Over $4,000 supporting FIve projects across maine

Mechanics' Hall

Participatory Arts at Mechanics' Hall



Museum L-A

The Mainer Project: A Community Conversation



Penobscot Marine Museum

From Maine to Around the World



Halcyon Music

After All: A Musical Reflection on the Trajectories of Our Nation



University of Southern Maine Art Galleries

Braiding Circles



Over $14,000 supporting eight projects across maine

Maine Multicultural Center



Saco School District



Frenchman Bay Library



Literacy Volunteers of Kennebec






Holycon Music



Portland Public Library



Portland Ovations



MWPA is partnering on MHC's statewide community read

Starting this year, the MHC and Maine State Library are joining up Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance to make Read ME even better. The Read ME summer reading program has always aimed to elevate the work of up-and-coming Maine authors–in part by enriching the ways we bring together established Maine authors with folks just getting their voices out. We are excited to deepen our relationship with the vibrant community of Maine writers through this partnership. 

“MWPA is happy to join with MHC and the Maine State Library on the Read ME program! We have long admired this program in which each year one wonderful Maine writer picks two Maine books (and two writers!) to focus on in the coming year through events and reading groups at participating libraries throughout the state. Maine is lucky to have so many writers who live here and are inspired by this place in all kinds of ways, and this program helps us all discover new work.

Gibson Fay-LeBlanc, MWPA Executive Director 

Colin Woodard chosen as recommending author for Read ME 2023

Colin Woodard is the author of six books including American Nations: A History of the Eleven Rival Regional Cultures of North America; Union: The Struggle to Forge the Story of United States Nationhood; and The Lobster Coast: Rebels, Rusticators and the Struggle for a Forgotten Frontier. He’s on the staff of the Portland Press Herald -- where he received a George Polk Award and was a Pulitzer Prize finalist -- and is a fellow at the Pell Center for International Relations and Public Policy.

His work has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Economist, SmithsonianPolitico and dozens of other publications. Born in Waterville, he is a graduate of Mt. Abram High School, Tufts University and the University of Chicago.

Woodard's book selections for Read ME will be announced in January 2023

Join us to celebrate our biennial prizes for 2022
Thursday, April 7, 2022 | 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm

Constance H. Carlson Public Humanities Prize 

This prize recognizes a Maine resident who is involved in the public humanities in Maine and is using the humanities to: 1) foster agency, connection and engagement; 2) emphasize and/or increase diversity, equity, inclusion, accessibility, and justice; and 3) represent or engage with communities that have traditionally had the least access to humanities resources. 

Photo: Jen Hoffer


Joseph Jackson is Director of Leadership Development at Maine Inside Out, an organization that uses original theater to build community, develop youth leadership, and create dialogue both inside and outside of Long Creek Youth Development Center, Maine’s juvenile correction facility. He is also Executive Director of Maine Prisoner Advocacy Coalition, and Campaign Advisor of Maine Youth Justice. In 1995, Mr. Jackson was convicted of manslaughter, and served 19 years. During that period, he founded the Maine prison chapter of the NAACP, and earned associate’s and bachelor’s degrees, both summa cum laude, from the University of Maine at Augusta. When Mr. Jackson enrolled in the University of Southern Maine’s Stonecoast MFA program in Creative Writing, he was the first prisoner in the state to be selected for a graduate program. In 2015, he earned a Master’s Degree from University of Southern Maine. A published poet, Joseph Jackson was on the Advisory Board of Freedom & Captivity, a humanities project that examines the impact of incarceration and offers public opportunities to imagine alternatives. In a 2018 article for The Guardian, Mr. Jackson wrote: “I do this work because years of liberal studies and distance allowed me to make sense of the unfathomable world I experienced. It is a world in which abuse is relentless. It defies comprehension.” 

Carol Dana  was appointed the language master of the Cultural and Historic Preservation Department for the Penobscot Nation in 2002. This came after decades of her study and preservation efforts of the Penobscot language, which began in 1982 when she served as a research assistant to Dr. Frank T. Seibert, who created a written system and published a dictionary of the Penobscot language, which, at this point had been almost entirely destroyed by the impact of government-run residential schools. Ms. Dana’s work on the Penobscot Dictionary was the start of a decades-long mission to preserve and share the Penobscot language as a living language. Ms. Dana achieved a Master’s in Education, studied language immersion at St. Thomas College in Fredericton, New Brunswick, completed workshops from the Indigenous Language Institute, and received a certificate on Second Language Learning methods from the University of Maine. Today, she teaches widely in her community, especially in schools and to young children. Ms. Dana also collected and edited stories of Gluskabe, the legendary trickster, and published them as“Still They Remember Me”: Penobscot Transformer Tales, Volume 1—in Penobscot and English, with art from the tribal community. Ms. Dana and her extraordinary work were recently featured in a New Yorker article about the colonization of languages. 

MHC Facilitator Prize

The MHC Facilitator Prize celebrates a facilitator who demonstrates depth and excellence in their facilitation practice and in their commitment to engaging and supporting Maine’s communities through that practice. 

Wendy Allen, a coordinator for the Maine Prisoner Advocacy Coalition, has been an MHC facilitator since 2020, starting while in residence at the Southern Maine Women’s Re-Entry Center. She continues to facilitate now from her home in the Bangor area. Ms. Allen has facilitated MHC Discussion Projects with NextStep Domestic Violence Project in Washington County, Restorative Justice Institute of Maine, the Freedom & Captivity Coalition, and with women incarcerated at the Southern Maine Women’s Re-Entry Center. Ms. Allen embodies the MHC’s core priorities: She fosters agency and empowerment among the participants in her Discussion Projects; helps participants develop and voice complex feelings, ideas and reactions to texts; ensures that every participant’s voice is heard and valued; and works with care on every assignment she receives. During the past two years, she has helped to lead facilitator trainings with MHC staff, has mentored new facilitators, and has hosted and designed her own Discussion Projects for women incarcerated at the Re-Entry Center. Ms. Allen is also an MHC speaker. She writes about herself, “I’m passionate about helping others by sharing my experience, strength, and hope from active addiction into recovery.” 

MHC Program Partner Prize

The LVFSC Book Discussion team “Community Connect” (left to right): Sara Beech (staff), Elizabeth Cooke (volunteer), Matilda Holt (board member and participant), Barbara Averill (staff). Photo: LVFSC.


The MHC Program Partner Prize celebrates an organization—a program partner or grantee—that has stretched itself by seeking audiences in new ways/seeking new audiences, including the humanities in its work and its mission, and engaging with communities to determine needs and program design; and is fulfilling MHC priorities of engaging with and bringing resources to people under-resourced in the humanities.

Literacy Volunteers of Franklin & Somerset Counties (LVFSC) is a Western Maine community of adult learners, volunteer tutors, and a small two-person, part-time staff. For over 30 years, they’ve been an MHC partner, creating opportunities for meaningful connection and discussions about books, new ideas, and new worldviews in their community. LVFSC’s participants are often very isolated from one another and from their rural Maine communities. During the pandemic, LVFSC went above and beyond expectations in their efforts to include these participants in MHC Discussion Projects: They took books to participants’ homes, offered transportation, and deftly facilitated hybrid virtual and in-person conversations, ensuring that every participant’s voice was heard. During this period, as the MHC transformed and sought to embody principles of diversity, equity, inclusion and justice in its work, LVFSC took that as an opportunity to grow and change as well. LVFSC has shown innovation, creativity, and curiosity in our relationship, one that the MHC values for its length and the ways that it has grown and developed during the past two years. 


Constance H. Carlson Public Humanities Prize Selection Committee

  • Tam Thanh Huynh (Executive Director, Holocaust and Human Rights Center of Maine)
  • Darren Ranco (Chair, Native American Programs; Director, Native American Research, University of Maine)
  • Maya Williams (Portland Poet Laureate)
  • Samaa Abdurraqib (Associate Director, Maine Humanities Council)
  • Diane Magras (Director of Development, Maine Humanities Council)

The Maine Humanities Council is honored to distribute more than $580,000 of funding for general operating support and project support to assist non-profit humanities and cultural organizations as they prepare for, respond to, and recover from the coronavirus pandemic. Funding for these grants is made available through the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) initiative Sustaining the Humanities through the American Rescue Plan (SHARP) as part of the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan of 2021.

General Operating Support

Abbe Museum
Abyssinian Meeting House
Art at Work
Bonney Memorial Library
Bremen Library
Dorcas Library
Frenchman Bay Library
Gateway Community Services Maine
Guilford Memorial Library
Houlton Museum
Indigo Arts Alliance
Ladder to the Moon Network
Liberty Library
Lincoln Memorial Public Library
Literacy Volunteers of Franklin and Somerset Counties
Literacy Volunteers of Greater Augusta
Long Lake Public Library
Lyman Community Library
Machias Bay Chamber of Commerce
Maine Inside Out
Milbridge Public Library
Musée culturel du Mont Carmel
Naples Public Library
Ogunquit Memorial Library
Passamaquoddy Tribe - Indian Township
Peavey Memorial Library
Pejepscot History Center
Robbinston Historical Society
South China Public Library
Speaking Place
Springvale Public Library
Stonington Public Library
Turner Public Library
Wabanaki Cultural Preservation Coalition - Nibezun
Wabanaki REACH
Whitefield Library Association
World Affairs Council of Maine

Project Support Grants

Carver Memorial Library
Freedom Community Historical Society
Women for Healthy Rural Living
Cary Library
Maine Adult Education Association
Wesserunsett Arts Council
Bucksport Historical Society
Island Readers & Writers
Museum L-A
Dennys River Historical Society
High Peaks Creative Council
Center Theatre for the Performing Arts
Maine Forestry Museum
The History Trust
WTA Hansen Memorial Library
Friends of L.C. Bates Museum
Bates Dance Festival
Milbridge Historical Society and Museum
Denmark Arts Center
Soldiers Memorial Library
Together Place Peer Run Recovery Center
Bridgton Public Library
Foundation for Portland Public Schools
Victoria Mansion
Portland Media Center
Survivor Speak USA
Marti Stevens Interactive Improvisational Theater
The Telling Room
Penobscot Bay Language School
Center for Arts and Humanities
Maine State Museum
Arts Are Elementary
Maine Access Points
I'm Your Neighbor Books
Kennebunk Free Library
Mugadi (Women in Need) Foundation
Tate House Museum
Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance
Biddeford Historical Society
First Amendment Museum
Hardy Girls Healthy Women

Guided activities happening now!  At The Big Question this year, the MHC will jump-start our multi-year engagement with Afrofuturism and Africanfuturism with two weeks of guided invitations, prompts, and curiosity-sparks delivered to your email inbox all springing from the question: What if ...? 
  • Curiosity-sparks delivered to your email inbox! Recordings created by our amazing guides just for this.
  • Engage at your own paceAll the content will be accessible from our website for at least a year
  • Attend a culminating live Zoom on Thursday, February 3! Meet the Guides and other participants
  • Registration is free!
  • Everyone who registers gets a welcome packet in the mail! With a tiny zine, a cake recipe, a postcard …


  • Skylar Bayer Assistant Professor of Biology, Aquaculture and Extension Specialist, Roger Williams University 
  • Ian-Khara Ellasante Assistant Professor of Gender and Sexuality Studies, Bates College 
  • René Goddess Johnson Executive and Artistic Director, an Embodied Equity Consultant, and Diversity Casting Director 
  • Maine Developmental Disabilities Council A partnership of people with disabilities, their families, and agencies which identify barriers to community inclusion, self-determination, and independence.
We're thrilled to be offering the Discussion Project to a cohort of 30 organizations and individuals throughout Maine!  
  • Bangor Public Library
  • Bates College
  • Boothbay Harbor Memorial Library
  • Brick Store Museum
  • Cushing Public Library
  • Defend Our Health
  • Family Violence Project
  • Lewiston High School
  • Lewiston Public Schools
  • Literacy Volunteers of Franklin and Somerset Counties
  • Long Lake Public Library
  • Maine Adult Education Association
  • Maine Correctional Center
  • Maine Environmental Education Association
  • Maine State Prison
  • Mano en Mano
  • Messalonskee High School
  • Mountain View Correctional Facility
  • New Hope for Women
  • Portland High School
  • Portland Public Schools
  • Resources for Organizing and Social Change
  • Restorative Justice Project Maine
  • Southern Maine Community College
  • Southern Maine Women’s Re-entry Center
  • Tender Table
  • VA Maine Health Care System (Togus)
  • Windham Public Library
  • Women's March Portland
Announcing the Maine Speaks cohort for fall 2021. We’re thrilled to be offering our speaker program to 10 sites across Maine. Follow our events calendar to find scheduled Maine Speaks events in your community.
Site Speaker 
Biddeford Cultural and Heritage Center Darren Ranco
Charlotte Hobbs Memorial Library Carol Dana
Dover-Foxcroft Historical Society Jo Radner
Erskine Academy Library Pamela Cummings
Maine Access Points Katherine Gaudet
Northeast Harbor Library Meadow Dibble
Norway Memorial Library Larissa Malone
Stonington Public Library Marpheen Chann
Together Place Peer Run Recovery Center Cody Mower
Waterville Junior High School Kate McBrien

The Maine Humanities Council is calling for nominations for the 2022 Constance H. Carlson Public Humanities Prize!

This prize, named for Dr. Constance H. Carlson, the first female president of a public university in Maine (UMaine Presque Isle), celebrates how people in Maine have contributed to the public humanities—by going deep within their communities and regions, or by reaching the whole state.  This prize will go to a Maine resident involved in public humanities* who is using humanities resources to:
  • foster agency, connection and engagement to communities in Maine;
  • emphasize and/or increase diversity, equity, inclusion, accessibility, and justice in Maine; and
  • focus on representing or engaging with communities who have the least access to humanities resources.
“Public humanities” involves groups of people learning, thinking, and talking about important aspects of their own and other people’s experiences of living. We are excited to see your nominations of people who’ve made a difference in the humanities in Maine!