CT in WW1 Receives Game Changer Award from CT Explored

Connecticut Explored Announces
“20 for 20: Innovation in Connecticut History”

 20 “Game Changers” to be Honored as
Part of CTExplored’s 20th Anniversary

Media Contact: Jennifer LaRue, 860-836-5391; jennifer@jenniferlaruecommunications.com

August 15, 2022:  Connecticut Explored, the nonprofit organization that publishes Connecticut Explored magazine, is pleased to announce its “20 for 20: Innovation in Connecticut History,” a series highlighting 20 “Game Changers” whose work is advancing the study, interpretation, and dissemination of Connecticut history. The initiative, funded by grants from Connecticut Humanities and sponsored by Trinity College, is the centerpiece of CTExplored’s year-long celebration of its 20th anniversary starting this Fall.

Kendall Wiggins, Chair of the Board of Connecticut Explored, said, “We are proud to mark the milestone of our 20th year with this important, forward-looking project. Though we as an organization are by definition focused on history, our team decided to look forward rather than back, highlighting a diverse array of people and programs across the state that are changing the game by exploring the future of Connecticut history. Thank you to the staff, Board members, volunteers, and other supporters for their invaluable contributions to this important project.”

Examples of the 20 Game Changers to be honored include Benie N’sumbu of New Haven, who, as a high school student, organized with other student groups to successfully advocate for passage of legislation that requires teaching African American, Black, Latinx, and Puerto Rican history in the public schools; Ridgefield’s Keeler Tavern Museum & History Center for commissioning a play that examines issues of race and gender in the historic site’s own past; and the Connecticut State Library’s award-winning commemoration of Connecticut in World War I that brought high school students to France to study and restore trenches where Connecticut soldiers once fought. [emphasis added]

Dr. Kathy Hermes, who became Executive Director and Publisher of Connecticut Explored in July, said, “A signature of this innovative series is the breadth of honorees–from students to academics, small historical societies to statewide organizations, and from Ridgefield to North Stonington. We are delighted at the opportunity to celebrate the contributions of these 20 game-changing individuals and organizations who are so committed to keeping Connecticut history alive, vibrant, and relevant to a variety of audiences. We are grateful to all who have helped develop and execute this program and to Connecticut Humanities, whose planning grant last year and implementation grant this year made this initiative possible.”

Dr. Jason Mancini, Executive Director of CT Humanities, said, “CT Humanities is proud to support Connecticut Explored and excited about the organization’s future under the leadership of Professor Hermes. Connecticut Explored has had many worthy accomplishments in its first 20 years, and the 20 for 20 Game Changers is a testament to the importance of their work across our state. We see Connecticut Explored as an integral part of our education and heritage tourism ecosystem and look forward to future partnerships and collaborations.”

Last Fall, the staff, led by then-Publisher Elizabeth J. Normen, and the Board appointed an advisory team led by Dr. Fiona Vernal, Associate Professor of History and Africana Studies at the University of Connecticut, to serve as an independent jury. Team members included artist, producer, and Hartford History Center program manager Jasmin Agosto; co-founder of Akomawt Educational Initiative Chris Newell; Executive Director of New Haven Museum Margaret Anne Tockarshewsky; and Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History 2021 National History Teacher of the Year, Nataliya Braginsky of Metropolitan Business Academy in New Haven. Dr. Clarissa Ceglio, Associate Professor of digital humanities in the Digital Media & Design Department at the University of Connecticut and CTExplored Board member, rounded out the team as Board liaison. 

Dr. Vernal said, “It has been my privilege as a historian to work with the advisory group to consider more inclusive and accessible ways to explore Connecticut’s history. This landmark opportunity is both a retrospective on two decades of Connecticut Explored’s incredible storytelling as well as a blueprint for a new era of interpreting, documenting, and disseminating Connecticut’s history. The Game Changers featured in the year-long celebration reflect the new audiences and collaborators engaged in the everyday work of making history and reminding us of its relevance, meaning, and purpose.”    

From a pool of 120 nominations submitted by members of the public in Fall 2021, the advisory team recommended the 20 Game Changers listed below. During the coming year Connecticut Explored will highlight each of the Game Changers in CTExplored magazine, on the Grating the Nutmeg podcast that it co-produces with State Historian Emeritus Walter Woodward, or via one of four public programs, listed below.

For more information about “20 for 20: Innovation in Connecticut History,” the “20 for 20 Game Changers,” and related public programs click here or contact Jennifer LaRue at 860-836-5391 or jennifer@jenniferlaruecommunications.com.