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Historical society gets $10K grant for projects

The Mower County Historical Society received its third gift in roughly four months from the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment.

The local organization, located at the Mower County Fairgrounds, received $10,000 from the amendment’s Cultural Heritage Funds, which will go toward a new interpretive plan development. MCHS received two previous grants of $7,000 for a new microfilm database and an upcoming exhibit on ghost towns in Mower County.

Dustin Heckman, MCHS executive director, said the interpretive plan development means buildings and exhibits at the fairgrounds will become more specific to their respective time periods. Instead of displaying the entire history of certain exhibits, Heckman said exhibits may feature only the time periods when they were relevant. That could also mean new artifacts and information at the fairgrounds.

“It’s been a long process we’ve been working on since September,” Heckman said. “It took until last week to find out we actually got the grant.”

Heckman has been grateful for the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment, which Minnesota voters passed in 2008. Fifty-nine organizations in 39 counties received a total of $3.8 million last week for historical projects, including Mower County’s $10,000. Yet there are still more grants to be awarded. The Minnesota Historical Society received a 2011 legislative appropriation to award a total of $10.5 million in Cultural Heritage grants during the 2012 and 2013 fiscal years.

Furthermore, MCHS received $43,000 from Cultural Heritage funds in 2010, as well.

While Heckman recalls a previous state program that allowed historical organizations to match dollars for grants at a 1 to 1 ratio, the Legacy funds don’t require a local match and have allowed smaller organizations to improve.

“We have benefited greatly from this,” Heckman said.

Grants are available for historic preservation projects in three tiers: small or structured grants of $7,000 or less, mid-size grants between $7,001 and $50,000, and large grants of more than $50,001. The required, pre-application deadline for mid-size and large grants for fiscal year 2013 is June 1, 2012. The next deadlines for small and structured grants are Feb. 17, 2012 and March 23. All applications being accepted only through the Society’s new grants portal at grants.mnhs.org.

For more information on the Minnesota Historical and Cultural Heritage Grants program and to access the Grants Manual, visit www.mnhs.org/legacygrants.