New Legacy History Investment A Bright Spot in Tough Economic Times

For immediate release

Release dated: 
September 16, 2011
Media contacts: 

Despite a challenging economy, Minnesotans are continuing to invest in their state's future by preserving the past, and people across the state are reaping the economic benefits. 

The Minnesota Historical Society will continue to build a powerful historical and cultural legacy with new funding from the Legacy Amendment’s Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund, which has already created hundreds of jobs and produced a healthy return on investment. 

For the 2012-2013 biennium, the Minnesota state legislature appropriated $24.1 million to the Society to “preserve and enhance access to Minnesota’s history and its cultural and historical resources.” Legacy funds will allow the Society to create new educational opportunities for students across Minnesota, preserve our state’s priceless historical resources and give Minnesotans unprecedented access to history.

“The Minnesota Historical Society is eager to serve the people of Minnesota with this new appropriation of Legacy funds,” said Society Director Steve Elliott. “The funds will be reinvested in exceptional history projects and cultural heritage programming that will benefit today’s and tomorrow’s citizens.”

The projects come with the added benefit of creating much-needed work in communities all over the state.

Last biennium, Legacy history programs and projects created or extended 404 full- and part-time jobs in Minnesota and for every $1 of Legacy funds invested in history programs and projects, the state received a return on investment of $1.95, according to an economic analysis prepared by the University of Minnesota Extension Center for Community Vitality. 

The 2012-2013 appropriation is divided into five categories:

Minnesota Historical and Cultural Heritage Grants program, $10.5 million, see below.

  • Statewide History Programs, $9.6 million, including many innovative projects like exhibits at the Minnesota History Center on the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862 and the U.S. and Minnesota Constitutions opening in the spring of 2012.
  • Statewide History Partnerships, $3 million, including the Minnesota Main Street partnership which preserves and revitalizes Minnesota’s historic downtowns.  
  • Statewide Survey of Historical and Archaeological Sites, $500,000, including surveys of McLeod, Red Lake and Steele Counties.
  • Minnesota Digital Library, $500,000, a project that will preserve, digitize and share Minnesota images, documents and historical materials, making these resources more accessible than ever.

Through a competitive process, the Minnesota Historical and Cultural Grants program will award grants to historical organizations across the state to support projects of enduring value for the cause of history and historic preservation.  The next deadline for applications for small grants is Oct. 21, 2011.  The pre-application deadline for mid to large-size grants is Oct. 7, 2011.  Last biennium, the demand for grants funding outweighed available resources 6 to 1.

“The Minnesota Historical Society has proven to be an excellent steward of Legacy funds.  We are measuring results from all projects and we invite the general public to track all Legacy expenditures through a comprehensive report and web site created by the Society,” Elliott said.

For a list of 2012 Legacy projects and programs funded through the Minnesota Historical Society, go to http://legacy.mnhs.org/newprojects.   Descriptions will be added soon.

Clean Water Land & Legacy Amendment

Minnesota voters passed the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment in November 2008.  It mandates that a portion of the funds “preserve Minnesota’s history and cultural heritage.”

New Legacy History Investment A Bright Spot in Tough Economic Times