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Minnesota Humanities Center

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Nonprofit Overview

Mission: The minnesota humanities center (humanities center) is an independent, not-for-profit organization. Its mission is to build a thoughtful, literate, and engaged society. Financial support for the programs and services of the humanities center comes from the national endowment for the humanities, the state of minnesota, private and corporate foundations, individuals, and revenue earned from fees and conference center rentals. The minnesota humanities center provides humanities-based professional development services to schools and educators and it works in partnership with numerous organizations to conduct meaningful and engaging public humanities programming in communities throughout minnesota. Its relationship-based approach to humanities programming is focused on bringing into public life the stories and experiences of people and communities that have been missing and marginalized.

Programs: The minnesota humanities center is a nonprofit that collaborates with organizations and individuals to inspire community conversations, forge deep connections, and illuminate authentic, diverse voices across minnesota, especially those left out or marginalized. We work to build a thoughtful, literate, and engaged society through education, partnerships, and public programs. The humanities center offers a new way to think about our future - grounded in the humanities. Our state is rapidly changing and growing even more diverse. The humanities center's approach affirms we're all in this together - using philosophy, literature, music, history, and language - we focus on what unites us not divides us. The humanities center helps people listen, connect, and understand each other better. We gather all voices and make clear that all narratives, including those that have been long absent from our education and public awareness, belong to the great human story. During the past year, the minnesota humanities center has used its' funds in three key program areas: minnesota education strategy, veterans' voices, and water/ways. Minnesota education strategy is at work in minnesota and has proven results that address contemporary issues in education from a humanities foundation. It is based on the reality that relationships are fundamental to learning and exist within cultures. This empowers educators to build relationships with students and communities to increase student engagement. The education strategy helps educators, students, and parents create success by closing the relationship gap that undercuts efforts to eliminate disparities in academic achievement. In the last twelve months the humanities center served more than 1,300 minnesota educators, including: forty-six educators completed a week long cohort-based institute experience that deepened relationships, amplified skills and techniques to use in their daily practice, and builds a state network of support among educators. More than 580 educators representing 68 school districts expanded their understanding of the world around them at humanities-based events such as the "increase engagement through absent narratives" workshop and the "bdote field trip. " 675 educators engaged with the absent narratives resource collection an online searchable database of over 1,000 ready-to-use videos, teacher guides, and readings that help educators increase classroom engagement through presentations and conference workshops. Veterans' voices is a fast growing program that is changing the dominate narrative of minnesota's veterans. This program draws on the power of the humanities to explore and share the full life experiences of veterans. It empowers minnesota veterans to speak in their own voices through storytelling, discussion groups, plays, literature, and the annual veterans' voices award. Veterans' voices will recognize the next great generation and illustrate that the veteran's voice is essential to the work of building our great democracy. The fifth cohort of 25 veterans who have gone above and beyond to make exceptional, positive contributions that improve the lives of minnesotans across the state were honored at the 2017 veterans' voices award ceremony held on september 11, 2017, in front of 370 minnesotans. The 2017 awardees now make up a network of 125 former awardees throughout the state. The veterans' voices memorials project, which provides a guide to educators and the public visiting the capitol mall and challenges them to consider how memory, war, and experiences of service are imbricated and represented. Designed and developed though community convenings, minnesota remembers vietnam aims to remember the war in vietnam and southeast asia through the power of the humanities. Six communities received grants and will begin hosting events and activities in 2018-2019 in minneapolis, st, paul, moorhead, little falls, duluth, and st. Cloud. Storytelling development workshops for veterans to learn to share their experiences through dynamic storytelling, and subsequent performance opportunities in such locations as camp ripley and historic fort snelling. The veterans' voices workshop for educators, held at camp ripley, provides resources and professional development to help educators bring the missing stories of veterans, military service members, and military families into their classroom. Water/ways and we are water mn is a partnership formed to tell minnesota's water stories collaboratively, bringing together personal narratives, historical materials, and scientific information. Combining these ways of knowing water strengthens minnesotans' relationships with and responsibilities to water. In 2016-2017, the humanities center partnered with six minnesota host sites and communities: prairie woods environmental learning center (spicer), nicollet county historical society (st. Peter), goodhue county historical society (red wing), audubon center of the north woods (sandstone), lanesboro arts (lanesboro), becker county historical society (detroit lakes) to tour the water/ways exhibit with community engagement programming. The 2018-2019 host sites are located in grand rapids, onamia, cloquet, minneapolis, bemidji, crookston, austin, and northfield a network of state partners include minnesota pollution control agency, minnesota historical society, minnesota department of health, department of agriculture, minnesota department of natural resources, and the minnesota section of the american water works association 7,238 participants viewed the exhibit in six communities across minnesota more than 530 national, state, and local water stories were collectedlegacy programs and purposesthe minnesota humanities center received an appropriation from the clean water, land and legacy amendment for programs and purposes for the 2017-2019 biennium. A portion of these funds are used for the minnesota education strategy and veterans' voices programs. In addition, in the spring of 2017, the why treaties matter: self-government in the dakota and ojibwe nations exhibit was installed at the newly-renovated minnesota state capitol building. In addition to a permanent exhibit at the state capitol, the exhibit toured locally in schools, and is on track to tour the university of minnesota system in 2017-2018. Future programming and educator guides for this exhibit will be developed with the indian affairs council of the state of minnesota. Legacy pass-through appropriations in 2017, the minnesota humanities center administered 14 direct appropriations totaling $3,152,250 from the minnesota general operating fund and the clean water, land and legacy amendment for the 2017-2019 biennium. Grantees include cultural heritage organizations, children's museums, civics education organizations, the minnesota state council on disability, governor's council on developmental disabilities, kajoog fanka program, somali community and museum grants, ramsey county parks-cultural games and cultural athletic fields and rondo commemorative plaza.

the humanities center operates a full-service event center, as created by the state legislature in 1996. In addition to housing programs of the humanities center, this restored architectural landmark serves as a gathering place for educators, social service providers, other non-profits, state colleges and universities, state agencies and community groups seeking to improve both their individual work and the quality of life for all minnesotans, by providing high-quality, cost effective meeting and event space for educational and public programs and staff education and development. In the last twelve months, the humanities center hosted 347 meetings and events in its meeting and event spaces, serving over 9,600 people associated with local community organizations.

Community Stories

14 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

General Member of the Public

Rating: 4

I attended the program called Revolutionary Leadership at the MN Humanities Center. To prepare for the two day seminar I took an online class called "The Absent Narrative." As a member of our school's leadership team I felt this was a good opportunity to look at new ways to approach the way we teach students from diverse backgrounds. Part of our school improvement plan is to help all teachers be culturally responsive in their practice and this program at the Humanities Center provided resources and information to begin to achieve this goal. I've already used some of the resources provided and our staff is discussing ways to continue to look at our curriculum so that our students can see themselves in the content. This was an excellent program and I would highly recommend it to any school looking to provide a more culturally relevant as well as culturally responsive curriculum.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Last year I went to 5 or 6 classes or workshops through the MN Humanities Center. I have loved every course I have taken from them. They have fantastic knowledgable speakers/presenters and a comfortable space to work.

I attended one of their sponsored Landmark workshops last year and it was a well run, fun, and interesting hands-on learning opportunity.

Lastly, I took 3 of their online training courses and they were a great and informative guide on the topics. The resources are all listed if you want further information at the end of the videos/guides. I recommend these to all!

Review from Guidestar

Client Served

Rating: 4

I took two classes last year at the Humanities Center. I am a high school social studies teacher at a charter school for immigrants ans refugees. I took a geography course about Africa and one about American Indian land tenure. Both classes gave me more knowledge and teaching ideas and strategies to use in the classroom. I especially found the class on American Indian land tenurre to be most helpful because it is difficult to find resources and this complex issue is ususally left out of textbooks, so the duty of researching and collecting resources falls on very busy teachers.

Review from Guidestar

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I have attended programs at the Humanities Commissions for many decades ( and at least once or twice a year) and never have been disappointed by the content, expertise, and thoughful planning of the events. The diversity of topics, speakers, and ideas are always top-notch.The staff at the NHC understands what adult learners need and how to design professional development opportunities for adults who have wide range of interests.

As a classroom teacher so much of what I have learned through MHC programming has been embedded back into my curriculum. The materials from events have been passed through my faculty for dissemination. The MHC is a strong center of support for teacher renewal, growth and development which has such direct impact on our students.




Review from Guidestar

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I use rthe Humanities Center to take classes for updating my Elem. Educ. license. I have gone frequently over the years. I find it to be one of the best facilities for good food, pleasant surroundings, excellent presenters, and current provocative subject matter helpful to me in my field of education.

I have recommended them often to other colleagues because it's such a great place to go, not to mention the helpful staff and good rates. I always come away with new ideas that I can actually use in the classroom. It's a 5 star rating with me!

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The project our community did with the MHC was fantastic. We were able to have the history of our community that has been traditionally ignored distorted and neglected by MN historical venues , finally get heard and recorded. And MHC did it right . They went to the community for imput throughout the process from the start to the completion. Unlike other groups who tell our story without our imput .
MHC certainly personified the words of their mission statement "fosters collaboration among cultural organizations ". Muchisimas Gracias. Gilbert de la O

Review from Guidestar

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have worked with the Minnesota Humanities Center for almost three decades. Since joing the board about a year and a half ago I have learned so much more about the important work of the Mumanities Center in Minnesota. They do a lot statewide and even beyond our borders to help improve peoples lives.

Review from Guidestar

Client Served

Rating: 4

The Humanities Center's meeting facility was a perfect setting for our non-profit's staff retreat. The library provided a comfortable meeting space with the modern audiovisual necessities for presentations. The meal and snack choices were slightly spartan but of good quality and affordable.
We will continue to use the Humanities Center for our annual retreats. Their staff made all aspects (reservations, set-up, invoicing, etc.) of the retreat run smoothly. It provided a comfortable setting that was conducive to staff rejuvination and brain-storming. We already are looking forward to next year.

Review from Guidestar

Client Served

Rating: 5

I come to the Humanities Center lunches to learn and to meet the people sitting at my table. When the Humanities Center speaker presented historical information about the Iron Range and immigrant miners who worked there, we learned about how immigrants adapted in the face of hostility from earlier settlers, which is what Somali immigrants face today. How else could we have learned about that, other than at the Humanities Center? They’re unique and irreplaceable.

Review from Guidestar

Client Served

Rating: 5

I have attended teacher workshops at the Humanities Center for several years. I have always found the speakers to be knowledgeable and the information presented to be applicable to my teaching situation. Many of the topics presented are not available from other sources. The format of the workshop and the facilities are very comfortable and inviting.

Review from Guidestar

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

The Minnesota Humanities Center always has culturally relevant material for schools and educators through their classes and professional development opportunities. Their recent endeavor with Absent Narratives finally gives our many ethnic groups a voice in the curriculum of schools. I am very excited to be able to work with them and open our curriculum to the achievement and voices of our Asian, Hispanic, Black, and Native American communities.

Review from Guidestar

Client Served

Rating: 5

Where do I start to tell you about what the MN Humanities Center has meant to me over the last 18 years? Their programs are top notch. They always have extremely qualified and interesting presenters. I have learned so much, and it has helped me to be a better teacher in so many ways--in my interaction with my colleagues and with my students, in my knowledge of my subject area and in interdisciplinary subject areas that affect me. I come away from their workshops feeling like I have truly spent my time wisely, that I haven't wasted another day going to another boring workshop. In fact, I CHOOSE to go to their workshops and recommend them to fellow teachers. I sometimes fantasize about how to justify going to a history-related workshop just because it sounds interesting to me (but knowing that it will never get approved). It isn't just the presentations that make me a better teacher, it is also the way I am treated: like a true professional! I think I carry myself more proudly after I have attended their workshops. And in my profession, that is worth a lot! Just thinking about this organization and what they stand for makes me feel good. They truly stand for what is right in Minnesota, what makes us great.

A specific example? I attended the workshop on Latinos in America, and I had so much material to share with my students and my colleagues that I didn't know where to start sharing it. I even was able to use some it in my Master's thesis on diversity. The info, the presenters, the networking I did was invaluable.

Review from Guidestar

General Member of the Public

Rating: 4

I have had a number of experiences with MHC. I am employed by a local school district and have attended a number of meetings and other activities there.
The facility and its staff are welcoming and accomodating. Whether I was part of a group of 12, 50 or 100+, I always felt appreciated and taken care of.
Recently, I had the oppurtunity of attending a wedding reception and dance at MHC. All of the rooms were for our use. It was easy to mingle and touch base with all of the guests and, of course, the food was GREAT!
I am also aware that the facility has rooms available to the presenters and participants should they need overnight accomodations.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

My field of expertise is professional development for educators, especially in the area of classroom practices. When teachers ask: "how can I understand culture and its impact in my school?" my answer has been: Seek out the the Minnesota Humanities Center. It is one of the highest quality professional development providers in this area in the country. Their programs are timely, informative and especially applicable to Minnesota educators. Their staff has been filling a void in teacher professional development for many years: cultural identity and cultural awareness are directly related to the achievement gaps in MN. The MHC is dedicated to closing those gaps through its focused, professional opportunities for educators and the community--they provide an understanding of the many cultural contributions and the needs of all our diverse communities. Topics are explored by MHC in a variety of formats-from introductory sessions to in-depth, interactive work with local, regional and national experts. 'Sensitive and informative presentations' have been repeated compliments from members of teacher groups. In my capacity as the director of Education Minnesota's non profit program, I welcomed the opportunity to promote the MHC's work and to advocate for expansion of their delivery system--from Aitken to Zumbro, educators and the community in this state rely on MHC to heighten awareness and understanding of the impact of culture in our schools and communities.

Review from Guidestar