Honoring exemplary contributions

to the public humanities

Every two years, the MHC 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. 

Through Constance H. Carlson Prize (named for the first female president of a public university in Maine) and our Partner and Facilitator Prizes, our honorees foster agency, connection and engagement; emphasize and/or increase diversity, equity, inclusion, accessibility, and justice; and represent or engage with communities that have traditionally had the least access to humanities resources.

2022 Constance H. Carlson Prize

Joseph Jackson

For his theater programming for kids at Long Creek, his efforts using poetry and other forms of the humanities to reform the justice system, and his role as advisor in the Freedom & Captivity initiative.

Carol Dana

For her lifelong work to bring back, preserve, and teach the Penobscot language, and her work preserving and sharing Penobscot storytelling.

2022 Facilitator

Wendy Allen

For exemplifying what it means to be a MHC facilitator. We celebrate Wendy’s leadership, mentorship of others, and her incredible work leading and guiding discussions. 

2022 Partner

Literacy Volunteers of Franklin & Somerset County

For their innovation, creativity, and curiosity in our mutual work. We value how LVFSC has grown with us over the years, how they’ve engaged with their communities and adjusted program design accordingly, and how they’ve fulfilled the MHC priorities of engaging with and bringing resources to people under-resourced in the humanities.

2022 nomination 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

past constance h. carlson prize honorees

Monica Wood, 2019

For or her commitment to Maine communities, her support of Maine libraries, and all that she does to support and nourish the literary and cultural life of the State.

Gary Lawless, 2017

Expanded content copy: For his work to bring poetry and the creative process to the people of Maine, his commitment to helping Mainers of every background find their voice, and his ardent devotion to the environment and to all those that inhabit it.

Donald Soctomah, 2015

For working to preserve the language, history, culture and land base of the Passamaquoddy people in Maine.

Joe Conforti, 2010

For founding the American and New England Studies Program at University of Southern Maine, for his regional history scholarship, and for his generosity and accessibility statewide.

Neil Rolde, 2005

For his extraordinary contributions to the interpretation of Maine history as a historian and author and his encouragement and support of the humanities in Maine as a Representative in the State Legislature.

Karen Sheldon and David Weiss, 2003

Co-founders of Northeast Historic Film in Bucksport, for their contributions to the preservation and interpretation of New England’s historic moving-image history.

Billie Gammon, 1999

For her leadership in the field of “hands-on” history through her founding of the Norlands Living History Center in Livermore Falls.

Tabitha King, 1998

For her efforts to kindle a passion for reading and a love of ideas in Maine people of all ages.

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