Letter: Help preserve Connecticut’s cultural treasures

FI-Letter-to-the-EditorTo the Editor:

The governor’s proposed budget, now under consideration by the Connecticut General Assembly, would eliminate state support of the Connecticut Humanities Fund, which supports vital public programs and exhibitions that illuminate our history and enrich the lives of people of all ages.

The Fairfield Museum and other important cultural organizations in our area receive crucial grant support through this program, enabling us to present exhibitions on (among other topics) the Emancipation Proclamation, the Pequot War, and the history of Fairfield, as well as programs that help teachers, students, and the general public engage with our multifaceted heritage.

Should this proposed cut go forward, it would be a terrible development for all who care about and benefit from the humanities in its multiple forms – history, preservation, literature, expression and debate, and the understanding of civics that keeps our democratic institutions strong and vital. Eliminating the Humanities Fund would shut off the only source of programmatic support for hundreds of the state’s heritage, cultural and humanities organizations.

In the past two years alone, Connecticut Humanities grants have enabled 225 organizations throughout the state, including the Fairfield Museum, to produce exhibits, programs and forums serving more than a million people. Over the past 20 years, this state investment has been matched more than 3:1, generating private investment of more than $54 million in cultural and heritage initiatives.

This is very much an economic development issue, tied directly to the attraction and retention of talent in Connecticut, people who highly value our state’s vibrant culture and events at museums, libraries, schools and other community settings. It is fundamental to the state’s quality of life — why it remains worthwhile to live and work here.

Now is not the time to abandon the state’s long-term investment in heritage and culture. Please visit CTPlacesMatter.com to find out more, and contact your state representatives to urge them to continue their support of Connecticut’s vital cultural treasures.

Michael A. Jehle

Executive Director

Fairfield Museum

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