The National Humanities Medal honors individuals and organizations whose work has deepened our nation’s understanding of and engagement with history, literature, languages, philosophy, and other humanities subjects. The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) established this annual prestigious award in 1997 as the successor to the Charles Frankel Prize in the Humanities, which the agency sponsored from 1989 to 1996.


NEH welcomes nominations for individuals and organizations whose activities, contributions, and achievements have significantly enriched the educational, intellectual, and cultural life of the nation. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • significant scholarship or writing that has expanded our knowledge and understanding of the humanities;
  • outstanding humanities education programs for students, teachers, or adult learners;
  • exemplary television documentaries and radio programs;
  • compelling interpretive exhibitions, reading and discussion programs, or other programs that enrich Americans’ understanding of the humanities;
  • programs that preserve and create access to the nation’s cultural heritage and intellectual legacy;
  • design and implementation of innovative technologies that enhance public, scholarly, or educational access to the humanities; and
  • sustained philanthropic efforts on behalf of humanities activities or organizations.

Nominated organizations must be established or incorporated in the United States. Self-nominations are not permitted. Please consult the list of previous National Humanities Medal and Charles Frankel Prize honorees before submitting a nomination.

Please note: For individuals or organizations involved in the creative or performing arts, please see the description of the National Medal of Arts on website of the the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA).

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