About the Legacy Amendment


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.


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


2,224 Grants
More than 2,000 grants have been awarded to 812 organizations across Minnesota through the Minnesota Historical and Cultural Heritage Grants Program since its start.

All 87 Counties
Since July 1, 2009, Legacy history funds have supported grants in all 87 Minnesota counties. 63 counties have received $100,000 or more since July 2009.

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)

$2.14 Per Person, Per Year
Less than the cost of a cup of coffee — that's how much each Minnesotan pays annually for the programs, partnerships, and grants detailed in the annual report and on the Minnesota's Legacy website. (2)

22,000+ Minnesota Students
22,606 students from 284 Minnesota schools took a field trip to a MNHS historic site with support from the Legacy Field Trip Support Fund in FY2017.

Almost 4 to 1
Demand for historical and cultural heritage grants outweighed available resources during calendar year 2017. (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 2016 Minnesota population estimate of 5,519,952 and FY2018 appropriation of $11,815,000
(3) Based on $12,285,334 in overall grant requests in calendar year 2017 and $4,687,543 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


The Minnesota Legislature 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.


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 publishes an annual report to the governor and the Legislature — available at www.mnhs.org/legacy — and shares all state-required project data with the public through the Legislative Coordinating Commission’s Minnesota’s Legacy website.

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