Founded in 1973, the Pennsylvania Humanities Council (PHC) is a private, nonprofit, nongovernmental organization dedicated to providing every Pennsylvanian with access to the humanities. PHC works from the belief that the humanities empower citizens to think critically, grow, and engage in their communities. The council's projects include a speakers' bureau on humanities topics, media projects, book discussion groups, and other initiatives that support the work of organizations across the commonwealth, through small grants for public humanities projects. PHC's work is increasingly focused on using the humanities as a catalyst for social change. In 2016, PHC received Center support to present the Chester Made Cultural Exploration Zone, a community-driven research and place-making project to revitalize Chester's downtown area.
The Pennsylvania Humanities Council's (PHC) Chester Made Cultural Exploration Zone engages the community in the collection, interpretation, and revitalization of Chester's underground history in the downtown cultural district and corridor, through programs with interdisciplinary practitioners in history, creative placemaking, and urbanism. Utilizing historical research and community input gathered during a series of interpretive programs and community-curated events, PHC is putting forth new city narratives and expanding its digital Cultural Asset Map, marking places of significance across the city. Audiences are invited to participate in a number of events and programs, including multimedia walking tours, public and performance art that unearth the city's untold history, and pop-up "maker spaces" in which community members design prototypes that beautify, reinterpret, and animate vacant public spaces. The project will culminate in a community festival inspired by Chester's history. In 2014, PHC received a Center Discovery grant in support of the initial planning process that informed this project.
*Additional unrestricted funds are added to each grant for general operating support.*