Letter from the Director
Happy New Year! While much about post-pandemic life in 2021 remains unknown, what we do know is the humanities remain essential as the nation and the world heal from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Those of us who care about the humanities are good at making the “heart and soul” case for why they are essential. We cite the poem that changed us, the teacher who made history feel alive, or the philosophy that gave us hope. Strong data also enhances these stories about the power of the humanities. A recent survey by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences indicates that Americans representing diverse backgrounds and worldviews value the educational, social, practical, and economic benefits of the humanities:
- Almost 95 percent of Americans agree that the humanities should be part of every American’s education
- 86 percent feel the humanities strengthen American democracy
- 81 percent said they frequently use at least one humanities skill in their jobs
- 73 percent think the humanities make the economy stronger
At Humanities Montana, we foster these essential aspects of the humanities through our popular Speakers in Schools program, which brings humanities enrichment to classrooms throughout the state. In 2020, we distributed over $400,000 in CARES Act relief funds to support Montana’s cultural and economic infrastructure. And our upcoming Why It Matters virtual town halls promote electoral and civic participation; I invite you to register through this link.
Indeed, as we enter 2021, the humanities will continue to change lives, enrich Montana communities, and strengthen our democracy. I wish you all the best for a happy and healthy New Year!
Randi Lynn Tanglen, Ph.D.