What are the humanities?

The “humanities” include the study of history, literature, languages, philosophy, archaeology, ethics, jurisprudence, comparative religion, and world cultures. The humanities also encompass art history, theory, and criticism—but not the creation, display or performance of art—and aspects of the social sciences that use historical or philosophical approaches.

The humanities are hard to describe because they are not a “thing” but rather a process for understanding the human condition. The humanities come to life when we read, when we think, and when we listen and talk to one another. We often think about the humanities as living within the walls of museums or universities but, in fact, they live within all of us.

Our mission at Ohio Humanities is to ensure that every Ohioan has access to the objects, creations, and experiences that will bring the humanities to life in them. When the humanities are alive within each of us, we can engage with one another to better understand the human condition--remembering our past and envisioning a better future. 


Ohio Humanities serves as an advocate for the public humanities in Ohio. We promote the humanities through public programs, grants, and community projects with the goal of helping individuals and communities explore, share, and be inspired by the human experience.

Core Team Values

  • Inclusivity
  • Integrity
  • Partnership
  • Curiosity

  We Need Your Support

Ohio needs to address real issues with real conversations. You can help make that happen. Donate to Ohio Humanities today.