2020 Activities Report

What is the Humanities Council? The West Virginia Humanities Council, an independent nonpartisan nonprofit, is the state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. We fund hundreds of educational programs each year in history, law, literature and language, and other fields of the humanities. We deliver and support programs in communities throughout West Virginia at schools and colleges, libraries, museums, senior centers and other locations. The National Endowment for the Humanities is our primary partner and our largest source of funds.


What has the Humanities Council done lately? In the last year, the West Virginia Humanities Council invested significantly in the cultural life of the Mountain State. Our original online and digital programming was enjoyed by more than 8,600 viewers; and grants and programs were delivered to 43 West Virginia counties, even as we observed public health and social distancing advisories.



2020 West Virginia Humanities Council Grant Awards


Berkeley Eastern West Virginia Area Health Education Center, Healthcare is Human
Brooke Brooke County Library Foundation, emergency relief grant
Cabell Clio Foundation, Digital Humanities for West Virginia
Cabell Clio Foundation, emergency relief grant
Cabell Huntington Museum of Art, emergency relief grant
Cabell Jana Tigchelaar, C19: The Society of Nineteenth-Century Americanists 2020 Dissent
Cabell Kristen Lillvis, American Literature Association
Cabell Marshall University Research Corporation, Amicus Curiae Lecture Series on Constitutional Democracy
Cabell Marshall University Research Corporation, emergency relief grant
Cabell Marshall University Research Corporation, The Dr. Carter G. Woodson Lyceum's 2021 Institute for Black History Instruction
Cabell Marshall University Research Corporation, The Wars Within, the Wars Without: Lucan's Civil War through Modern Veterans' Eyes
Cabell Robert Ellison, Appalachian Studies Association
Cabell Viatcheslav Gratchev, The Russian Avant-garde in the Memories of the Survivors: The Duvakin Interviews, 1967-74
Fayette Mount Hope Heritage and Hope Inc., emergency relief grant
Fayette Municipality of Pax, Pax Town Hall Library Revitalization
Gilmer Glenville State College, emergency relief grant
Greenbrier Carnegie Hall, emergency relief grant
Greenbrier Greenbrier Historical Society, North House 200 Exhibit
Greenbrier Nora Venezky, West Virginia Museum Association Conference: Stayin' Alive: Sustainability, Relevance, & Culture
Hampshire Capon Bridge Ruritan Club, Capon Bridge Founders Day Festival
Hardy Eastern WV Community and Technical College, The Rustic Mechanicals, West Virginia Shakespeare Locally
Hardy Hardy County Convention & Visitors Bureau, Robert Higgins House Phase 2: Create Master Plan, Educational Programs & Community Event
Hardy Lost River Projects, Inc., emergency relief grant
Harrison Harrison County West Virginia Historical Society, emergency relief grant
Harrison Harrison County West Virginia Historical Society, The Pickle Shelf Radio Hour Podcast
Harrison The VTC Legacy Fund, Inc., emergency relief grant
Jefferson Contemporary American Theater Festival, Inc., 2020 Humanities at the Festival
Jefferson Contemporary American Theater Festival, Inc., emergency relief grant
Jefferson Historic Shepherdstown Commission, emergency relief grant
Jefferson Jefferson County Historic Landmarks Commission, emergency relief grant
Jefferson Robert C. Byrd Center for Congressional History and Education, emergency relief grant
Jefferson Shepherd University Foundation, 2020 Appalachian Heritage Writer's Award, Writer-in-Residence Project and West Virginia State Common Read Program
Jefferson Shepherd University Foundation, emergency relief grant
Jefferson Shepherd University Foundation, COVID-19 Oral History Project
Jefferson Shepherd University Foundation, Toward a More Perfect Union: Teaching about Congress, the Constitution, and Representative Democracy in American History
Jefferson Shepherdstown Public Library, emergency relief grant
Kanawha Clay Center for the Arts and Sciences of WV, emergency relief grant
Kanawha Festiv-ALL Charleston, West Virginia, Inc., Appalachian Authors' Roundtable
Kanawha HOPE Community Development Corporation, Oral History of Charleston's Triangle District
Kanawha Kimberly McFall, Child and the Book Conference 2020
Kanawha Rural Appalachian Improvement League, emergency relief grant
Kanawha Thanks! Plain and Simple, Inc., emergency relief grant
Kanawha The Charleston Ballet, emergency relief grant
Kanawha The Education Alliance, emergency relief grant
Kanawha University of Charleston, The Blennerhassetts
Kanawha West Virginia Archeological Society, emergency relief grant
Kanawha West Virginia Land Trust, emergency relief grant
Kanawha West Virginia Music Hall of Fame, emergency relief grant
Kanawha West Virginia Public Broadcasting Foundation, Inc., Us & Them: Season 7
Kanawha West Virginia State University Research and Development Corp., The Art of Story Telling
Kanawha West Virginia Symphony Orchestra, Inc., emergency relief grant
Lewis The City of Weston, Historic Walking Tour of Weston Exhibits
Marion Pricketts Fort Memorial Foundation, emergency relief grant
Marshall Marshall County Historical Society, emergency relief grant
Marshall Strand Theatre Preservation Society, emergency relief grant
Mason Fort Randolph Committee, emergency relief grant
Mason Point Pleasant River Museum Foundation, emergency relief grant
Mercer Blevin Shelnutt, Marketplace Aesthetics: Making American Literature in Nineteenth-Century New York City
Mercer Blevin Shelnutt, Northeast Modern Language Association Annual Convention
Mineral Friends of Ashby's Fort, Inc., Dendrochronology Exhibit
Mineral Friends of Ashby's Fort, Inc., emergency relief grant
Mineral Friends of Ashby's Fort, Inc., The Final Bastion:  Continuation of Archaeology at Ashby's Fort
Mineral Mineral County Historical Foundation, Inc., Twin Mountain & Potomac (TM&P) Railroad Display
Mingo West Virginia Mine Wars Museum, emergency relief grant
Mingo West Virginia Mine Wars Museum, Treason Trials Exhibit
Monongalia Brian D. Ballentine, Data Collection, Curation, and Visualizations of Non-Human Animals
Monongalia Johanna Winant, Lyric Logic
Monongalia Karen Culcasi, Muslim Men and Women’s Experiences in West Virginia
Monongalia Kassandra "Kassie" Colón, Rootedness in West Virginia: Young Latinx Narratives of Community, Belonging and Home
Monongalia Michele Stephens, Domestic Violence in the Criminal Codes of Yucatán and Campeche, 1872-1915
Monongalia Morgantown Theatre Company, emergency relief grant
Monongalia Travis D. Stimeling, WV Religious Music Survey
Monongalia Upper Monongahela River Association, Star City Riverfront History Plaques
Monongalia West Virginia University Research Corporation, American Indian Boarding School ARCHIVES Workshop
Monongalia West Virginia University Research Corporation, Hardwood & Harmony
Monongalia West Virginia University Research Corporation, Undefeated: Canvas(s)ing the Politics of Voter Suppression since Women’s Suffrage Exhibition & Programming
Monroe Rural Free Delivery, Inc., Evaluation and Validation of "CASS: THE PLAY" from an historical perspective
Morgan Eastern Panhandle National Organization for Women, Exploring Women's Suffrage in West Virginia's Eastern Panhandle
Morgan Museum of the Berkeley Springs, Morgan County Bicentennial
Nicholas The Richwood Area Chamber of Commerce, emergency relief grant
Ohio Ohio County Public Library, Ann Thomas Memorial Lecture with Crystal Wilkinson
Ohio WALS Foundation, emergency relief grant
Ohio Wheeling Symphony Society, Inc., emergency relief grant
Pocahontas Pearl S. Buck Birthplace Foundation, emergency relief grant
Preston Arthurdale Heritage, Inc., emergency relief grant
Preston Rowlesburg Revitalization Committee, Inc., emergency relief grant
Putnam Rivers to Ridges Heritage Trail, Inc., Rivers to Ridges Heritage Trail Interpretive Signage
Raleigh Mountain Resources Conservation and Development Council, Sandy Creek Expedition Tour Signs
Randolph Augusta Heritage Center, emergency relief grant
Randolph Davis & Elkins College, Humanities at Augusta: Spotlight on American Folklife and Folk Arts
Randolph Historic Beverly Preservation, emergency relief grant
Randolph Interact Children's Museum, A World of Fun
Randolph Michael Kline, Hippie Culture and Community Life in the Back-to-the-Land Movement: The Resettlement of Abandoned Lands in Rural West Virginia
Randolph Preservation Alliance of West Virginia, Inc., Frances Benjamin Johnston: West Virginia Icon
Randolph Randolph County Museum, If These Walls Could Talk
Tucker Friends of Blackwater, Davis WV Industrial History Project
Tucker Friends of Blackwater, emergency relief grant
Tucker Voices From the Earth, Inc., emergency relief grant
Upshur Upshur County Public Library, emergency relief grant
Upshur West Virginia Strawberry Festival, emergency relief grant
Wayne Heritage Farm Museum and Village, emergency relief grant
Wood Oil, Gas and Industrial Historical Association, Inc., emergency relief grant
Wood Smoot Theatre Corporation, emergency relief grant






Other Council-Funded Activities


The Council premiered the audiobook series Mysterious Mondays, featuring annotated readings of the “Uncle Abner” detective stories by West Virginia author Melville Davisson Post.  Featured stories were drawn from the West Virginia Classics book series, a collaborative project of the Council and WVU Press.


Upon nomination by State Folklorist Emily Hilliard, Clay County fiddler and banjo player John Morris was named a 2020 National Endowment for the Arts National Heritage Fellow.


e-WV, The West Virginia Encyclopedia online, was accessed by 406,973 users from every state in the USA and 192 other nations and provinces. In all, e-WV recorded 1.2 million page views in 2020.


History Alive! added six living history characters, bringing the total active roster to 15, and expanded availability to include virtual performances.


In 2020 the Humanities Council awarded 45 grants in 21 counties throughout the state. The Council also awarded over $420,000 in CARES Act emergency relief funding to 49 cultural organizations and institutions in 24 counties.


We welcomed the second class of the NEA-funded West Virginia Folklife Apprenticeship Program, supporting 7 master-apprentice pairs throughout the state.


The 2020 Little Lectures series was delivered online this year, for the first time allowing viewers throughout the state to enjoy one of the Council’s most popular annual programs. The full series is available on the Council’s YouTube channel.


We continued our partnership with the William G. Pomeroy Foundation to administer the national Legends & Lore Roadside Marker Program in the state of West Virginia, supporting the installation of six new roadside markers commemorating local legends and historical events.


Our Virtual West Virginia Day celebration brought a full day of Mountain State content to viewers across social media and on the Council’s main website. Highlights included a pepperoni roll-making tutorial, musical performances by our West Virginia Folklife Apprenticeship pairs, and a comprehensive multimedia exhibit on the history of the Council’s home office, Charleston’s historic MacFarland-Hubbard House.


The 1863 Club, the Council’s first formal cultivation society, welcomed its inaugural cohort of supporters in January 2020 and enters the new year with 28 active members.


Humanities Council grants funded historic walking and driving tour signs in Star City, Weston, Davis, Nitro, and the Sandy Creek area of McDowell and Mingo counties.


West Virginia Folklife collected documentation of West Virginians’ creative responses to COVID-19, including music, stories, writing, craft, art, memes, mask-making, and more.


The Council awarded funding for new museum exhibits in Beverly, Morgantown, Matewan, Keyser, Forth Ashby, and Lewisburg.


With the help from the Council’s CARES Act grants, organizations such as the Point Pleasant River Museum, the historic Cockayne Farmstead in Glen Dale, and the Pearl S. Buck Birthplace were able to continue operations and prevent staff layoffs despite revenue lost due to the pandemic.


The Council awarded funding to the history department at Shepherd University to conduct oral history interviews with West Virginians documenting their experiences with the COVID pandemic.


Nine fellowships were awarded to scholars in locations around the state, including Elkins, Morgantown, Huntington, and Athens.


Council grants supported virtual programming at the Contemporary American Theater Festival, Augusta Heritage, the Appalachian Heritage Writer-in-Residence project, and Charleston’s FestivALL.


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


Visit e-WV: The West Virginia Encyclopedia


View our 2019 Activities Report here.

2020 CARES Act Emergency Relief Grants

In 2020, the West Virginia Humanities Council provided more than $420,000 in CARES Act Emergency Relief Grants to West Virginia cultural institutions to help ensure staff retention and program delivery during the COVID-19 pandemic.

List of Recipients »