Contact: Lawrence Cook
January 29, 2016
WEST HARTFORD—State Senator Beth Bye (D-West Hartford) and state Representative Andy Fleischmann (D-West Hartford) announced today that The Noah Webster House & West Hartford Historical Society on South Main Street has received a $125,000 state grant to make various improvements to the 265-year old facility.
The State Bond Commission met today to approve the grant, which was first announced late last year. The Noah Webster House grant is one of more than 20 nonprofit grants totaling nearly $2 million that was first announced by the state Department of Economic and Community Development back in September 2015.
The grant is being made through Connecticut’s “Good to Great” program which was created in 2014 to fund improvements that significantly enhance cultural and historic sites and the way people enjoy them. Specifically, the program targets smaller and mid-sized cultural organizations that have received limited state funding in the past. Funding, which ranges from $50,000 to $125,000, can be used for a variety of activities including construction, exhibit designing and installation, planning and marketing.
“One of the reasons why Connecticut ranks so highly in national quality of life polls, and one of the reasons why we have such an educated workforce, is because of the financial investments that the State of Connecticut makes in our cultural and historic institutions, like The Noah Webster House” Sen. Bye said. “This is another example of the support the state legislature gives our local communities to be better and to achieve more.”
“The Noah Webster House is one of Connecticut’s historical and cultural gems,” Rep. Fleischmann said. “By supporting these improvements, we help preserve our history and strengthen the local economy at the same time. I’m proud to be part of an Assembly that recognizes the importance of investing in great public structures in this way.”
Noah Webster House Executive Director Jennifer DiCola Matos said she is “thrilled” to receive the state funding.
“We are grateful to the state for seeing value in the birthplace of one of its most famous sons, Noah Webster, the founding father, educator, and lexicographer who taught generations of Americans what it means to be American,” Matos said. “This National Historic Landmark is also a repository for the history of West Hartford, the community that molded Noah Webster’s future and is still thriving over 250 years later. We are excited to create a West Hartford History Center to better serve this vibrant community.”
The Noah Webster House & West Hartford Historical Society is seeking to create a “West Hartford History Center.” The funds made available by the Bond Commission will allow the museum to embark upon a two-phase project, resulting in a West Hartford History Center with research facilities, compact and visible storage, a reading room, dedicated staff and operating hours to assist researchers, additional space for archiving community organization memorabilia, and an additional exhibit area.
The Noah Webster House & West Hartford Historical Society requested $125,000 under the “Good to Great” grant program to conduct a two-phase planning and renovation project to transform existing space at the museum into the “West Hartford History Center.”
Phase 1 will be the retention of a consulting firm or firms to study, plan and redesign basement level space currently used for housing the museum’s archives including (1) an analysis of means of egress and ADA accessibility, (2) assessment of current HVAC, security, fire, lighting and environmental controls, (3) a community needs assessment, and (4) a space assessment to create a more efficient use of space with new storage solutions that will create more space for community organization storage and other public use.
Phase 2 will be the actual renovation of existing facilities to create the West Hartford History Center based on recommendations and plans from Phase 1.
Vice Chair: Children
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Hartford, CT 06106-1591
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