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State Historical Society of Iowa


The National Endowment for the Humanities has designated the Iowa Humanities Council as its interim state humanities partner. In this new role, the department will work with constituents to serve and strengthen the humanities in Iowa.


With funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the interim state humanities partner is investing in humanities programs that foster discussion, promote civic engagement and learning, and support the recovery of the humanities sector across Iowa. 

  • Humanities Collaboration Grants offer support for public humanities projects that encourage contemplation, spark conversation and engage the community through collaboration with another nonprofit organization, institution of higher education or school. Eligible projects will use the humanities as the central resource to involve and benefit diverse groups of Iowans through educational programming that explore the human experience. View the program details for guidelines and link to the online application.
  • Humanities Partnership Grants are discretionary grant awards for highly unique, one-time opportunities that fall outside of the regular granting cycles and that align with the department's mission, vision, strategic goals and funding priorities, as well as those of its interim state humanities council. View program details for guidelines.

Current grant recipients can access the program guidelines, final report form and grantee handbook at the links below.

Please note: Eligible applicants may apply for and receive up to one grant award through the interim state humanities partner, per fiscal year, in addition to applying for and receiving up to one grant award through other State Historical Society of Iowa grant programs.

Smithsonian Museum on Main Street

Museum on Main Street is a Smithsonian outreach program that partners with state humanities councils to bring traveling exhibitions, educational resources and programming to communities across America through their own local museums, historical societies and other cultural venues.

The story of human history is written in inventions and innovations. People are problem solvers.  All it takes is a spark – an idea – to get started. Daring individuals are coming together to turn community problems into real solutions. This innovative spirit is crucial to sustaining the vitality of rural places and feeds the nation’s continuous need for fresh thinking and new solutions. But innovation flourishes in some rural places and not others. The "Spark! Places of Innovation" exhibition seeks to answer the question, “Why?”

The exhibit explores how innovation takes place, going beyond what we traditionally think of as innovation. What factors contribute to an atmosphere of creativity and risk taking? How is innovation expressed individually and as a community? Everyday acts of invention are celebrated, from the world-changing to just getting by. Iowa is no exception to this rule – what innovation can your community celebrate? "Spark! Places of Innovation" gives you the structure and framework to showcase the best ways your community has approached and can approach this question.

The State Historical Society of Iowa hopes the communities that host "Spark! Places of Innovation" will be able to further develop their cultural assets, engage in new collaborations, and grow their community identities in new and inspiring ways.

Get more information and apply online.


The State Historical Society of Iowa will seek input from Iowa’s humanities sector and national peer groups to develop programming that meets the current needs of the field in the state. 


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For general inquiries about Iowa’s interim state humanities partner, please contact  

For information about grants, reports or programs administered by Iowa’s previous humanities council, please contact the National Endowment for the Humanities directly at