New Hampshire Humanities Council
Connecting People with Ideas



 


 

Double your support for the Humanities Council with an online gift today

Thanks to the extraordinary generosity of the McIninch Foundation, your gift to the NH Humanities Council will go twice as far if you make a first-time online gift now. The McIninch Foundation has awarded a $25,000 grant to the Humanities Council to support the Council's resource development work. The grant is funding a program to incentivize new online gifts, which includes an electronic giving challenge. It has also funded the hiring of a part-time data entry clerk to assist the Council in updating and maintaining its donor database. We welcomed Rachel Morin to our staff this month.

In addition, as an added incentive to first-time on-line donors, the McIninch Foundation will match new on-line gifts
up to a total of $10,000.

"Enhanced e-communication will allow us to increase the effectiveness of our communications and meet our fundraising goals," said NHHC Executive Director Deborah Watrous. "After three years of significant cuts from our principal funder, the National Endowment for the Humanities, it is critical that we grow our donor base in order to continue to be able to offer hundreds of free programs each year."

"This generous grant from the McIninch Foundation, which includes a $10,000 online giving challenge, provides the resources needed to take our fundraising to the next level," added Watrous. "We are most thankful for the McIninch Foundation's recognition of the critical nature of individual donations in light of diminishing federal support."

Please help us make the most of this unique opportunity. Make a secure on-line gift today!

 


Beloved author Lois Lowry to speak in New Hampshire - Sold out

Acclaimed author Lois Lowry will speak in New Hampshire on Saturday, April 26
at 2 p.m. at the Concord City Auditorium.

Lowry's appearance is sponsored by our Connections adult literacy program
and made possible in part by generous underwriting support from Parker Education,
the The Rowley Agency and The Works Cafe.

The event is free but tickets are required and it is sold out.

Click here to join the waiting list for tickets.

If you hold tickets for this event but find you can't attend, please let us know as soon as possible
so we can release them to the waiting list. Ticketholders should print and bring their tickets with them on April 26. There will be a standby line at the Concord City Auditorium and unfilled seats will be given to people in the standby line on a first-come, first-served basis.

The Humanities Council is very grateful to our friends at the Community Players of Concord for making it possible to hold this event at the Concord City Auditorium.
Get details on their new production, Hotel LaPutts, here.


Lowry will speak about her work, answer questions from the audience, and sign copies of her books which will be available for sale courtesy of Gibson's Bookstore. Lowry will sign a maximum of three books per person and due to the size of the audience she will not be able to sign other items.

Lowry received the Newbery Medal for children's literature in 1990 for Number the Stars. The novel recounts the story of Annemarie Johansen, a Danish gentile who, with her family, risks her life to protect and evacuate Jews from Denmark into Sweden under the shadow of Nazi Germany and the Second World War.

Lowry again received the Newbery Medal in 1993 for The Giver, a tale of a dystopian society in which a boy, Jonas, is named the new Receiver of Memory. The Receiver of Memory is a respected but lonely and difficult position which, Jonas learns, involves holding all of society's memories. The Giver is part of a series that includes Gathering Blue, Messenger, and Lowry's latest work, Son.

The Giver is currently in production as a major motion picture starring Meryl Streep, Jeff Bridges and Taylor Swift and due for release next August.

 

Of course, no one can tell the story of Lowry's life better than the author herself.
Learn much more about her and her work on her website.

 

The Humanities are essential

by Deborah Watrous, NHHC Executive Director

Again this year, Congress is struggling to craft a budget and, once again, there are members who are proposing cuts that have little effect on the deficit but dire consequences for the nation. We've heard the arguments – when times are tough, we must focus on the essentials. And we agree. That is why cutting funds for the humanities and the federal program that supports public humanities programming is short-sighted and dangerous.

Last September, Justice Souter launched Constitutionally Speaking, a civics education initiative offered by the NH Humanities Council in partnership with the NH Supreme Court Society, the UNH School of Law, and the NH Institute for Civic Education.
To a crowd of 1,000 that included middle and high school students, teachers, and members of the general public, Justice Souter offered this stark assessment of the consequences of civic ignorance: "What I worry about is that when problems are not addressed, people will not know who is responsible. And when the problems get bad enough, as they might do for example with another serious terrorist attack, as they might do with another financial meltdown, some one person will come forward and say, give me total power and I will solve this problem…That is how democracy dies. And if something is not done to improve the level of civic knowledge… that is what you should worry about at night."

The humanities — the examination of history, literature, art, religions, laws, and languages — provide a framework for talking about our shared experiences and diverse beliefs. In a world of 140 characters and sound bites, the humanities challenge us to dig deep, to uncover complex layers beneath the headlines. As we face critical international issues such as the crisis in Syria, isn't it better to weigh the options with as much understanding of the history of the region as possible? Closer to home we face pressing ethical choices about healthcare, education, and energy, among others. How do we critically assess our problems and the public policy solutions we should institute? We need more than accurate information; we need wisdom and the power of imagination. The humanities cultivate both.

We are fortunate in New Hampshire to be surrounded by our history and culture, whether obvious — a colonial building in Portsmouth — or buried beneath our feet in a 12,000-year-old Abenaki site discovered in Keene. What can we learn from our state's history that will inform the decisions we make today about such issues as land use, taxation or the balance of power between state and federal governments? What values underlie the stereotypes of New Hampshire that we see on TV every four years when the media descend for the Presidential Primary? Where did those values come from? Do we still hold them? Should we?

The humanities can help "humanize" contentious issues, turning slogans into real people and voices. Did you know that in 1900 New Hampshire's population was 21 percent foreign born? In 2011, it was just 5.6 percent. Knowing the state's history of immigration puts the recent influx of refugees to New Hampshire in perspective. Dreaming Again, the play commissioned by the Humanities Council as part of our immigration initiative, offered glimpses of daily challenges faced by newcomers, from French-Canadian weavers at the Amoskeag Mills in 1900 to a Bhutanese woman carrying groceries in the snow in 2011. As one audience member noted, "By interweaving past and present, it changed my understanding of what immigration meant in earlier days, and the historical materials suggested the deep continuities in the dream to make a better life in America. The sense of loss and alienation in a new land created new sympathy, and the stories of New Hampshire people reaching out to newcomers countered the recent news of anti-immigrant attitudes and legislation."

This summer, the American Academy of Arts & Sciences released "The Heart of the Matter," a report commissioned by a bipartisan group of U.S. Senators and Representatives. Justice Souter and Ken Burns were part of the august commission of civic, corporate, academic, and artistic leaders who conducted the study. Charles Vest, President of the National Academy of Engineering, placed the need for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) education in context by writing, "All the scientific and technological skills of which we can conceive will not solve our world problems if we do not build and adapt a base of human and cultural understanding; ethical and moral underpinnings; sensible rules of law for the 21st century; and integration with the insights, inspirations, and communications of the arts."

Whether it's fostering innovation, improving our critical thinking skills, or maintaining the health of our Republic, we all have a vested interest in ensuring that access to a high-quality, lifelong education in the humanities is available to all. I hope you'll join me in supporting the work of the New Hampshire Humanities Council and our hundreds of educational and cultural partners around the state through a personal, financial investment and by letting your Representative and Senators know that funding for the National Endowment for the Humanities benefits us all.


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The Humanities are Essential
by Deborah Watrous, NHHC Executive Director

Constitutionally Speaking

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