Press Releases

Governor Dannel P. Malloy


DECD Announces Funding to Enhance Cultural and Historic Sites in the State

The Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) announced today it will provide $3,051,971 in grants to 12 nonprofit organizations through the Good to Great grant program.

The Good to Great program awards grants to eligible organizations that link art, history and tourism in ways that enable cultural and historical sites to enhance the visitor experience. These projects tell the stories of our cultural and historic sites in engaging, meaningful, and relevant ways.

“Connecticut is an incredible place to live thanks in part to the outstanding historic and cultural institutions throughout the state,” said Governor Malloy. “By making these investments, we are ensuring that these assets will continue to offer first class, one of a kind experiences to everyone that visits them.”

Good to Great was created in 2014 to fund improvements that will significantly enhance cultural and historic sites and the way people enjoy them. Specifically, the program targets smaller and mid-sized cultural organizations that have creative propels to enhance the customer experience, improve access or otherwise grow their audience. DECD also targets organizations that received limited state funding in the past.

“We are thrilled to be able offer this funding to so many important cultural institutions across our state. These investments will help them make much-needed upgrades that will improve the visitor experience,” said DECD Commissioner Catherine Smith.

Funding, can be used for a variety of activities including construction, exhibit designing and installation, planning and marketing. This program has a 25% cash match requirement. Click here to learn more about the program. Below are this year’s Good to Great recipients:

  • The New England Carousel Museum in Bristol was awarded $150,000 to install a new energy-efficient, air-handling system with humidity control to protect the Museum's collection and improve the visitors' experience.
  • The Connecticut Electric Railway Association (aka The Connecticut Trolley Museum) in East Windsor was awarded $50,000 to complete the on-going restoration of one of theMuseum's most historically significant trolleys - Connecticut Company Car #3001.
  • The Friends of the Pinney House, Inc. in Ellington was awarded $150,000 for the interior restoration of the Pinney House so it can be used as a cultural center, a meeting place and an education site.
  • Ebony Horsewomen Inc. in Hartford was awarded $50,000 to erect a pre-fab barn building to create a meeting & classroom space and a mini Black Cowboy Museum.
  • The Madison Historical Society was awarded $138,600 for the restoration and preservation of the interior of Lee's Academy and to create an ADA-compatible learning and community center.
  • The Denison Society, Inc. (aka Denison Homestead) in Mystic was awarded $150,000 to restore the Homestead's barn so that it may provide areas for programs, workshops and community events.
  • The Norfolk Historical Society was awarded $60,546 to redesign the welcome/reception area, reinterpret gallery space and reclaim research space.
  • The Keeler Tavern Preservation Society, Inc. (aka Keeler Tavern Museum & HistoryCenter) in Ridgefield was awarded $96,575 for facility improvements (climate controlled, fire-protected, well-designed storage) for its most fragile objects that relate directly to major moments in U.S. history.
  • The Stonington Historical Society (aka Old Lighthouse Museum) was awarded $56,250 for a comprehensive research effort and the commission of an archeological survey of a potential Venture Smith site; creation of a permanent Venture Smith and slavery exhibit at Old Lighthouse Museum.
  • The Ward Heitmann House Museum Foundation, Inc. (aka Ward Heitmann HouseMuseum) in West Haven was awarded $150,000 to repair the foundation and exterior along with period appropriate landscaping so the House can reopen its doors to the public.
  • The Eastern Connecticut Center for History, Art and Performance (aka EC-CHAP) in Willington was awarded $1,000,000 to preserve and rehabilitate two secondary buildings for use again as an in-residence artist and a café and conduct a water mitigation plan for the main structure.
  • The Mary & Eliza Freeman Center for History and Community in Bridgeport was awarded $1,000,000 for the exterior restoration of both structures, as well as the interior restoration of the Eliza Freeman House.

Jim Watson
Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development
860-500-2482 (office)
860-306-3737 (cell)