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August 18, 2021

Connecticut Historical Society Receives $219,385 in Federal Funding for Community Historian Project






Connecticut Historical Society Receives $219,385 in Federal Funding for Community Historian Project


HARTFORD, CT – The Connecticut Historical Society (CHS) has been awarded $219,385 through the Museums for America grants by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). 

The Museums for America program supports projects that advance the ability of museums to serve the public. A total of 126 projects across the nation received awards this year.  

The Connecticut Historical Society’s Community Historian Project (CHP) is a new, public-facing initiative, focused on contemporary collecting, which gathers items of the recent past as well as from events happening today. This program will develop community historians to identify, document, and preserve their experiences as residents of Connecticut, and share these experiences during a series of community presentations. Funding will support the hiring of a full-time CHP program manager, project interns, as well as other programmatic costs.  

In collaboration with Central Connecticut State University (CCSU), the Connecticut Digital Archive (CTDA), and public libraries in Hartford, New Haven, and Norwich, this initiative addresses the need for contemporary collecting throughout the state. The CHS seeks to provide a better understanding of Connecticut residents’ lived history, improve education and career opportunities for Central Connecticut State University students, strengthen relationships between the museum and Connecticut residents, and build a more diverse collection at the museum that reflects Connecticut’s diverse communities. 

The established Community Historian Councils (CHC) will receive training from the CHS and partners on public history practices. Each of the three participating cities (Hartford, New Haven, and Norwich) will have its own council of up to 10 members. The CHS will work with CHC representatives and community members to identify the best repositories for any physical items collected, and all digital assets will be ingested to the Connecticut Digital Archive (CTDA). 

Robert Kret, Executive Director and CEO of the Connecticut Historical Society says of the project, “As the state’s historical society (established in 1825), we have a responsibility to not only preserve the past, but to actively collect the objects, stories and material culture that reflect the events that are happening today. With support from IMLS, the Connecticut Historical Society’s new Community Historian Project will foster purposeful engagement with underrepresented communities. Our contemporary collecting initiative will give voice to those communities and capture a more nuanced record of our experiences since we will be working directly with community members to record the histories, perspectives, and cultural traditions from previously marginalized populations.” 

The Connecticut Historical Society ( is a privately funded, independent, not-for-profit educational organization that includes a museum, library, the Edgar F. Waterman Research Center, and the Connecticut Cultural Heritage Arts Program. Founded in 1825, the CHS is Connecticut’s statewide historical society, and a Smithsonian Affiliate. At the CHS, we cultivate understanding of the history and culture of Connecticut, and its role in the United States and the world. Through our collections, research, educational programs, and exhibitions we reflect the past, actively engage with the present, and innovate for the future.


Contact: Marissa Baum

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