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Legacy Amendment Report Reveals How History Initiatives are Benefiting Minnesotans Now and for the Future

Latest report marks five years of Legacy Amendment funding for history and cultural heritage projects of lasting and enduring value

A new annual report, released today by the Minnesota Historical Society, details the history programs and projects funded by the Legacy Amendment’s Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund (ACHF) since Jan. 1, 2013. The report also reveals the educational, historical and economic benefits of Legacy Amendment funding in building Minnesota's future since the law was enacted in 2008. The 57-page report titled "Minnesota History: Building A Legacy" is available online at (PDF.)

"The Legacy-funded grants, programs and partnerships are allowing us to preserve and promote the history of Minnesota, build community and transform lives," said D. Stephen Elliott, director and CEO of the Minnesota Historical Society. "We express sincere and deep appreciation to the Governor, the legislature and the people of Minnesota for their commitment to a strong legacy for Minnesota."

Preserving, Sharing, Connecting

Specific projects and programs outlined in the 2014 report include:

• Minnesota Main Street; a proven, comprehensive strategy that helps communities create new jobs while preserving their historic downtowns. Five cities are currently designated Minnesota Main Street communities: Faribault, New Ulm, Red Wing, Willmar and Winona. For each $1 spent on the program, $16 are reinvested into the community.

• The free, Minnesota Museums mobile app that allows users to find more than 500 museums, create an itinerary, save pictures and make comments.

• Resources for students and teachers including field trips to 18 historic sites throughout Minnesota, History Live video-conferencing interactive lessons, National History Day in Minnesota as well as the "Then Now Wow" exhibit and accompanying "Play the Past" mobile app. To date, Legacy-funded projects have engaged more than 500,000 students and 10,000 teachers.

• The Minnesota Digital Newspaper Hub website that makes history more accessible with 600,000 searchable pages of digitized content from 109 newspapers.

Five Years In

In the five years since voters passed the Legacy Amendment, the results are even more impressive:

• More than 1,237 Minnesota Historical and Cultural Heritage Grants have been awarded, including 230 since January 2013, exceeding a total of $24.2 million. The grants help hundreds of non-profits, historical, cultural and tribal organizations preserve, collect and share history statewide.

• The development and opening of "Then Now Wow," an interactive exhibition for kids all about Minnesota as well as the creation of statewide traveling history exhibitions.

• More than 30 partnerships between the Minnesota Historical Society and other organizations to share knowledge and resources across the state.

Legacy-funded history projects and programs are making a lasting impact. The report also shows:

• A 100 percent return on investment; for every $1 of Legacy history funds invested, Minnesota receives a $2 return. This directly benefits state and local economies.

• A significant benefit for all Minnesotans for the $2.34 that each Minnesotan pays annually for the ACHF.

• Legacy-funded projects are directly benefiting all 87 Minnesota counties.

Need Outweighs Resources Three to One

More resources are needed to continue to build Minnesota’s Legacy. According to the Minnesota Historical Society the demand for programs, partnerships and grants, outweighs available resources three to one. As such, the Minnesota History Coalition, a group of ten history and cultural heritage organizations will consider requesting an increase in funding for the 2016-2017 biennium.

The coalition is comprised of the Preservation Alliance of Minnesota, the Alliance of Local History Museums, the Minnesota Genealogical Society, the Minnesota Archaeological Society, the Minnesota Digital Library, Minnesota History Advocates for Research, Minnesota’s Historic Northwest, the Council for Minnesota Archaeology, Minnesota State Historical Records Advisory Board and the Minnesota Historical Society.

Minnesota voters passed the Legacy Amendment in November 2008. The Amendment mandates that a portion of funds be used to "preserve Minnesota’s history and cultural heritage." The Arts and Cultural Heritage fund receives 19.75 percent of overall Legacy funding. In 2013, the legislature appropriated $27.875 million from the ACHF to the Minnesota Historical Society for the two-year period of July 2013 through June 2015.

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.


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