KHC welcomed NEH chair to Kansas

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Photo by Tom Parker

The Kansas Humanities Council (KHC) welcomed National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Chairman William D. Adams to the Eisenhower Presidential Library, Museum and Boyhood Home in Abilene on October 23, 2014, for one of his first official visits to a state humanities council as NEH chair. Chairman Adams participated in a full schedule of events including KHC’s “Heart of the Matter” event and meetings with humanities leaders and KHC board and staff. KHC is an affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Confirmed by the United States Senate in July 2014, William D. “Bro” Adams is the 10th chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). A committed advocate for the liberal arts, Chairman Adams most recently served as president of Colby College in Waterville, ME, from 2000 until his retirement on June 30, 2014. Chairman Adams brings to the Endowment a long record of leadership in higher education and the humanities. Learn more about Chairman Adams in this recent article in NEH’s Humanities magazine and in an interview on the Diane Rehm Show.

In a speech at the National Humanities Conference in Philadelphia, Pa., on October 31, 2014, Chairman Adams reflected warmly on his “eye opening” visit to Kansas, stating, “Last week I spent two days in Abilene, Kansas, with Julie Mulvihill and the Kansas Humanities Council staff and board. I got a very good sense of what that energetic council is doing, which is very impressive. I also spent time with representatives from academic institutions around the state, many of them recent NEH recipients.” Adams noted that the visit enhanced his understanding of the state’s historical and cultural treasures, adding, “I would like to go back.”

“It was a pleasure to host Chairman Adams in Abilene,” said Julie Mulvihill, executive director of the Kansas Humanities Council. “During the evening event, he encouraged us to think about how we can better apply the humanities to the current conditions of our nation. It’s a provocative thought and one that emphasizes the essential nature of KHC’s work in strengthening civic life.”

Chairman Adams’ full address to the National Humanities Conference, including his remarks about Kansas, is available here.


Heart of the Matter Event

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Please join the Kansas Humanities Council on October 23 for “The Heart of the Matter: Humanities and Civic Life,” a special event featuring William D. Adams, chair of the National Endowment for the Humanities. The event will be held at the Eisenhower Presidential Library, Museum, and Boyhood Home inside the Visitors Center, 200 SE 4th St, Abilene KS.  The reception begins at 6 PM followed by the event at 7 PM. Seating is limited, so please RSVP by October 17 to 785-357-0359 or virginia(at) The event is free.

The humanities bring people together around a shared purpose – a shared story – and are essential to healthy 21st century communities. Join KHC as we welcome Chairman Adams as he speaks about the role of the humanities in public life. Dr. David Procter, director of Kansas State University’s Institute for Civic Discourse and Democracy, will introduce “Heart of the Matter,” a short-film created by the National Commission on Humanities and Social Sciences, and will moderate a discussion based on the film.

Click here for the Executive Summary of The Heart of the Matter report which will serve as the guide for the discussion.    

Click here to watch The Heart of the Matter short film.  



Kansans Heart the Humanities

heart_humanitiesOver 120 Kansans have added their signatures to the letter to the House Interior Appropriations Subcommittee in support of funding for the National Endowment for the Humanities and State Humanities Councils, including the Kansas Humanities Council. Here is what they are saying about the impact of KHC and the humanities in their communities:

We are big fans of the Kansas Humanities Council. – Sublette

I firmly support the funding for KHC to continue the enrichment of all Kansas communities and the future of our families. Thank you for your efforts in this worthwhile cause. – Wichita

We feel the state humanities are vital to the quality of life in rural and urban areas of our great state of Kansas. -Elkhart

I definitely want to add my name to the letter! Without NEH funds, I doubt our museum would have ever started, much less continued with our mission. -Concordia

We have had numerous programs from both our State Humanities Council and the NEH on the Road exhibits program. These have allowed us to bring programs and exhibitions to our small community that we would not have been able to do otherwise. Not only do these events offer something new to our community, they also bring people to our town that in turn help our local economy. – Hiawatha

To add your signature to the letter, please send the following information to Julie Mulvihill at julie(at) by April 24:

  • Name
  • Position/Title
  • Institution or Organizational Affiliation
  • City
  • State

Thank you for helping KHC make the case to Congress for continued support. For NEH funding updates, continue to follow #humanitiesmatter on Twitter.


We Heart the Humanities. Do You?

heart_humanitiesThe House Interior Appropriations Subcommittee is currently deliberating the FY 2015 funding bill. The current version of the bill eliminates all funding for the National Endowment for the Humanities and the state humanities councils, including the Kansas Humanities Council.

What You Can Do

Join over 110 Kansans and add your signature to a letter from the Federation of State Humanities Councils to the House Appropriations Subcommittee to let them know that the Humanities Matter in Kansas. Your participation is easy and will demonstrate the variety and reach of the friends of the humanities in Kansas and across the nation.

Click here to read the letter.

To add your signature to the letter, please send the following information to Julie Mulvihill at julie(at) by April 24:

  • Name
  • Position/Title
  • Institution or Organizational Affiliation
  • City
  • State

Thank you for helping KHC make the case to Congress for continued support. For NEH funding updates, continue to follow #humanitiesmatter on Twitter.

Created Equal in Kansas

Ordinary people do extraordinary things. Case in point: the Americans who participated in the civil rights movement. In honor of the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, here are some stories and events related to the civil rights movement in Kansas.

Created Equal

march_on_washingtonKHC will offer Created Equal: America’s Civil Rights Struggle, a series of four film screenings and discussions in Wichita and Kansas City featuring civil rights documentaries produced with the support of the National Endowment for the Humanities. The events will take place at The Kansas African American Museum in Wichita in fall 2013 and the Kansas City Kansas Public Library in spring 2014. KHC is one of 12 organizations in Kansas to be awarded the Created Equal: America’s Civil Rights Struggle film sets. Click here for event details.

Memories of the March

“We held hands and rocked. This was a benchmark of my life.” In 1963, Bob Miller participated in the March on Washington. In 2007, he and his wife Shirley shared his story at the StoryCorps booth in Baldwin City sponsored by KHC and Kansas Public Radio.

Kansas Plays a Key Role

For over 40 years, KHC has supported grant projects exploring Kansas’ role in the civil rights movement. Click here for a list of KHC-supported civil rights grant projects. Does your Kansas community have a civil rights story? Consider a KHC Humanities or Heritage grant. The fall grants deadline is September 25th. The deadline for draft proposals is August 28th. Contact Murl Riedel, director of grants, at murl(at) for more information.

Don’t Forget

Commemorations in honor of the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington are underway in Kansas and across the nation. On August 28th at 2:00 PM CST, you can join KHC in the worldwide movement to “Let Freedom Ring.” The Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site is also hosting an event in honor of the March on Washington’s 50th anniversary. Click here for details.

Take Action! A 49% Cut is Too Much for Kansas.

KHC needs your help today to protect funding for the Kansas Humanities Council and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

On Wednesday morning, July 31, the House Appropriations Committee will vote on the bill that proposes a 49% cut to the National Endowment for the Humanities. Having access to, and resources for, local cultural programs is important for healthy communities.

Now is not the time to do 49% less; now is the time to do moreMore local projects that document the stories of changing Kansas, like the shutdown of Treece; more oral histories with Korean War veterans; more citizen discussions on our global and economic competitors, like China; more presentations about topics that inspire us to do more and do better: a history of civil rights in Kansas, contemporary Kansas entrepreneurs, or the work ethic of President Eisenhower.

If you agree, please click here to contact your representative and ask him or her to oppose the 49% cut. Kansas Congressman Kevin Yoder is on the Appropriations Committee, a key national leadership position.

Follow #humanitiesmatter on Twitter for updates and contact Julie Mulvihill at julie(at) with questions.

Turning Points Stories of Change

The Turning Points: Stories of Change short film initiative application deadline is July 31st. Click here for more information.


Director’s Cut


Martin Scorsese 

In April, Martin Scorsese — Academy Award winning film director, producer, film historian and preservationist — delivered the 42nd annual Jefferson Lecture in the Humanities in Washington, D.C.

Established by the National Endowment for the Humanities in 1972, the Jefferson Lecture is the federal government’s most prestigious honor for distinguished intellectual achievement in the humanities.

Scorsese’s lecture “Persistence of Vision: Reading the Language of Cinema” is available for viewing here. Read more about Scorsese’s work and its place in American cultural history in the March/April issue of NEH’s Humanities magazine.

Gaga for Gatsby!



2013 has been a great year for The Great Gatsby. F. Scott Fitzgerald’s 1925 novel is a hot topic these days, thanks to Baz Luhrmann’s big screen blockbuster. Closer to home, the Topeka Shawnee County Public Library featured The Great Gatsby as their 2013 The Big Read book.

Looking for more ways to get your Gatsby fix this weekend, old sport?  Here are some thought-provoking and fun options:

American Icons: The Great Gatsby

This one-hour Studio 360 podcast explores why The Great Gatsby is the “great American story of our age” and features interviews with Jonathan Franzen, Patricia Hampl, and Azar Nafisi. Funding for the podcast was provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Gatsby Meets Nintendo

“The Great Gatsby for NES” lets you navigate Gatsby’s party, dodging waiters and collecting martini glasses for points. It’s the computer video game that gives digital humanities a whole new meaning.

Dust Bowl in Kansas

Dust Bowl, a Ken Burns documentary supported by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, chronicles the ecological disaster on the Great Plains in the 1930s. Kansas stories feature prominently in the documentary, most notably those of the Coen brothers of Morton County. Learn more about the documentary in the article “Children of the Dust” by James Williford from the November/December issue of NEH’s Humanities magazine.