Minnesota History Coalition asks state legislators to renew commitment to history

St. Paul, MN — A new report, released today (Thursday, Feb. 7) by the Minnesota Historical Society, details all history projects and programs funded by the Legacy Amendment since July 2011, as well as the economic and educational benefits those initiatives have produced for Minnesotans.

To continue this work, the Minnesota History Coalition is requesting a new appropriation from the Legacy Amendment’s Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.

“We are very grateful to the governor, the Minnesota Legislature and the people of Minnesota for entrusting us with Legacy funds which are allowing us to preserve and share more Minnesota history.  As a result, tomorrow’s Minnesotans will inherit a richer connection to their history and cultural heritage,” said Minnesota Historical Society Director and CEO Steve Elliott.
The report is available at http://www.mnhs.org/2013legacyreport and a video is available at http://www.legacy.mnhs.org.  Legacy-funded history projects and programs are:

• connecting more than half a million Minnesota students to history in exciting new ways: interactive exhibits and history lessons, websites, community history projects, field trips and much more

• giving more than 10,000 Minnesota teachers new tools, training and resources to connect their students to Minnesota history

• giving Minnesotans a 100 percent return on their investment in history
An update to an economic study prepared by the University of Minnesota’s Extension Center for Community Vitality finds that for every $1 invested in history and cultural heritage, the state receives a return on investment of $2, which directly benefits state and local economies.  To read the original economic study (2011) and the updated version (2013), please visit legacy.mnhs.org/legacy-amendment.

In addition, more than 500 Legacy-funded grants awarded since July 2011 are helping hundreds of organizations preserve and share our state’s history and cultural heritage in communities across Minnesota. In Isanti County, Legacy-funded grants are helping the historical society get back on its feet after an arson fire destroyed 75 percent of its collections.

“Without the opportunity to apply for these grants and get funding, I don’t know how we’d do it,” said Isanti County Historical Society Executive Director Kathy McCully.

Minnesota voters passed the Legacy Amendment in November 2008.  It mandates that a portion of funds be used to “preserve Minnesota’s history and cultural heritage.”  For fiscal years 2012 and 2013, the legislature appropriated $25 million from the Legacy Amendment’s Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund to the Minnesota Historical Society.

To learn more about all history initiatives funded by the Legacy Amendment through the Minnesota Historical Society, visit http://www.legacy.mnhs.org.

History Coalition Recommendation
To continue building this important Legacy for future Minnesotans, the Minnesota History Coalition, a group of nine history organizations, respectfully recommends that  for fiscal years 2014 and 2015, the state legislature appropriate $39.75 million from the Legacy Amendment’s Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund to statewide history initiatives which includes:

• $16 million for history programs and projects that are of statewide significance and are a state responsibility

• $16 million for history grants to be distributed through a competitive program

• $6 million for history programs and projects carried out through partnerships between history-minded organizations

• $1 million for a statewide survey of historical and archaeological sites

• $750,000 to support the Minnesota Digital Library’s efforts to digitize, make accessible and preserve important collections of cultural and historical materials from more than 150 Minnesota organizations

“Legacy funds are strengthening communities across the state,” said Doug Gasek, Executive Director of the Preservation Alliance of Minnesota.  “They are creating jobs and private investment through programs like Minnesota Main Street, helping many communities and their historic downtowns to thrive.”

The Coalition comprises the Preservation Alliance of Minnesota, the Alliance of Local History Museums, the Minnesota Genealogical Society, the Minnesota Archaeological Society, the Minnesota Digital Library, Minnesota History Advocates for Research, Minnesota’s Historic Northwest, the Council for Minnesota Archaeology and the Minnesota Historical Society.  For more information on the Minnesota History Coalition’s recommendation, visit http://www.mnhs.org/historymatters.


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