Mission and History

Frequently Asked Questions

Humanities Texas is the state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. A private nonprofit organization founded in 1973, Humanities Texas is supported by appropriations from the U.S. Congress and the state of Texas and gifts and grants from foundations, corporations, and individuals. A volunteer board governs the organization. The Governor of Texas appoints six board members, and the board fills the other vacant seats through a statewide, open nominations process.

What are the humanities?

According to the 1965 National Foundation on the Arts and the Humanities Act, “The term ‘humanities’ includes, but is not limited to, the study of the following: languages, both modern and classical; linguistics; literature; history; jurisprudence; philosophy; archaeology; comparative religion; ethics; the history, criticism, and theory of the arts; those aspects of social sciences which have humanistic content and employ humanistic methods; and the study and application of the humanities to the human environment with particular attention to reflecting our diverse heritage, traditions, and history, and to the relevance of the humanities to the current conditions of national life.”

How old is Humanities Texas?

Although our name is relatively new (2004), the state humanities council was established in 1973. Read a brief history of the organization.

What does Humanities Texas do?

  • Administers a competitive grants program to support humanities projects and events.
  • Creates and circulates traveling exhibitions on historical, literary, and cultural topics.
  • Holds teacher institutes and produces educational materials to support humanities instruction in Texas schools.
  • Administers awards recognizing Texans’ outstanding contributions to the humanities.
  • Develops publications related to the humanities.

Where are you located?

Humanities Texas recently restored its headquarters, the historic Byrne-Reed House. Get contact information and directions.

The Byrne-Reed House is a 1907 mansion located in downtown Austin at 1410 Rio Grande Street, within blocks of the Texas Capitol, The University of Texas at Austin, and several museums and galleries. Learn more about the Byrne-Reed House.

What communities do you serve?

As the state humanities council, Humanities Texas serves the entire state through its grants, traveling exhibitions, teacher institutes, and other programs. We support and develop programs in all regions of the state, in communities both large and small, and for audiences of all ages.

How can I join the Friends of Humanities Texas?

We welcome new members into our Friends group at any time of the year. Learn more and join the Friends of Humanities Texas.

What other humanities organizations exist in Texas and in the United States?

The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), an agency of the U.S. government, provides grants and sponsors programs and initiatives related to the humanities. The NEH also provides funding for and oversees the work of the state humanities councils.

Each state and U.S. territory has a humanities council that sponsors and supports programs throughout its respective area.

The Federation of State Humanities Councils represents and provides support for the work of the state councils.

Some Texas humanities organizations include:

Contact the Texas State Library and Archives Commission, the Texas Historical Commission, the Texas Library Association, and the Texas Association of Museums for further information about the state's museums, libraries, and archives.

Contact Information

Humanities Texas
1410 Rio Grande Street
Austin, TX 78701-1506

Phone: 512.440.1991
Fax: 512.440.0115

For additional information, contact us at info@humanitiestexas.org


The governing bylaws of Humanities Texas are available online.

Questions about Grants

Call 512.440.1991 or email grants@humanitiestexas.org

Questions about Exhibitions

Call 512.440.1991 or email 

Questions about Byrne-Reed House

Call 512.440.1991 or email

Questions about Teacher Institutes

Call 512.440.1991 or email institutes@humanitiestexas.org.

Questions about Teaching Awards

Call 512.440.1991 or email ota@humanitiestexas.org.