Letter from the Director

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In early March, members of Humanities Montana’s staff and board of directors met with Montana’s congressional delegation for a virtual Humanities on the Hill advocacy event. We joined over 200 humanities advocates from the Federation of State Humanities Councils to virtually convene upon Washington, D.C. with the message that federal funding for the humanities is vital to a thriving democracy. We had meaningful conversations with the offices of Senator Tester, Senator Daines, and Representative Rosendale about the role of the public humanities in the everyday lives of Montanans.

At the pandemic’s onset, 77 percent of Montana cultural organizations surveyed told us they risked closure. We are now hearing back from the 95 museums, libraries, and historical and cultural societies across the state that were the recipients of almost $420,000 in National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) CARES Act grants distributed by Humanities Montana. All the organizations supported by CARES Act grants have maintained their operations throughout the pandemic.

Nevertheless, we are also learning that the cultural sector in Montana remains stressed as it accommodates facilities and programs to meet COVID-19 safety and social distancing requirements and faces a second year of canceled spring and summer fundraisers. The recently passed American Rescue Plan Act includes $135 million for the NEH, 40 percent of which will go to state councils such as Humanities Montana to again provide relief grants to cultural organizations. We will widely publicize the opportunity to apply for these grants in the coming months and look forward to supporting Montana’s cultural community in a time of change and uncertainty.

Randi Lynn Tanglen, Ph.D.
Executive Director