This year, Missouri Humanities will celebrate its 50th anniversary. The Missouri Humanities Council was created in 1971 under authorizing legislation from the US Congress to serve as one of the 56 state and territorial humanities councils that are affiliated with the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). I started working for Missouri Humanities in 1995. Since that time, many things have changed.

Each with a different approach, we have had four Executive Directors in the last 26 years. Under the leadership of our current Executive Director, Dr. Steve Belko, we have seen unprecedented growth with new programs in German Heritage, Native American Heritage, and Archeology. We expanded our presence beyond St. Louis with new offices from Kansas City to Springfield to St. James. Our newest office, in St. Charles, opened just last year.
Veterans Programs continue to flourish as the Proud to Be anthology is in its ninth volume. Dr. Belko has helped the organization establish and strengthen partnerships with organizations like the Kinder Institute for Constitutional Democracy and Magnificent Missouri. Another big change has been the expansion of virtual programs. Digital opportunities at Missouri Humanities really took off in 2020 and allowed us to engage Missourians like never before. I personally enjoyed watching online presentations from the Show Me Speakers Bureau. Like others across the state, the digital format allowed me to participate in programs that I have previously not been able to attend in person.

While there have been many changes over the years, many things at Missouri Humanities have stayed the same. In all my 26 years, Missouri Humanities has remained focused on strengthening communities. We take our calling to enrich the lives of Missourians seriously as we create opportunities to promote life-long learning through public lectures, veterans writing workshops, traveling exhibits, environmental humanities experiences, and exposure to the heritage and history that makes Missouri such a remarkable place to call home.

2021 is shaping up to be a momentous year as we come out of quarantine and commemorate the state’s bicentennial. At the same time, we hope to also use our anniversary year to recognize and express our gratitude for all of the individuals, partners, grantees, and organizations who have worked with us over the last five decades. We would love to hear from you! Please send your recollections, stories, and pictures to me at

Below are highlights of Missouri Humanities’ 50th anniversary celebrations:

  • #MHturns50
    Join our virtual birthday party. Share your memories, stories, and well wishes on social media @MoHumanities throughout 2021 using the hashtag #MHturns50
  • 50th Anniversary Webpage
    Visit our website to view some of the incredible programs funded by Missouri Humanities grants over the years. Important anniversary updates will also be posted at
  • Become a Member in Honor of Our 50th Anniversary
    For 50 years, we have been working to build a more thoughtful, informed, and civil society. Help us connect Missourians to the people, places, and ideas that shape society for the next 50 years by becoming an MH Member through a sustaining contribution. Contact for more information or visit
  • MOmentum Gala
    Join us to celebrate in person. This year’s event will include a special anniversary commemoration. Save the Date for Missouri Humanities 2021 MOmentum Gala on November 20, 2021 at Forest Park.