Webinar: Humanities for All

This AASLH webinar examines a successful collaboration between an academic institution and a historical society and introduces Humanities for All, a new resource from National Humanities Alliance that showcases partnerships between higher education and community organizations.


DATE: Wednesday, October 17, 2018

TIME: 3:00 - 4:15 pm EASTERN (Remember to adjust for your time zone!)

COST: Free to Members / $40 Non-members

Closed captioning available upon advanced notice. Please contact [email protected] for more information.

Register Here

Description & Outcomes

How can partnership with higher education institutions increase the reach, capacity, and impact of our history work? Humanities for All is a new website from the National Humanities Alliance (NHA) that showcases over 1,400 examples of higher education–community partnerships involving teaching, research, and public programming. In this AASLH webinar, Daniel Fisher (NHA) introduces Humanities for All, presents strategies for utilizing the website, and leads a discussion with the project directors of “These Words: A Century of Printing, Writing, and Reading in Boston's Chinese Community,” Jessica Wong Camhi (Chinese Historical Society of New England) and Diane O'Donoghue (Tufts University and Brown University). The facilitated discussion presents takeaways from the “These Words” partnership. Participants will feel confident and inspired to apply the lessons of “These Words” and other projects from Humanities for All to their own successful and mutually beneficial partnerships with higher education institutions. A Q&A period follows the presentation.

Participant Outcomes:

  • Participants will understand how they can use Humanities for All as a resource.
  • Participants will feel inspired to explore Humanities for All.
  • Participants will learn the challenges and successes of the “These Words” partnership.
  • Participants will feel confident and inspired to apply the lessons of “These Words” and other projects from Humanities for All to their own partnerships with higher education institutions.
  • Participants will feel inspired to explore partnership with a local higher education institution.


A young man in a sports jacket, tie, and black-rimmed glasses smiles at the camera. A tree is in the background. Daniel Fisher is a project director and postdoctoral fellow at the National Humanities Alliance Foundation. At NHA, Daniel leads Humanities for All, a survey of publicly engaged humanities work in U.S. higher education funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The Humanities for All website launched in July at http://www.humanitiesforall.org. The website presents a cross-section of the field for practice and advocacy, including over 1,400 projects that are searchable, sortable, and illustrated with a selection of in-depth profiles. Prior to joining NHA, he held fellowships at the École Biblique and the Albright Institute in Jerusalem. He holds a B.A. from McGill University, an M.A. from Vanderbilt University, and a Ph.D. in Near Eastern Studies from the University of California, Berkeley, where, as a graduate student, he taught and co-curated a publicly-engaged research-driven exhibition.


A middle aged woman with blonde hair, circular glasses, and a cowl neck sweater smiles at the camera.Diane O’Donoghue, a visual and cultural historian, is Director of the Program for Public Humanities and Senior Fellow for the Humanities at the Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life, at Tufts University, where she has chaired the Department of Visual and Critical Studies. She is also Visiting Professor of Public Humanities at Brown University and a contributor to a collection, titled "Doing Public Humanities,” that will be published by Routledge.



A young woman with brown hair and brown eyes, wearing tortoiseshell glasses and a a blazer, smiles at the camera.Jessica Wong Camhi is the director of the Chinese Historical Society of New England (CHSNE), a Boston-based non-profit dedicated to documenting, preserving, and promoting the history and legacy of Chinese immigration to the New England area.

Humanities for All: Publicly-Engaged Humanities Database for History Organizations

A newly-launched database by the National Humanities Alliance, Humanities for All helps showcase how institutions of higher education have partnered with local cultural organizations throughout the United States to advance publicly-engaged humanities projects. These projects highlight the efforts of museums, historical societies, preservation groups, state and local agencies, and many more to position themselves as critical community assets and implement new ways of telling stories about the past. As these partnerships and projects demonstrate, "relevance" continues to constitute a critical area of focus for history organizations, and they are forging new partnerships and working directly with community groups to connect history to contemporary challenges and questions. As the History Relevance initiative points out, many organizations are embracing the idea that history has a greater impact when it connects the past with "the people, events, places, stories, and ideas that are important and meaningful to communities, people, and audiences today."

The more than 1,400 entries in the Humanities for All database provide rich examples of how publicly-oriented humanities projects enrich life in the U.S.: building and strengthening communities; creating innovative and practical learning experiences for students and people of all ages and backgrounds; and broadening our understanding of ourselves, our nation, and our world.  Each of the projects listed are built upon partnerships between colleges and universities and outside organizations, collectively illustrating the broad impact of the humanities.

AASLH has highlighted the value of collaboration between public history organizations and institutions of higher education in the past. Humanities for All helps further demonstrate that these types of undertakings deepen the public’s engagement with and appreciation of the humanities while providing meaningful and practical learning experiences that prepare students for the workforce.

The Humanities for All database can be searched and filtered to find projects that might serve as an inspiration for you and your organization. Many of the projects included in the database provide real-world examples of how history organizations around the country are emphasizing history’s relevance. For example, the University of California-Riverside worked with the California Citrus State Historic Park, along with several other organizations, to "tell a broader, more inclusive, and more accurate history of the state’s most beloved crop: citrus." The resultant “Relevancy & History Project” helped better include the experiences and stories of migrants and immigrants in telling the history of citrus in California through community-engaged research, public programs, and interpretive installations.

In Virginia, the Hampton University Black History Club partnered with the City of Hampton History Museum to commemorate the state’s first lunch counter sit-in demonstration. The groups worked together, along with veterans of the sit-in movement, to produce a series of events, including lectures, films, memorial walks, panel discussions, and ultimately, several community conversations about the history, legacy, and future of the Civil Rights Movement in Hampton Roads.

These are just two of the many examples that Humanities for All highlights. Their database features dozens of projects with full profiles, and hundreds of others with thumbnail descriptions. With the option to search and filter by type of community partner (historic site or society, museum, state or national park, etc.), by discipline (including history), and by theme (from immigration to race to rural life to tourism), Humanities for All can serve as a source of inspiration for individuals and organizations working across the historical enterprise. And the project is still growing: the National Humanities Alliance welcomes users to contribute new examples of publicly-engaged humanities work in the U.S. via the website’s submissions portal.

How can Humanities for All inform your case-making and practice? How might you use the database?

Interested in learning more? AASLH will hold an informational webinar with Daniel Fisher of the National Humanities Alliance and the project directors of “These Words: A Century of Printing, Writing, and Reading in Boston’s Chinese Community,” Jessica Wong Camhi (Chinese Historical Society of New England) and Diane O’Donoghue (Tufts University and Brown University) on October 17. Register here.

ADVOCACY ALERT: Funding for History and Civics Education

Dear AASLH Friends-

The National Coalition for History and the AASLH urge you to contact your Member of the House of Representatives and ask him or her to sign this “Dear Colleague” letter before September 11. It supports key provisions that fund history and civics education.

US-capitolNegotiations to finalize a rewrite of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) will resume when Congress returns after Labor Day. Members of the House and Senate will be meeting to iron out the differences between the versions of the bill passed by each body. Quite simply, the Senate bill restores federal funding for K-12 history and civics education while the House bill does not.

The Senate version includes four provisions that create funding for high quality American history, civics, geography, and economics education. Some House Majority Conferees, however, have already declared their top priority in conference to be eliminating as many new programs and grants as possible. This poses a direct threat to the Senate provisions that could inject much needed funding into history, civics and the social studies.

We cannot overstress the importance of this effort. Congress has not reauthorized the ESEA in 15 years so this is likely our only opportunity to get funding restored for K-12 history and civics education. Time is of the essence!

  • Send an email. NCH, working with the National Humanities Alliance, has prepared a one-step link to your House member here.
  • Make a phone call. All Members of Congress can be reached through the U.S. Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121. Talking points, etc. are here.

Thank you for your help today.

John Dichtl
President & CEO
American Association for State and Local History