TELLING A NATION’S STORY—TOGETHER

The first Civic Season is about expanding the lens, making space for more stories from the past, more voices from the present, and more input on what an annual tradition for civic participation could look like.

DIG DEEPER TO FORM ‘A MORE PERFECT UNION’

The 4th of July commemorates the moment when a new generation boldly articulated the values of a new nation: freedom, equality, justice, rights and opportunity. Juneteenth, celebrated just a few weeks earlier, reminds us that people in America have fought to make those values a reality over hundreds of years —and we still have work to do.

An annual Civic Season, bookended by these two significant celebrations, mobilizes us all to connect with our past, take action in the present, and shape the future, through activities and events in our neighborhoods, cities, towns and social spaces. Get started.

Where: National, Local and Digital

When: June 14, 2021 – July 5, 2021

Who: A joint effort from

Who We Are

The inaugural Civic Season is brought to you by Made By Us, representing the keepers of our nation’s past, and Civics Unplugged, representing the next generation shaping the future. Hundreds of trusted cultural and educational organizations nationwide have joined in as program and promotional partners.

Made By Us is a coalition of 100+ history museums, sites, archives, libraries and civics organizations devoted to inspiring, informing and empowering Millennials and Gen Z with history as we approach the nation’s 250th in 2026. The initiative is collectively led by Atlanta History Center, the Charles H. Wright Museum of African-American History, First Americans Museum, History Miami Museum, Missouri Historical Society, National Archives Foundation, New-York Historical Society, Senator John Heinz History Center, Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, and the Thomas Jefferson Foundation, Monticello.

Civics Unplugged is a nonpartisan, nonprofit social enterprise whose mission is to empower the leaders of Generation Z to build the future of democracy. Civics Unplugged exists to cultivate and grow a digital-first community of young leaders empowered to build the future of American democracy. CU is powered by a community of thousands of Gen Z leaders committed to strengthening democracy through civic entrepreneurship across the U.S. and around the world.

We’re delighted to be joined in this inaugural year by Jamie Margolin, founder of Zero Hour; Kahlil Greene, the first Black student body president of Yale; Sara Mora, activist for undocumented immigrant rights; and Taylor Richardson, aspiring astronaut and advocate for representation in science.   

The Civic Season is made possible thanks to the generous support of Marcia Carlucci, Jacqueline B. Mars and AMERICAN HERITAGE® Chocolate.

FAQs

Why us? Why now?

Made By Us connects young adults today with history and civics knowledge to support their civic participation. In the summer of 2020, our listening and research revealed concerns and questions on the part of young people about patriotism, citizenship and what it means to be American.

The pandemic had already laid bare major challenges and inequalities, especially for young adults, and the presidential campaign intensified the national discourse. Amid protests for racial justice and a growing awareness of the varied experiences of life in America, Black history and in particular Juneteenth took on new resonance for Millennials and Gen Z, while the 4th of July became more complicated to celebrate. How do we connect with those founding ideals today? What does it mean to live in America between the promise and the practice of democracy?

At the same time, Civics Unplugged, a Made By Us partner, was building a cohort of Gen Z superheroes dedicated to the future of democracy. They heard similar concerns and saw an opportunity to imbue more meaning, complexity and connection into the 4th of July, to give all Americans a meaningful way to reflect, commit, and take action to build a stronger democracy.

Now, hundreds of organizations and institutions have come aboard. Together, we envision the Civic Season as a reinvigorated tradition we all shape.

How can I participate?

This is the first year of what we hope becomes a new annual tradition that reflects our complex, multifaceted past. Our holidays and commemorations are like living monuments – it’s up to “we the people” to ensure they represent us. The Civic Season is one way to expand the lens on the stories we tell and take on our own role in writing the next chapter. The good news? No matter how much time you have, your interests, or where you are located, the Civic Season has ways for you to get involved.

Get started by exploring the many activities & events, searchable by geography, topic and time.

Grab a “This or That” or “Civic Season Bingo” card to post to social media, sharing your experience with others. Be sure to tag #CivicSeason!

Not sure where to begin? Take the “What’s Your Civic Superpower?” quiz to identify your unique strengths – and find activities and resources catered to you.

Add your experience in a short video response, to join our Voices of Civic Season page.

How were the themes generated?

To identify the themes for this year, we held a series of Socratic Dialogues, a format for guided conversations, with students, historians and civic practitioners on the themes of independence, celebration, and interdependence. These conversations generated key questions and ideas that became the themes and framing for the first Civic Season. An artist then visualized the conversations in a graphic. We will expand on this for 2022. If you’d like to participate in upcoming conversations, please sign up here.

Who is the Civic Season for?

The Civic Season is for everyone. Made By Us and Civics Unplugged are especially focused on serving the needs of those 15-30, as the future inheritors of our democracy. As an emerging tradition, we want many hands involved in shaping what a new Civic Season can become. The Civic Season is for all those out there who are wrestling with how and where to shape America’s future, beginners and experts alike. We hope you will be a part of it!

Who selected the programs included on the website?

In its inaugural year, we invited a broad spectrum of nonpartisan, fact-based history, civics and cultural organizations to submit their work for inclusion in the Civic Season website. Made By Us and Civics Unplugged reviewed all submissions, evaluating on relevance to the Civic Season themes; relevance for young audiences; credibility and evidence-based work; and accessibility and format. We seek balance and representation, but if you have suggestions for stories or voices we are missing, we welcome feedback at info@historymadebyus.org . The Civic Season will grow and evolve over time with your input.

If you’re an organization that wants your work included, we encourage you to share it out using #CivicSeason on social media, so our team can amplify. You can download the promotional toolkit here, and register to be alerted for next year’s call for programs.

Made By Us and Civics Unplugged are nonpartisan and do not advocate a specific political, social or corporate cause. See our Code of Conduct here. We aim to support civically-engaged members of the next generation, informed by a full, inclusive history. While Civic Season participants may use the power of the past to inform, inspire and ignite their own work towards political or social causes, we do not endorse those causes. 

I have ideas! How can I be a part of this?

We aim to grow and evolve the Civic Season through the nation’s 250th in 2026, and invite your feedback along the way to create an inclusive, inspiring annual tradition. Come chat with us on social media @historymadebyus and @civicsunplugged to share your thoughts, ideas and questions. Or, sign up here to connect with us about opportunities for next year’s Civic Season.

In the Press

Check out how we’re making headlines. Get in touch for a press kit.

June 22, 2021

Pittsburgh Today Live Chat

The Heinz History Center’s new exhibit, American Democracy, is part of a nationwide celebration, the Civic Season… Read more

June 18, 2021

On Juneteenth, let us both reflect and move forward

African American Emancipation Day (another name for Juneteenth) and Independence Day are within weeks of each other, so let’s use this “civic season” to explore the possibilities. … Read more

June 14, 2021

A New Summer Tradition, the Civic Season, Asks Americans to Reflect on the Past and the Future

Museums are inviting Americans to embrace the national story from its sins to its successes as a stepping stone towards a better future… Read more

June 17, 2021

Madison to launch inaugural ‘Civic Season’ from Juneteenth through Independence Day

The City Council on Tuesday adopted a resolution declaring June 19 to July 4 as Civic Season.… Read more

June 14, 2021

Gen Z’s Ultimate Civic Season Bucket List

A new tradition has emerged to help us navigate these tensions… Read more

June 18, 2021

As Yale’s First Black Student Body President, I’m Putting The Onus On Me And My Generation To Close This Nation’s Promise Gap

My generation, Gen Z, is hyper-aware of the historical truth behind these two holidays — the hypocrisy of one, the yearning hope of the other. … Read more

June 21, 2021

It’s Time For Gen Z To Lead The Conversation About What It Means To Be An American

There’s a pervasive stereotype that young people aren’t civically engaged, that we’re too busy on our phones to pay attention to politics… Read more

June 15, 2021

Museums across the country participate in the “Civic Season”

Through online resources as well as in-person exhibitions and events nationwide, the Civic Season offers “a chance to look back at this full story of how we got here… Read more

May 26, 2021

Explore ‘How We Became America: The Untold Story’ Video Series

This new video series will debut weekly through Independence Day, during the inaugural Civic Season… Read more

June 14, 2021

Founders’ Place announces American conversations Made by US

Founders Place is partnering with the Smithsonian and hundreds of museums across the country… Read more

June 1, 2021

Atlanta History Center to celebrate Juneteenth with monthlong virtual calendar

This Juneteenth program is presented as a part of the nationwide initiative, The Civic Season…Read more

May 26, 2021

Giving Compass: Civic Season

A new effort from Made By Us, Civics Unplugged, and over 100 partners, is an opportunity for young people to engage in civics beyond election season…Read more

May 20, 2021

Made By Us and Civics Unplugged Launch the Inaugural Civic Season

Participants will find over 450 in-person and virtual activities from organizations nationwide.… Read more

    Get News + Updates

    Stay up to date on how Civic Season is growing and evolving before, during and after the season.


    Our Partners

    Thanks to the hundreds of organizations who shared their programs and resources as part of the inaugural Civic Season (and the many more joining the conversation online!)

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