Humanities Moments

Humanities Moments

We’ve all had “humanities moments” — when our lives were made richer, more poignant, and meaningful because of the insights the humanities provide.

Humanities moments occur daily in the lives of human beings. We access them through stories that reveal our complexities, our aspirations, and our tragic flaws. Whether we reflect on our personal experiences or our national history, it is the humanities moments that are most resonant and to which we continually return to mark who we are as individuals and as a culture.

The Humanities Moments Project was created by the National Humanities Center in an effort to gather, store, and share personal accounts about how the humanities illuminate our lives, help us better understand ourselves and each other, and provide tools for more fully understanding where we came from and where we are going.

We encourage you to

  • Explore the moments submitted by people from all walks of life about how the humanities have shaped their understanding of the world and of their fellow human beings, opened their eyes to new possibilities, and helped guide them through life.
  • Share your own stories about memorable encounters with history, literature, philosophy, the study of art and music, film and folklore, and other humanities topics.
  • Invite others to join the Humanities Moments project and add their voices to those gathered here.

Recently Added Moments

A quiet desperation

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In my late 20s, I knew that I wanted to make a vocational shift, but I struggled to find the courage to do so. One day, I came across the lines of Transcendentalist philosopher Henry David Thoreau. "Most men lead lives of quiet desperation," he wrote in Waldenin…

The Islamic Empire

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by My teachers

When I began AP World in my sophomore year of high school, I knew virtually nothing about the religion of Islam. So when we began our unit on the Islamic Empire, my experience was something akin to culture shock. I had never realized how similar Islam was to Christianity,…

Differences

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by Odera Tait

It's not often that we interact with people that have disabilities. When I was in elementary school my mother worked in homecare and took care of a young girl. She was the same age as me but she didn't have the ability to communicate, walk, or even feed herself on her own. I…

Human Thinking in Robots

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One of my humanities moments happened while I was watching old reruns of Star Trek: The Next Generation. There is a character in that show named Data, an android who is constantly seeking his own humanity. At one point the crew of the Enterprise finds the sister of a fellow…

Do Something

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by Ciara Tolbert

This skit was made because of multiple inspirations, but my contribution was the misuse of the word 'retard'. More days than not, I will be sitting on the bus hearing middle schoolers use the word retarded to describe something that is stupid or silly. I assume that they…

Inability to change.

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by Riley

When I was on a mission’s trip in Atlanta, Georgia, we went to visit a refugee housing area where many of the children there didn’t have a positive role model to look up to. Many of the parents of the children could hardly speak English, and the children relied on…

Carnegie Hall

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by Weaver Academy student

When I was a sophomore in high school, I had the opportunity to perform at Carnegie Hall in New York with my high school choir. We had been invited to perform a solo set of three songs under the conduction of our teacher. This once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that I…

Dinner Talk

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by My Dad

My humanities moment happened a few days ago when I was talking to my father about college at a Mexican Restaurant. He talked to me about how lucky I was to be graduating high school and going to college in the fall. I didn't understand why it was such a big deal until he…

The Need for Food

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by Savannah

2 years ago my sister and I decided to spend our Saturday mornings helping distribute food at the Alamance Food Pantry . 30 families were given food every week and were only allowed to come once a month. One morning a woman showed up and had heard about the food pantry and…

Taking Inspiration

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by James Cannizzaro

Throughout my senior year of high school, I got to work alongside my classmates and my teacher, Mrs. Woods, as artists. This was our AP year, so our classroom acted as a sort of studio for all of us as we got to individually work on our concentrations. My concentration took…

Jim

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by Carolyn Bucknall

When I was a girl, my father hosted big work parties. I loved the parties because I loved Jim, the IT guy. He always smiled at me; he would take me up in his lap and bounce me until we both were giggling too much to continue. I loved Jim, and Jim, he loved me too.
Fast…

A Picture of Reality

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by Olivia K. Moore

A few months ago I visited a local art museum and there was one particular exhibit that caught my interest. It was a photography exhibit by Lucinda Devlin. She had many different collections but the one I found myself looking at the longest was a collection of pictures she…

The Statue

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by Emeli Hernandez

My sophomore year of high school I took a 3-D Design class. Our final project in the class was to build a huge statue out of tile samples and chicken wire but it was different from all of the other projects because we were forced to work as a class on the one statue. At that…

Understanding Native Oppression

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by My history teachers and my friends

The first time I had ever learned about Native Americans as a part of history was when I took AP World History. My understanding of Native History grew as a studied AP United States History as well. It was through these courses that I could truly grasp what Native Americans…

Abroad At Home

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by Olivia Azzarita

A few summers ago, I volunteered at a summer camp at a local school working with children to create art and other goods to sell at a market. Most of the children came from the school, or at least the area, but there was one family at the camp that had come from Japan. The…

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