Eligibility and Application Process

Please review the eligibility criteria for participation in Summer Seminars and Institutes at School Teacher Eligibility Criteria.

Summer Institutes for School Teachers are offered by the National Endowment for the Humanities to provide teachers an opportunity for substantive study of significant humanities ideas and texts. This July, we will accept 30 NEH Summer Scholars from all over the country to join us in New York for two weeks. Summer Scholars will compare and synthesize various perspectives offered by leading scholars making connections between the topics of abolition and suffrage, and develop improved teaching materials appropriate for their students.

Brooklyn Historical Society and the Museum of the City of New York aim to create a fully engaged community of teachers eager to learn from prominent historians and from one another and to consider the importance of understanding the trajectories of freedom struggles in our country over time, specifically abolition and suffrage. This subject matter is timely, as we approach the 150th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1866 and upcoming centennials of the passage of woman suffrage by states (1917 in New York), and by the federal government through the 19th amendment in 1919. Upon completion of the institute, NEH Summer Scholars will receive a certificate indicating their participation.

We welcome teachers from grades 4-12 to apply, including full-time education graduate students, and eligible school administrators. Your application materials (cover letter, resume and essay) must cogently address your commitment to participating fully in the two-week institute, your intellectual interest in the subject matter, skills or experiences that will contribute to making the institute a success, and how you envision your participation will enhance your teaching. Applications should also include an existing lesson plan or unit idea that the applicant would like to work on during the institute that focuses on gender, race, and/or equity in American history.


  1. Complete the NEH cover sheet here. Your application will be considered incomplete if you do not fill this out. Please follow the prompts and click “submit.” At this point you will be asked if you want to fill out a cover sheet for another project. If you wish to do so, follow the prompts to select another project and repeat the process. You must submit a separate cover sheet online for each project to which you are applying in order to generate a unique tracking number for each application. Do not copy and paste a new cover sheet. Save or print a copy to upload as part of your application.
  2. Write us an essay—no more than three double-spaced pages—and tell us: why you are applying; your relevant personal and academic information; why you are equipped to do the work of the institute and to make a contribution to a learning community; what you want to accomplish by participating; and how it relates to the subjects you teach.
  3. Identify a lesson plan you’d like to workshop during your time at the Institute. Lesson plans should not exceed 6 pages, and should relate to how you are currently teaching about race, gender, and/or equity. If applicable, please include how you connect these topics to contemporary current events that have an impact on your students and/or your community.
  4. Contact one person to write a letter of support. Your reference should be either your department head or principal. These letters of support must be emailed by the letter-writers directly to nehinstitute@brooklynhistory.org by March 1, 2016.
  5. Fill out the application form online here, and follow directions to upload all the accompanying materials (listed for reference in the Application Checklist).

To be considered, materials must be received by Tuesday, March 1st, 2016. If you cannot submit through the online form system, please print and mail 3 copies of your complete application to Emily Potter-Ndiaye/Brooklyn Historical Society/128 Pierrepont Street/Brooklyn, NY 11201. Do not send any printed materials to the NEH. Successful applicants will be notified of their selection on March 31, 2016.

Application Checklist

□ Application form (Click here to access the form)
□ A completed NEH cover sheet (in addition to the online submission through NEH’s website)
□ Your resume
□ A personal essay
□ Lesson plan to workshop at the institute

Selection Criteria

A selection committee will read and evaluate all properly completed applications in order to select the institute’s summer scholars and to identify a number of alternates. Recent participants are eligible to apply, but project selection committees are charged to give first consideration to applicants who have not participated in an NEH-supported Seminar, Institute or Landmarks Workshop in the last three years (2013, 2014, 2015).

When choices must be made among equally qualified candidates, several additional factors are considered. Preference is given to applicants who have not previously participated in an NEH Summer Seminar, Institute, or Landmarks Workshop, or who significantly contribute to the diversity of the seminar or institute.