Patricia Williamsen
Executive Director


Ohio Humanities will be providing $750,000 in emergency relief grants for historical societies, museums, and other cultural organizations affected by COVID-19 health crisis.


April 21, 2020

COLUMBUS, OH—Funded by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), the grants will help Ohio’s cultural community mitigate revenue losses, maintain staffing levels, and protect collections. “Ohio’s history and culture can be found throughout the state in art museums and small historical societies,” said Pat Williamsen, Ohio Humanities director. “The people who manage those properties have been hit hard by the shutdowns mandated by the coronavirus pandemic, both personally and professionally. If we lose museum employees or artifacts during this economic crisis, the losses will be irreplaceable.”

Applications for emergency grants will be available beginning on May 1; the deadline for applications is May 15. “We intend to make the first awards by June 1,” Williamsen said, adding that if funds are still available after June 1, funding will continue to be available. Later in the year, if funds are available additional grants will be available to help cultural organizations deliver programs that maintain the health safety of patrons during a post-pandemic environment.

The CARES Act, passed by Congress on March 27, included $75 million emergency funding for the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). Forty percent of that amount has been distributed to the 56 state and territorial humanities councils to support local relief efforts. In late March, NEH reported that the anchors of the creative economy such as museums and historical societies were reporting losses of $1 billion every month as facilities were closed and educational programs were canceled.

Announcing the emergency appropriations available through the CARES Act, NEH Chairman Jon Parrish Peede observed, “To the extent that healing is to come during and after this pandemic, it will be through humanities fields from philosophy to literature to history to religious studies—through the act of documenting, preserving, sharing, and reflecting— that our communities will move toward a greater sense of wholeness.”

Ohio Humanities staff are available by email to help applicants navigate the application process to access emergency funding. Ohio Humanities will continue accepting grant applications for regular projects as listed on grants page.

“Whatever the outcomes of the pandemic and economic crisis, we want to be certain that our rich history and culture remain available to Ohioans,” said Williamsen. “The OH CARES program will ensure that Ohio’s heritage is not another victim of the crisis.”

As OH CARES grants become available, more information will be posted at