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Minnesota Historical Society Thanks Governor Dayton, Legislature for Funding
Dollars support Historic Fort Snelling revitalization, asset preservation, operations and Legacy funds for history.
The state legislature has passed a Capital Budget or “bonding” bill that includes $4 million for design work, the next step toward construction in the revitalization of Historic Fort Snelling.
“This is a very strong signal of the governor’s and the legislature’s support for this critical investment in our state’s cultural heritage,” said D. Stephen Elliott, MNHS director and CEO. “This commitment will help us move the revitalization of Historic Fort Snelling forward, and we will advocate for the construction funding next year to complete the project in time for the fort's bicentennial in 2020.”
MNHS is asking for $34 million in state support to complement an additional $12 million in privately raised funds for this ideally-timed opportunity to connect the fort and its stories in meaningful ways with 21st-century Minnesotans and Americans. If the remaining $30 million in support is appropriated in the next legislative session, MNHS will be on track to open the revitalized site in time for its 2020 bicentennial.
The funds are needed to replace an aging and failing visitor center by renovating one historic cavalry barrack and an 1880 ordnance building to create a new visitor center and field trip orientation space; improve wayfinding; create a park-like plaza for commemoration and reflection; and create new exhibits and other amenities inside the visitor center and programs throughout the grounds. Historic Fort Snelling is the state’s first National Historic Landmark.
The bonding bill also included funding for MNHS historic sites asset preservation. In addition, the legislature passed the State Government Finance bill which includes funding for the MNHS general operating budget, and digital preservation and access; and the Legacy Amendment Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund which supports statewide grants and programs for history. MNHS is thankful for the continued level of support from Governor Dayton and the legislature.
Other action at the legislature included a provision in the State Government Finance bill that calls for the Office of the Legislative Auditor to conduct a study of the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) due by Jan. 1, 2018. The bill also calls for the transfer of SHPO to the Department of Administration, effective March 1, 2018. While MNHS believes having SHPO housed in MNHS benefits Minnesotans, we respect the decision to move SHPO to the Department of Administration and will continue to work closely with the department on the responsible management of our cultural heritage. MNHS also welcomes the opportunity to provide support to the Legislative Auditor on their study.
These bills have been passed by the legislature and will be presented to Governor Dayton for his signature.
About the Minnesota Historical Society
The Minnesota Historical Society is a non-profit educational and cultural institution established in 1849. MNHS collects, preserves and tells the story of Minnesota’s past through museum exhibits, libraries and collections, historic sites, educational programs and book publishing. Using the power of history to transform lives, MNHS preserves our past, shares our state’s stories and connects people with history. Visit us atwww.mnhs.org.