The humanities are a window into the deepest aspects of the human condition, those things that persist across time and cultures. They familiarize us with the language of emotion and motivation, and the areas of human life that defy quantification. And, despite the claim that studying the humanities is impractical, they develop habits of shrewd observation, thoughtful understanding, and clear expression that are invaluable in every walk of personal and professional life. 

In this age of reality TV, inch-deep internet analysis, and glib sound bites, we applaud Humanities Washington for supporting these timeless lessons.

Bruce Shepard
President, Western Washington University
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Who We Are

Humanities Washington plays a critical role in addressing an immediate and growing crisis concerning community identity and understanding, and our ability to work together to shape the future. As Washington State's flagship nonprofit for the humanities, Humanities Washington provides programs ranging from speakers to traveling Smithsonian exhibits.

Our Work:

Humanities Washington is the state's flagship non-profit for promoting and providing programs based in the humanities. We play a critical role in addressing an immediate and growing crisis concerning community identity and understanding, respect for other perspectives, and the ability of communities to work together to shape a better future.

Our work in cultural education—ranging from our speakers bureau to traveling Smithsonian exhibits to family literacy instruction—promotes awareness of the history of local communities and its residents, provides opportunities for people to gather and learn more about their unique past and shared present, and nurtures relationships that enable us to move forward towards a more prosperous future.

Humanities Washington acts as a catalyst and facilitator, supporting and partnering with a wide network of communities, organizations, and individuals across the state by:

  • Creating, inspiring, supporting, and enhancing high-quality humanities-related programming.
  • Providing organizational and technical support to community organizations across the state.
  • Promoting public awareness of the power of the humanities work and the value it provides individuals, organizations, and communities statewide.

Our Lens:

We believe the humanities provide valuable opportunities to:

  • Inquire in ways that test our assumptions and challenge our biases.
  • Obtain insight by exploring a range of outlooks, including the gray area between polarizing positions.
  • Gain inspiration from the stories, ideas, and perspectives that sustain our lives.

The humanities–including history, literature, philosophy, ethics, law, and other fields of inquiry–reflect our past, but just as importantly, our present and future, serving as a dynamic light to engage, inspire, challenge, and empower Washingtonians.

The humanities encourage us to investigate, speak, listen, read, reflect, question, think, grow, and act. Through the humanities and from a variety of perspectives, we provide programs and experiences of lasting value, creating insight, understanding, wisdom, and a deeper appreciation for all that we share.


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