

HT Annual Report 2018-2019

HT Annual Report 2017

 HT Annual Report 2016

HT Annual Report 2015

HT Annual Report 2014

HT Annual Report 2013

HT Annual Report 2012