Educators visit Malden’s African Zion Baptist Church as part of a summer institute funded by the Humanities Council

2017 Activities Report


What is the Humanities Council? The West Virginia Humanities Council is the state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. We fund hundreds of programs each year in history and other fields of the humanities in communities across West Virginia at schools and colleges, libraries, museums, senior centers and other locations statewide.


What has the Humanities Council done lately? In the last year, the West Virginia Humanities Council awarded 48 grants and 9 fellowships, and supported more than 300 programs and events in 49 counties. Our folklorist was active in 19 counties and e-WV: The West Virginia Encyclopedia continued to carry the West Virginia story across the country and worldwide.

Humanities Council grants and programs served tens of thousands of West Virginians through lectures, programs and events, the West Virginia Book Festival, scholarly research and travel, documentaries, publications and our online encyclopedia e-WV.


Grant Awards Statewide


Brooke Brooke County Library Foundation, American Defenders of Bataan and Corregidor Museum, exhibit and archive project
Cabell Charles Damien Arthur, The Architect of Appalachia: Senator Robert C. Byrd's Leadership on the Appropriations Committee, 1959 – 2009, fellowship
Cabell Marshall University Research Corporation, The Amicus Curiae Lecture Series on Constitutional Democracy
Cabell Marshall University Research Corporation, Sermon: Text and Performance, lecture
Cabell Marshall University Research Corporation, Digitizing and Teaching Appalachia’s Past, teaching materials and public program
Cabell Marshall University Research Corporation, Documentary Film-Making and the Power of Narrative, screening and discussion
Cabell Marshall University Research Corporation, A.E. Stringer Visiting Writers Series 2018, workshops, readings and discussions
Cabell Cabell County Public Library, An Evening With Author Jay Asher, lecture
Fayette Mountain of Hope, Oh Deep in My Heart: Reaching Toward Togetherness in Education and Beyond, oral history project
Fayette Mountain of Hope, Hope, radio program and podcasts on Mount Hope Integration
Gilmer Glenville State College, Exploring Appalachian Culture, classroom sessions and public program
Greenbrier Greenbrier Historical Society, Native American Heritage Gathering, demonstrations and presentations
Greenbrier Ahleah Boise, Southeast Chapter, Society of Architectural Historians’ Annual Meeting, conference travel
Hampshire Capon Bridge Ruritan Club, Focus on History, Capon Bridge Founders Day Festival
Hardy Cougar Vision Alliance, Shakespeare Exhibit (Humanities Texas traveling exhibit)
Jefferson Jefferson County Black History Preservation Society, Letters from Liberia: Voices of Jefferson County African Americans, 1831-1860, history project and public program
Jefferson Shepherd University Foundation, Humanities and the Environment, symposium
Jefferson Harpers Ferry Park Association, Education and the Struggle For Equality, Storer College commemorative program
Jefferson Contemporary American Theater Festival, Inc., 2017 Humanities at the Festival, humanities programming
Jefferson Jefferson County Historic Landmarks Commission, Shepherdstown Cement Mill and Battle of Shepherdstown Brochures
Jefferson Robert C. Byrd Center for Congressional History and Education, Teaching about Congress, the U.S. Constitution, and Representative Government, teacher institute
Kanawha Anne McConnell, Literary Interrogation, fellowship
Kanawha Mary Ingles Trail Blazers, Mason-Dixon 250 in 2017, living history program
Kanawha Step by Step, Inc., All Kinds of Families: Exploring diversity through children's literature, summer literature program
Kanawha Friends of Blackwater, Interpretative Project on Henry Gassaway Davis’s Coal and Coke Industry, interpretive signs
Kanawha Festiv-ALL Charleston, West Virginia, Inc., WV Author's Roundtable
Kanawha West Virginia Music Hall of Fame, The Art & History of West Virginia Music at Carnegie Hall, exhibit
Kanawha West Virginia Music Hall of Fame, Celebrating West Virginia's musical innovators, vignettes and website
Kanawha West Virginia Public Broadcasting, Us & Them: Season 4, podcast series
Kanawha BridgeValley Community & Technical College, Shakespeare Talks, public programs
Kanawha Kanawha Salines Foundation Inc., J.Q. Dickinson Co. Salt-Works Tools Exhibit
Marshall Grand Vue Park (Marshall County Park & Recreation), A Grand Vue of History storytelling at the 2017 History and Folklore Festival
Mercer Craft Memorial Library, Mahood Architectural Legacy: Building Awareness, lecture and site visits
Mercer Anthony Guy Patricia, 41st Annual Ohio Valley Shakespeare Conference, conference travel
Mingo West Virginia Mine Wars Museum, Mine Wars Education and Outreach
Monongalia Kristina Olson, Theory's History 196X-199X: Challenges in the Historiography of Architectural Knowledge, conference travel
Monongalia Jesse Wozniak, Legal Decision Making in Iraqi Kurdistan, fellowship
Monongalia Michele Stephens, Criminal Women in Yucatan, Mexico, 1900-1940, fellowship
Monongalia Janet Snyder, What's the Story?  Twelfth-century sculpture and the perception of narrative, fellowship
Monongalia Catherine Gouge, Divergent Paths: Paying attention to nonadherence to prescribed health guidelines, fellowship
Monongalia Matthew Jacobsmeier, Demographic and Political Influences on Participation in the Arts and Humanities and Preferences Regarding Public Support for the Arts, fellowship
Monongalia Jamie Shinn, Culture and Conservation in the Okavango Delta, Botswana:  The implications of World Heritage Site designation for the Wayeyi people and their homeland, fellowship
Monongalia Anna Rose Casey, Intellectual Property and Collaborative Female Authorship in Zoë Wicomb’s David’s Story, fellowship
Monongalia Eliza Newland, Southeaster Museum Conference (SEMC) Annual Meeting 2017, conference travel
Monongalia Sally Deskins, Southeast College Art Conference, conference travel
Monongalia West Virginia University Research Corporation, The Book of the Dead, history publication
Monongalia West Virginia University Research Corporation, Public Airwaves Through Prison Walls: Restoring Connections in the Era of Mass Incarceration, presentation and public program
Monongalia West Virginia University, Pearl S. Buck as a Cultural Bridge: An Institute for West Virginia Teachers, teacher institute
Nicholas The Richwood Area Chamber of Commerce, Richwood:  Rich in Wood, Rich in Heritage, Rich in Culture, exhibit
Ohio National Junior Classical League, West Virginia Junior Classical League Convention
Ohio Wheeling Arts Commission, VICTUALS: Lectures by Ronni Lundy
Ohio West Liberty University Foundation, Frankenstein at 200, lecture series and community reading
Randolph Appalachian Forest Heritage Area, Sustaining the Appalachian Forest: Healthy Forests for the Common Good, exhibit
Randolph Elkins Main Street, Inc., Elkins Rail Yard Interpretive Signs
Randolph Davis & Elkins College, Damage Mitigation & Marketing Initiative, exhibit and brochures
Upshur West Virginia Wesleyan College, WV Wesleyan College MFA Residency Visiting Writers Series, residency and public programs
Wyoming Wyoming County Historical Museum, Save Our History, archive project


Other Council-Funded Programs


Our video of broom maker James Shaffer went viral on the Internet, was featured by West Virginia Public Broadcasting, and shown at the Library of Congress.


Humanities Council grants funded exhibits by the West Virginia Railroad Museum and the Appalachian Forest Heritage Area at Darden Mill in Elkins.


We partnered with McArts to host a concert with songwriter Elaine Purkey at Ya’sou Greek Restaurant in McDowell County.


We supported a Jefferson County project to transcribe letters from former slaves who immigrated to Liberia in the 19th century.


Our folklorist met with interested citizens in Sandyville, Ripley, Berkeley Springs, Glenville and elsewhere.


The documentary, Vietnam: West Virginians Remember, was made possible by a Humanities Council grant.


Our annual McCreight Lecture, “The Humanities and the Future of Democracies,” was presented by Azar Nafisi to a full house in October.


We launched the West Virginia Folklife Apprenticeship Program, with support from the National Endowment for the Arts.


In 2017 the Humanities Council awarded 48 grants and nine fellowships in 18 counties.


We funded the symposium “Humanities in the 21st Century,” a collaborative project between Shepherd University and the National Conservation Training Center.


West Virginia Humanities Council grants funded 120 events statewide in West Virginia.


We recorded interviews in 15 counties as part of our folklife fieldwork.


Humanities Council funds supported the History and Folklore Festival at Marshall County’s Grand Vue Park.


A Humanities Council grant supported an oral history project documenting 1950’s public schools integration in Mount Hope.


We partnered with the National Archives to present a special Bill of Rights exhibit at 41 sites across West Virginia.


The Humanities Council funded a Marshall University summer institute, with field trips to train educators to teach black history.


A major grant supported an exhibit and weeklong program at Pricketts Fort on the African American experience on the Virginia frontier.


We presented 141 History Alive living history programs in 44 counties with portrayals of historical figures such as reporter Nellie Bly (JoAnn Peterson of Kingwood).


The Humanities Council supported an archaeological dig in Green Bank to analyze 18th-century frontier defense.


We partnered with the Southern Foodways Alliance to document the traditional foodways of the Swiss community of Helvetia.


Nine fellowships were awarded to researchers in Morgantown, Huntington and elsewhere.


We supported the return of director John Sayles for the 30th anniversary of Matewan, his movie about the West Virginia Mine Wars.


Council staff took part in dedicating the John Henry Park at the Big Bend Tunnel in Talcott.


WVU public history students furthered their education at the historic MacFarland-Hubbard House, Humanities Council headquarters.


Our popular Little Lectures included talks on World War I, Shakespeare, West Virginians in country music, and Wood County’s historic Henderson Hall.


We hosted a free concert at the MacFarland-Hubbard House with Summers County old-time musician Jim Costa and University of North Carolina folklorist Zoe van Buren.


“This Week in West Virginia History,” originating from e-WV: The West Virginia Encyclopedia, airs twice daily on West Virginia Public Radio and appears as a weekly column in many newspapers.


The West Virginia Humanities Council board of directors is drawn from all parts of West Virginia. Click to see our list of present board members and their locations.


Visit e-WV: The West Virginia Encyclopedia


View the 2017 West Virginia Folklife Program Activities Report here.


View our 2016 Activities Report here.