"The sciences are the 'how,' and the humanities are the 'why' — why are we here, why do we believe in the things we believe in. I don’t think you can have the 'how' without the 'why.'"

- George Lucas

Since 1965, the NEH has opened new worlds of learning for the American public with noteworthy projects such as:

  • Seven thousand books, 16 of which have won Pulitzer Prizes, and 20 of which have received the Bancroft Prize

  • The Civil War, the landmark documentary by Ken Burns viewed by 38 million Americans

  • The Library of America editions of novels, essays, and poems celebrating America’s literary heritage

  • The United States Newspaper Project, which cataloged and microfilmed 63.3 million pages of historic newspapers, paved the way for the National Digital Newspaper Program and its digital repository, Chronicling America

  • Annual support for 56 states and territories to help support some 56,000 lectures, discussions, exhibitions and other programs each year 

  Thomas Edison famously said that "genius is one percent inspiration, ninety-nine percent perspiration." Edison's genius led to the development of technologies that we could hardly imagine living without today.   The Papers of Thomas A. Edison   project gives us a much better sense of the perspiration that went into the development of those technologies and Edison’s business decisions. 

Thomas Edison famously said that "genius is one percent inspiration, ninety-nine percent perspiration." Edison's genius led to the development of technologies that we could hardly imagine living without today. The Papers of Thomas A. Edison project gives us a much better sense of the perspiration that went into the development of those technologies and Edison’s business decisions. 

   Th   e Civil War  , the landmark documentary by Ken Burns viewed by 38 million Americans

The Civil War, the landmark documentary by Ken Burns viewed by 38 million Americans

  GWETA, Inc. received a  Production grant  for a documentary television series about the American experience of World War II. 

GWETA, Inc. received a Production grant for a documentary television series about the American experience of World War II. 

  The Treasures of Tutankhamun" exhibition opens in Washington, D.C., to a record-breaking crowd of five million, before moving to Chicago, New Orleans, Los Angeles, Seattle, and New York.

The Treasures of Tutankhamun" exhibition opens in Washington, D.C., to a record-breaking crowd of five million, before moving to Chicago, New Orleans, Los Angeles, Seattle, and New York.

 Louisa Catherine Adams, by Gilbert Stuart, circa 1821-26. Louisa was about 50 years old at the time this was painted, during John Adams's term as President. This portrait is currently in the White House.   Image credit: The White House Historical Association, via Wikimedia Commons. Oil on canvas. This image is in the public domain.

Louisa Catherine Adams, by Gilbert Stuart, circa 1821-26. Louisa was about 50 years old at the time this was painted, during John Adams's term as President. This portrait is currently in the White House.

Image credit: The White House Historical Association, via Wikimedia Commons. Oil on canvas. This image is in the public domain.

 Building “i” Carpenter’s shop, Overhead view of the post-in-ground, dirt-floored carpenter’s shop, excavated in 1986 ©Thomas Jefferson Foundation at Monticello

Building “i” Carpenter’s shop, Overhead view of the post-in-ground, dirt-floored carpenter’s shop, excavated in 1986©Thomas Jefferson Foundation at Monticello