Mass Humanities Announces $145,000 in Grants

Funds support projects around the state that use the humanities to deepen public understanding

Northampton, MA (March 25, 2019) – Mass Humanities has awarded grants totaling $145,312 in support of twelve humanities projects in communities across the state. Funded projects include oral histories, museum exhibits, community discussions, workshops and documentary films on a number of topics: the sanctuary of Lucio, a Central American immigrant, at the First Congregational Church in Amherst; engaging high school students in the history and culture of Roxbury; the life and activism of Waltham’s Robert Roberts, and more.

“We continue to see unprecedented levels of interest in public humanities projects across the Commonwealth,” said Mass Humanities Executive Director Brian Boyles. “The organizations funded in this round will improve their communities by posing tough questions, including new voices, and attracting new audiences.”

The grants are part of more than $500,000 which will be awarded in 2019 by Mass Humanities. The organization is the state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, and receives funding from the Mass Cultural Council. Museums, libraries, community centers, and universities are among the beneficiaries of Mass Humanities grants, reviewed and approved by members of the Mass Humanities board of directors.

See below for a full list of projects funded.

Cape and Islands

  • $9,250 to Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School in Oak Bluffs for “Cross Cultural Perceptions vs. Reality,” a project engaging the student body and general public in actual conversations with people from around the world via video conferencing, focused on the experiences of immigrants and refugees.
  • $15,000 to Eastham Public Library for the research and writing of a new history of the first encounter between Pilgrim settlers and Native people, and programming that connects to concerns on the Cape today, leading up to 400th anniversary commemorations in 2020.

Central Massachusetts

  • $4,950 to Leominster Public Library to host a traveling exhibit, “The Chinese and the Iron Road,” and provide public programs shedding light on the Chinese workers who built the Transcontinental Railway.

Greater Boston

  • $14,817 to the Leventhal Map Center at the Boston Public Library for public programming, a teacher institute, and materials accompanying an exhibit that uses maps to examine the history of U.S. expansion and Native American dispossession in the 19th and 20th centuries.
  • $14,965 to Me2/Orchestra in Boston for a curriculum guide, public screenings and discussion of “Orchestrating Change,” a documentary about the world’s only classical music organization created for individuals with mental illnesses and the people who support them.
  • $15,000 to The GroundTruth Project in Boston for a multimedia project on the 25th anniversary of the Rwandan genocide highlighting conversations between victims, perpetrators and their children and a trailer for a film about three men orphaned by it. The men are teaching photography as a healing practice to vulnerable children around the world, including at Boston’s Home for Little Wanderers.
  • $7,500 to Cambridge Historical Society to conduct and interpret twelve oral histories with affiliates of the Margaret Fuller Neighborhood House, a 112-year-old settlement house.
  • $14,500 to Dialogues on Diversity for a program engaging students in the history and culture of Roxbury by researching, rehearsing, performing, and leading community discussions of “Roxbury Strong,” a play based on archival research and oral histories with residents.
  • $7,000 to Gore Place Society in Waltham for development of a tour focused on the life, writing, and activism of Robert Roberts, a leader in Boston’s free black community and a servant at Gore Place.

Northeastern Massachusetts

  • $12,500 to the University of Massachusetts Lowell for a website on the history of immigration to the city, with an emphasis on immigration since 1965.

Western Massachusetts

  • $15,000 to Voices from Inside in Springfield for “What Our Voices Carry,” a collaboration between formerly incarcerated women, a scholar, facilitators, and a playwright to create a performance exploring the history of incarceration and its connection to the women’s personal experiences.
  • $15,000 to Kate Way of Williamsburg for a film trailer exploring U.S. immigration from Central America and the current sanctuary movement through the story of Lucio, an immigrant from Guatemala who came to the U.S. illegally and entered sanctuary in the First Congregational Church in Amherst after receiving deportation orders.


Mass Humanities, a non-profit based in Northampton, conducts and supports programs that use history, literature, philosophy, and the other humanities disciplines to enhance and improve civic life throughout Massachusetts. Since its founding in 1974, the organization has provided millions of dollars in support of thousands of humanities projects across the Commonwealth. Established as the state-based affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), Mass Humanities is an independent programming and grant-making organization that receives support from the NEH and the Massachusetts Cultural Council as well as private sources. Twitter Facebook Instagram

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