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About Us

NC Humanities Receives National Excellence Award for North Carolina Reads (2023)
NC Humanities Receives National Excellence Award for North Carolina Reads (2023)
Celebrating NC Stories with Caldwell Awardee Clyde Edgerton, Board & Alumni (2023)
Celebrating NC Stories with Caldwell Awardee Clyde Edgerton, Board & Alumni (2023)

Our Mission

To connect North Carolinians with cultural experiences that spur dialogue, deepen human connections, and inspire community.

Our Vision

A North Carolina enriched by the humanities and equipped with empathy, understanding, and respect.

Our Purpose

The humanities are for everyone, every day! From the coast to the mountains, in rural towns and urban areas, North Carolinians are engaging with the humanities now more than ever to help expand their understanding of themselves and the world around them. 

North Carolina Humanities creates opportunities for individuals and communities to explore and reflect on the past, the present, and the future. Through our programs, initiatives, and grants, we bring subject matter experts, storytellers, and community members together to learn about and discuss our collective stories, histories, and cultures. North Carolina Humanities believes that when we can better understand ourselves and others, we become more enriched, empathic, and engaged citizens, all of which are important to a thriving society. Fields of learning called “the humanities” power our imaginations, preserve our stories, help us understand and appreciate human history, cultures, values and beliefs, and help us interpret our complex societies so we can make thoughtful decisions based on inquiry, evaluation, and empathy.

North Carolina Humanities reaches nearly all 100 counties in the state, increasing the cultural capacity of local institutions and positively impacting local economies. Founded in 1972, we are one of fifty-six state and jurisdictional humanities councils created by Congress and supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities to make the humanities accessible across the nation. North Carolina Humanities is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization.

What are the humanities?

“The humanities” means different things to different people. 

Often we think about the humanities as a set of disciplines that help us understand the many meanings of being human and humankind by exploring some of these facets:

  • Our Past: history and archaeology
  • Our Cultural Expressions: anthropology, literature, linguistics, languages, art history, theory, and criticism
  • Our Values: ethics, philosophy, comparative religion, and law


The humanities can also be seen as a range of activities that encourage reflection, inquiry, analysis, discussion and shared experiences. Activities often include reading a book, listening to a story, recording personal memories and thoughts, and questioning the values and motivations of ourselves and others in the past, present, and future. 

The 1965 National Foundation on the Arts and Humanities Act reads as follows: “The term ‘humanities’ includes, but is not limited to the study and interpretation of the following: language, both modern and classical; linguistics; literature; history; jurisprudence; philosophy; archaeology; comparative religion; ethics; the history, criticism, and theory of the arts; those aspects of the social sciences which have humanistic content and employ humanistic methods; and the study and application of the humanities to the human environment with particular attention to reflecting our diverse heritage, traditions, and history and to the relevance of the humanities to the current conditions of [national] life. 

Our Values


We believe that a strong desire to always learn more, know more, and question more is important for growth and lifelong happiness.

Diversity of Ideas

We believe that a diversity of ideas and perspectives is essential to a thriving society. We are all different, each bringing something unique to any gathering.


We believe that the humanities can empower change. We empower communities and people to have meaningful conversations and experiences that lead to a greater understanding of our similarities and differences.


We believe that each person is worthy of equitable access to opportunities and resources.


We believe that diverse knowledge builds community. When we come together to learn, we become better neighbors and help North Carolina continue to be a great place for all.


We believe everyone is important and worthy of politeness and dignity.