Spring 2021 General Grant Recipients Announced

Humanities TN makes funding investments in all three Grand Divisions of the state to support the efforts of cultural, educational, and community-based organizations providing public humanities programs. The grant funds awarded to organizations are leveraged for additional community investment, including financial support and volunteer time. The organizers of these projects anticipate engaging more than one million people in Tennessee history, culture, arts, and more.

“We are encouraged and inspired by the thoughtfulness and quality of these projects, especially for the impact they aim to have on communities around Tennessee. Whether they are focused on history, archaeology, performing arts, or popular music, all of these programs will reach audiences with opportunities for deeper reflection on how we experience life and community together. Humanities Tennessee is enthusiastic to support this work in the coming year.”  Tim Henderson – Executive Director, Humanities Tennessee

These eight organizations and their projects are the 2021 general grant awardees. Follow HT on social media for updates about these grant recipients and their projects.

General grants are awarded through an annual competition. Any nonprofit, institution, or government agency may apply.


Global Education Center

Black Arts in America

GEC will engage a multidisciplinary team of arts scholars to consider the contributions of black American artists and explore the impact on our nation of black artists, including literary, visual, film, folk, and performing arts. The project will use multiple genres to engage a wide range of Tennesseans in a variety of venues over a nine-month period.


Tennessee Historical Society

Tennessee 101: Women in the Progressive Era & Reconstruction to the Late 20th Century

Tennessee Historical Society will host six virtual “classes” covering Reconstruction to the late 20th century, followed by a separate series of ten-twelve exploring Tennessee women in the Progressive Era, 1890s-1920s. The project includes a distinguished and diverse range of scholars, ensuring a wide variety of stories and perspectives. Each lecture discussion is recorded and available for subsequent viewing along with supporting materials.


Friends of Dunbar Cave

Dunbar Cave State Park Virtual Cave Tour

This project entails creating a 360-degree virtual reality film touring Dunbar Cave, making the experience available to those who are unable to participate in a traditional cave tour. A park ranger, archaeologist, and indigenous historian descended from Mississippians will guide the viewers. The tour views Mississippian dark zone cave art, stoke marks, and previously unprotected, hence vandalized, portions of the cave.


Contemporary Performing Arts in Chattanooga

Cultural Cross Ties

Eight artists each from Chattanooga and sister city Givatayim, Israel, will virtually convene to share experiences and explore the significance, struggles, and resilience of being working artists during the pandemic, culminating in collaborative artmaking among cross-cultural pairings.  The conversations and processes will be recorded and crafted into a film to be screened and discussed at the Chattanooga Library.  Video will also be shown at the Chattanooga airport alongside interactive features.


Songbirds Foundation

Songbirds Presents “The Impressions”

Songbirds Foundation will create the Songbirds Museum’s first rotating exhibit, exploring the career of The Impressions and their connection to the Civil Rights Movement.  It will include the group’s Chattanooga roots, oral history interviews with local, original members, their experiences of discrimination, and the impact of the hit song “People Get Ready,’ among other themes. The exhibit will be on view for a one-year period.


University of Tennessee (Center for Children’s & YA Literature)

The Suffrage Movement in Children’s Literature: A Traveling Lit Kit for Tennessee Teachers

This program will provide kits to 24 classrooms as a resource for high quality, historically accurate children’s literature and guides to help teachers meet the suffrage standard for elementary social studies.  Kits include 13 books and will go to three high-needs schools in eight regions across the state. Teachers will access the project website, participate in professional development, and complete pre/post assessments.


Historic Cragfont

Her Story: The Women of Historic Castalian Springs 

Historic Cragfont seeks to develop a more authentic and engaging women’s history interpretation plan and will contract with a scholar to direct the development of a plan to interpret women’s history at Cragfont, Wynnewood, and Hawthorne Hill, the early 19th century properties of Historic Castalian Springs. The plan will be used to create a variety of public programs including historic house tours, exhibits and more. The plan will include the enslaved and free, black and white, rich and oppressed women whose stories are heretofore eclipsed by the frontier narrative.


Centennial Park Conservancy

The Antikythera Mechanism 

A new exhibition will feature the Antikythera Mechanism, an ancient analog computer recovered in 1901 from a Greek shipwreck and dating from 205-87 BCE. A wooden case contained 37 bronze gears and inscriptions indicating an operation manual and was used to track astronomical features among other things. The exhibit will include a reproduction—how the device would have looked when created—and a 3D printed replica of it as found on the ocean floor.  A series of three virtual lecture discussions will explore the study of this ancient artifact, underwater archaeology, and more.