Maine Humanities Council

About Us

The Maine Humanities Council is a private nonprofit organization, Maine’s affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. It promotes strong communities and informed citizens by providing Mainers with opportunities to explore the power and pleasure of ideas.

What are the humanities?

The humanities represent important traditions of human knowledge. Unlike the sciences, which are interested in the laws and patterns of nature, the humanities are concerned with the events of history, social institutions, works of literature and art, and systems of belief—creations of human beings that constitute human culture. The humanities include the academic disciplines of history, literature, philosophy, language, ethics, art history and criticism, and jurisprudence, to name a few.

Who is the Maine Humanities Council?

The Council is comprised of volunteer Board Members, who work in partnership with the staff, to implement and ensure quality programming, outreach and development consistent with the Council Mission.

What does the Maine Humanities Council do?

Since 1975, the Maine Humanities Council has used literature, history, philosophy and the arts to provide opportunities for people to come together in conversation that crosses social, economic and cultural barriers. We continue to use the humanities as a tool for social change and to provide cultural enrichment opportunities through programs and grants for Mainers of all ages and abilities.

Where does the Maine Humanities Council offer programs?

We offer programs in libraries, hospitals, correctional institutions and various other sites in communities throughout the state. See our map for details.

What’s the Maine Center for the Book?

The Maine Center for the Book, an affiliate of the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress, is the programming arm of the Maine Humanities Council. The Center encompasses programs for adult new readers in New Books, New Readers; library book discussion programs through Let’s Talk About It; Stories for Life, programs for probationers and probation officers; seminars for avid readers and professionals where a focus on works of literature and history enriches civic, professional and personal understanding; and humanities programs for teachers.

How is the Council funded?

The Maine Humanities Council is a private, nonprofit organization with a budget of $1.7 million. Foundations, corporations and individuals are essential supporters of the Council; less than one-third of the funding is provided by a base grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. In fiscal year 2000, the State of Maine provided some funding to the Council for the first time through the New Century Program. The New Century Program is a collaboration of seven statewide arts and cultural agencies and organizations that make grants throughout Maine.

How do I locate or contact the Maine Humanities Council?

Our staff offices are located at 674 Brighton Avenue in Portland, Maine. You can contact us by phone, fax and/or email, or drive here and visit us. Visitors are welcome between the hours of 9:00 am and 5:00 pm.