(HARTFORD, CT) – Governor Ned Lamont today announced the launch of Connecticut Summer at the Museum – a new state program created in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic that allows Connecticut children to receive free admission at more than 90 museums across Connecticut during the 2021 summer months.
The program was originally proposed earlier this year by the governor as part of his larger plan to use a portion of the recovery funding Connecticut is receiving to provide children and families with engaging summer enrichment and learning experiences. His proposal was approved by the state legislature in the biennial state budget that he signed into law last week.
Under the finalized program, from July 1 to September 6, 2021, all Connecticut children age 18 and under – plus one accompanying adult – will receive free admission to any of the participating museums, including historic house museums, historic sites, historical societies, art museums, children’s museums, science centers, special-interest museums, natural history museums, university museums, arboretums/botanical gardens, and zoos.
Some of the participants include the Connecticut Science Center, Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo, the Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk, Mystic Aquarium, and Mystic Seaport Museum, among many others.
The full list of participating museums is available at www.CTSummerMuseums.com.
“This program provides a unique opportunity for children to take advantage of the world-class museums and attractions offered in Connecticut while having both a fun and educational experience,” Governor Lamont said. “Museums are centers of exploration, recreation, and learning, and will play an important role in helping provide social-emotional, mental health, and educational growth opportunities that were limited during the pandemic. It is my hope that families take advantage of this unique opportunity happening in Connecticut this summer.”
The Connecticut Summer at the Museum program is funded through a $15 million investment from the federal COVID-19 recovery funding Connecticut is receiving from the American Rescue Plan Act. It is being administered by the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development’s Office of the Arts in partnership with Connecticut Humanities and supported with an advertising campaign lead by the Office of Tourism.
While any museum in Connecticut can choose to participate in the program by offering free admission, eligible properties had an opportunity to apply for grant funding. Seventy grants were awarded, calculated based on the applicant’s revenue from admissions for the period of July 1 to September 2, 2019. The minimum grant award is $1,000.
“We’re excited to partner with museums of all types and sizes across the state to bring this important program to life,” Liz Shapiro, director of arts, preservation, and museums at the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development, said. “We applaud all of the participating organizations for stepping up to support Connecticut children in new ways and look forward to a summer filled with fun learning experiences.”
“The Connecticut Summer at the Museum program is one of the many transformative investments the state is making to re-engage students, accelerate learning, and provide supports this summer,” Connecticut Acting Commissioner of Education Charlene Russell-Tucker said. “Under Governor Lamont’s leadership, this collaboration across agencies and organizations is how we best meet students’ academic and social-emotional needs and ensure that learning is happening every day, everywhere.”
“We believe the best way to get children re-engaged and energized is through hands-on activities that not only expand their minds and imaginations but also inspire and empower them to embrace their role in their communities and the world,” Matt Fleury, president and CEO of the Connecticut Science Center, said. “The Connecticut Summer at the Museum program allows us to reach even more Connecticut youth at a time when it’s needed most. We’re thrilled to be partnering with the State of Connecticut on this exciting initiative.”
“Connecticut museums contribute to the diverse array of tourism offerings and experiences available throughout our beautiful state,” Christine Castonguay, interim director of the Connecticut Office of Tourism, said. “Despite their own challenges over the past year and half, these businesses continue to show us why they’re so essential to our communities, economy and our overall quality of life here in Connecticut.”
Connecticut residents are encouraged to take advantage of the Connecticut Summer at the Museum program and share their experiences on social media using the hashtag #CTSummerMuseums.