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Founded in 1991 by a group of Guam citizens, the Humanities Guåhan is a federally recognized nonprofit organization that is affiliated with the National Endowment for the Humanities, an independent federal agency. Humanities Guåhan is dedicated to promoting public humanities programming for the people of Guam, providing foundational support and educational resources for our island community.
The mission of the Humanities Guåhan is to foster community engagement and dialogue, inspire critical thinking, celebrate diversity and enrich the quality of life of island residents through the power of the humanities. To fulfill this mission, Humanities Guåhan presents and supports a diverse range of quality public humanities programs that include family literacy, community grants, interpretive exhibitions, a lending resource center, documentary films and discussions, cultural workshops and performances, community conversations, educator and student workshops, literary tours, and scholarly lectures.
Humanities Guåhan celebrates the rich historical, cultural and social landscape of Guam for future generations by offering opportunities to engage in reflection, discourse, the exchange of ideas and lifelong learning on important issues facing the community for the betterment of our island and people.
The MOTHEREAD/FATHEREAD program was established by Humanities Guåhan in 2000 to encourage family reading and improve literacy on Guam. Teams of trained facilitators teach a curriculum that uses children’s books and interactive lesson plans to help adults build essential skills and incite a love for reading. The program strengthens and supports adult literacy and critical thinking through reading and writing, reflective listening and speaking, and fun activities to do at home. The MOTHEREAD/FATHEREAD program targets “underserved” community members, including those who are incarcerated, economically disadvantaged, and recent immigrants with limited English skills. Themes within the multicultural selection of books and activities highlight child development and family empowerment.
MUSEUM ON MAIN STREET (MOMS) is a key initiative of the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES) in partnership with different humanities councils in the 50 states and territories that directly engages small town audiences and brings revitalized attention to underserved rural communities through their own museums, historical societies and other cultural venues. As part of the MOMS initiative in Guam, Humanities Guåhan develops and curates supplemental exhibitions with their own objects, stories and programs that celebrate Guam’s unique cultural heritage and inspire community pride. Exhibit programming events such as curator and scholar tours, lectures, community conversations, film screenings with discussion, storytelling, educator workshops, interpretive exhibition workshops, interpretive off-site tours, performances, and other special presentations engage audiences to develop a greater understanding and expand on the themes and content presented in the exhibits.
PULITZER PRIZES 2016 CENTENNIAL CAMPFIRES INITIATIVE
In 2015, in honor of the 100th anniversary of The Pulitzer Prizes, Humanities Guåhan received a grant from The Pulitzer Prize Campfires Initiative to develop and present Art + Journalism. The Campfires Initiative aims to ignite broad engagement with the journalistic, literary, and artistic values that the Prizes represent.
GUAM WOMEN WARRIORS
Humanities Guåhan is developing an oral history and online exhibit project entitled GUAM WOMEN WARRIORS that focuses on women currently serving in the military and those who have returned to civilian life. By sharing their stories, perspectives and realities, and through hearing their voices, the goal of the project is to deepen the community’s understanding of women’s military and wartime experiences, as well as what it is like to come home.
CO-COLLECTING PROJECT WITH MUSEUM OF NEW ZEALAND TE PAPA TONGAREWA
The Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa is working with Humanities Guåhan to collect objects from Guam, which will become part of the Te Papa’s Pacific cultures collection. The co-collecting project will focus specifically on the culture of Guam’s indigenous Chamorro people, including works by master carvers, weavers, and blacksmiths.
Guam Humanities Council recently celebrated our 25th anniversary and transition to Humanities Guåhan to best reflect the humanities work we've carried out over the past ten years and to chart our future direction.
This work highlights the importance of understanding and preserving indigenous cultures and histories, with a particular emphasis on the role of Chamorro cultural identity in maintaining Guam's unique way of life while also promoting greater awareness and appreciation of the rich historical, cultural, linguistic and religious diversity of all people that make up the Guåhan community.
Working in partnership with the National Endowment for the Humanities, Humanities Guåhan provides financial support to nonprofit organizations and institutions for humanities programs aimed at public audiences.