About the Legacy Amendment

Introduction

On November 4, 2008, Minnesota voters approved the Clean Water, Land, and Legacy Amendment to preserve and enhance some of the most important elements of our state. This amendment to the Minnesota Constitution, often referred to as the “Legacy Amendment,” created four funds, one of which is the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund (ACHF).

The Legacy Amendment mandates that a portion of the ACHF be used “to preserve Minnesota’s history and cultural heritage” (Minnesota Constitution, Article XI, Sec. 15). Each January, the Minnesota Historical Society is required to submit an annual report to the governor and Legislature detailing expenditures it has made from the ACHF.

The Minnesota's Legacy website, managed by the Minnesota Legislature, details all ACHF projects and programs funded to date through the Minnesota Historical Society. MNHS strives to publish new project records as soon as they are available.

ACHF history projects benefit Minnesotans statewide by:

  • Preserving our state’s most valuable historical and cultural resources for future generations
  • Sharing our state’s stories and treasured resources with ever-growing audiences including students, teachers, scholars, researchers, genealogists, and the general public
  • Connecting Minnesotans of all ages to each other and to history—history that is becoming more accessible than ever before

Further information about the use and impact of all Legacy funds can be found on the Minnesota Legislative Coordinating Commission's Minnesota's Legacy website.

Appropriations

The Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund receives 19.75% of overall Legacy funding. In 2017, the legislature appropriated $28.1 million from the ACHF to MNHS for the two-year period July 2017-June 2019. That appropriation breaks down to $11.815 million for fiscal year 2018 and $16.305 million for fiscal year 2019.

The legislature divided the fiscal year 2018-2019 appropriation to MNHS into the following six categories:

FY18 Appropriation

  1. Statewide Historical and Cultural Heritage Grants — $4,500,000
  2. Statewide History Programs — $4,055,000
  3. Statewide History Partnerships — $2,000,000
  4. Statewide Survey of Historical and Archaeological Sites — $400,000
  5. Minnesota Digital Library — $300,000
  6. Additional Projects — $560,000

FY18 Total: $11,815,000

FY19 Appropriation

  1. Statewide Historical and Cultural Heritage Grants — $6,500,000
  2. Statewide History Programs — $6,945,000
  3. Statewide History Partnerships — $2,000,000
  4. Statewide Survey of Historical and Archaeological Sites — $400,000
  5. Minnesota Digital Library — $300,000
  6. Additional Projects — $160,000

FY19 Total: $16,305,000

Highlights

2,439 Grants
More than 2,000 grants totaling $51.8 million have been awarded across Minnesota since the Historical and Cultural Heritage Grants program’s start.

64 Counties
Since July 1, 2009, 64 counties have received more than $100,000 in legacy-funded grants.

100% Return on Investment
For every $1 of Legacy history funds invested, Minnesota receives a return on investment of $2, which directly benefits state and local economies. (1)

$2.92 Per Person, Per Year
Less than a small mocha at your favorite coffee place — that's how much each Minnesotan pays annually for the programs, partnerships, grants, and other statewide initiatives detailed in this report. (2)

17,700 Hours
The amount of hours Northern Bedrock Historic Preservation Corps completed doing preservation work at 26 locations around the state during its 2018 field season.

2 to 1
Demand for historical and cultural heritage grants outweighed available resources during calendar year 2018. (3)

56% of Minnesotans
In November 2008, more than half of Minnesotans voted to increase their taxes to preserve Minnesota's legacy, including history and cultural heritage. (4)

(1) “An Economic Analysis of Minnesota’s Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund Monies: An Update” prepared by the University of Minnesota Extension Center for Community Vitality, December 2012
(2) Based on U.S. Census 2017 Minnesota population estimate of 5,576,606 and FY2019 appropriation of $16,305,000
(3) Based on $13,915,747 in overall grant requests in calendar year 2018 and $6,248,146 in actual grant awards
(4) Minnesota Legislative Reference Library, State Constitutional Amendments Considered

Historic Resources Advisory Committee (HRAC)

Legislation specifies that the HRAC, a volunteer citizen panel that guides decisions for the ACHF-funded Minnesota Historical and Cultural Heritage Grants Program, has balanced statewide membership and includes representatives of local, county, and statewide historic and cultural organizations and programs.

It further requires that the HRAC shall include, but is not limited to, members representing the interests of historic preservation, local history, archaeology, archival programs, and other cultural programs related to the history of Minnesota.

The HRAC consists of 13 members serving two-year terms and two ex-officio members. They represent a variety of disciplines and are from diverse areas of the state.

List of HRAC members and qualifications

Minnesota Historical Society Executive Council

All grant recommendations for the Minnesota Historical and Cultural Heritage Grants Program are reviewed and approved by the Minnesota Historical Society's governing board, the Executive Council.

List of the MNHS's Governing Board and Executive Council members

Minnesota History Coalition

The Minnesota History Coalition is an advisory group composed of representatives of various history organizations in Minnesota. Using public input and members' expertise, the History Coalition developed recommendations for the Legislature on how the fiscal year 2018-2019 ACHF appropriation for history projects and programs could best serve Minnesotans.

Minnesota History Coalition Members:

  • Council for Minnesota Archaeology
  • Minnesota Alliance of Local History Museums
  • Minnesota Archaeological Society
  • Minnesota Association of Museums
  • Minnesota Digital Library
  • Minnesota Genealogical Society
  • Minnesota Historical Society
  • Minnesota History Advocates for Research
  • Minnesota State Historical Records Advisory Board
  • Minnesota's Historic Northwest
  • Northern Bedrock Historic Preservation Corps
  • Preservation Alliance of Minnesota

Accountability

The Minnesota Legislature has reiterated the mandate that every project and program supported by the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund report “actual measurable outcomes, and a plan for measuring and evaluating the results.”

MNHS staff and partners are now strongly positioned to ensure that ACHF projects and programs use best practices, current scholarship, and when appropriate, incorporate state-of-the-art technology for demonstrating measurable outcomes.

During FY18-19, MNHS continued to evaluate the impact of ACHF projects and programs to ensure that they demonstrate measurable outcomes as well as economic value for citizens.

Transparency

The Minnesota Historical Society has an obligation to the citizens of Minnesota to ensure that ACHF dollars entrusted to our care are invested in ways that are transparent and will produce the greatest measurable impact on Minnesotans, enabling our state to thrive.

To meet this goal, MNHS has assisted in the building of websites that inform the public about all ACHF initiatives funded through MNHS. Minnesota’s Legacy website was created by the Legislative Coordinating Commission and contains information on all Legacy-funded projects. 

Through the end of the biennium, MNHS will continue to post the most current information about history-related ACHF initiatives ensuring transparency and responsible stewardship of the funds.

See all MNHS projects