Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Statement from the Connecticut Public Affairs Network (CPAN) on the closing of Connecticut's Old State House

Wednesday, June 29, 2016
(Hartford, CT) For the past eight years, the Connecticut Public Affairs Network has had the privilege of managing educational and community programming at Connecticut’s Old State House.  During that time, we have worked diligently to bring our state’s rich history and civic life together through our school programs and visitor experience, our public programs like Town Hall Meetings and Conversations at Noon, and our statewide outreach with school programs like Connecticut History Day and Connecticut’s Kid Governor.  We have played an active role in the larger conversation about civic engagement and civil discourse with organizations like the Civic Health Advisory Group, and garnered national recognition for many of our initiatives.  In all, we have been tireless in our efforts to imbue the Old State House with new purpose:  one that served and inspired the citizens of our state, and honored the tradition of a building that served as a seat of Connecticut’s government in the days of our nation’s infancy.

In the past few weeks we have seen that even a state icon can fall victim to our new economic reality, and it is with great regret that we see our contract to be the programmers of a place we have long loved come to an end.  As the General Assembly continues to work with the Department of Energy & Environmental Protection to transition the Old State House to DEEP’s stewardship, we stand ready – if called upon – to help shepherd yet another new era for the building.  Regardless of the outcome, CPAN’s educational focus and commitment to civic engagement remains unchanged and our organization will forge ahead with projects in the same spirit as those that had become synonymous with Connecticut’s Old State House.  We offer our deepest thanks to our many partners and collaborators so instrumental to our success and we look forward to working with you again soon.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Connecticut Students Win at National History Day Contest: Contest took place June 12-16 at the University of Maryland

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For Immediate Release
June 17, 2016
Contact: Chris Zaccaro
(860) 522-6766

Mia Porcello - 2016 NHD Champion
in Jr. Individual Exhibit
College Park, MD/Hartford, CT – Sixty-eight Connecticut students represented the state and the Connecticut History Day (CHD) program during the prestigious 2016 National History Day® Contest at the University of Maryland this past week. CHD, a statewide history program led by Connecticut’s Old State House, sent the state’s delegation to the annual contest to compete against 2,900 students from across the country. Several students won awards at the NHD Contest, resulting in the most successful year in the program’s history:

• Mia Porcello, a middle school student from St. Timothy School in West Hartford, captured a national title by winning First Place in the Junior Individual Exhibit Category for her entry Florence Wald: Exploring Medical Boundaries, Exchanging Hospitals to Hospice.

CHD Winners at NHD 2016 Contest
• Shay Pezzulo, a high school student from Classical Magnet School in Hartford, captured CHD’s second national title of the year by winning First Place in the Senior Individual Website Category for her entry Duel and Duality: New Journalism, New York. Pezzulo also attended "Breakfast on the Hill" with members of Congress during her trip to the NHD Contest - an event sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

• Juliana Rodrigues, Max Bueno, Samantha Gilbert, Emily Strickland and Joseph Zarif, students from Memorial Middle School in Middlebury, won two Special Awards for their project, Alexander Hamilton Explores a Financial System for the New Nation of America. The awards included the U.S. Constitution Award and Special Award in History in the Federal Government.

• The Outstanding Connecticut Entry Award from the Senior Division was awarded to Nicole Wood, Juliana Salamone, Katherine Hurst and Flora Dievenich for their group project, Women Airforce Service Pilots and the Flight for Equality. They are students at Greenwich High School and were also finalists in the Senior Group Performance Category.

• The Outstanding Connecticut Entry Award from the Junior Division was awarded to Hunter Dale and Noah Vasington for their group project, Branch Rickey: Branching Off to New Ideas. They are students at Mansfield Middle School in Storrs and were also finalists in the Junior Group Exhibit Category.

Rosie the Riveter, an exhibit created by Claire Graham, Hana Previte, Isabel Saltzman, and Lauren White was one of only 57 projects featured at the National Museum of American History’s "National History Night" on Wednesday, June 15. They are students at Wilton High School, in Wilton, CT.

"Good strategic thinking by our History Day team has increased the number of students who learn and grow through this program," said Sally Whipple, Executive Director of Connecticut’s Old State House. "Old State House workshops, resources and coaching have helped students develop high quality projects based on sound research. We serve thousands of students through this program, but more important than the number served, is the quality of that service. Students develop critical thinking, writing and research skills, along with increased confidence, curiosity and the ability to ask and find answers to compelling questions. The Old State House staff strives to do this every day through all of its programs. It’s great to see student work that we’ve helped nurture receive the highest National History Day honors possible."

During their stay at the five day contest, the Connecticut Delegation spent time exploring Washington, D.C. They toured the U.S. Capitol Building and were able to observe a filibuster from the Senate Gallery. Students also enjoyed the opportunity to visit and tour the National World War II Monument.

Connecticut History Day is made possible by the leadership of Connecticut’s Old State House and a strong collaboration among many of Connecticut’s history organizations. CHD is designed to help students develop critical thinking skills and a passion for learning and sharing history – with the goal of encouraging students to develop a life-long interest in Connecticut’s rich stories, archives, historic buildings and museum collections. CHD is led by Connecticut’s Old State House, funded by Connecticut Humanities and supported by the Connecticut League of History Organizations, Central Connecticut State University and scores of historical societies and civic groups who provide special prizes at the state level. To learn more about Connecticut History Day visit the program’s website,, or follow CHD on Facebook.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Connecticut’s Old State House wins 2016 AASLH Award of Merit for the Connecticut’s Kid Governor civics program

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Local Contact:
Chris Zaccaro
(860) 522-6766
Connecticut’s Old State House

AASLH Contact:
Bethany Hawkins
(615) 320-3203

NASHVILLE, TN - The American Association for State and Local History (AASLH) proudly announces that Connecticut’s Old State House is the recipient of an Award of Merit for its statewide civics program, Connecticut’s Kid Governor. The AASLH Leadership in History Awards, now in its 71st year, is the most prestigious recognition for achievement in the preservation and interpretation of state and local history.

Connecticut’s Kid Governor is a statewide, in-school civics program for 5th graders that was created by Connecticut’s Old State House in 2015. Timed to coincide with Election Day in November, each school in Connecticut is eligible to enter one student candidate into a statewide election that other 5th graders vote in. With the goal of inspiring young students to be lifelong agents of change, active participants in our government and registered voters when they turn 18, this innovative program illustrates how elections work and how Connecticut residents of all ages can choose to participate in our democratic society. This past fall, hundreds of Connecticut 5th graders participated in the program’s first ever election and Elena Tipton, a 5th grade student at Dr. Thomas O’Connell School in East Hartford, became the first Connecticut’s Kid Governor after running on a campaign for kindness. You can learn more about Connecticut’s Kid Governor, both the program and the student, by visiting the program’s website,
This year, AASLH is proud to confer sixty-three national awards honoring people, projects, exhibits, and publications. The winners represent the best in the field and provide leadership for the future of state and local history. Presentation of the awards will be made at a special banquet during the 2016 AASLH/MMA Annual Meeting in Detroit, Michigan, on Friday, September 16. The banquet is supported by a generous contribution from the History Channel.

The AASLH awards program was initiated in 1945 to establish and encourage standards of excellence in the collection, preservation, and interpretation of state and local history throughout the United States. The AASLH Leadership in History Awards not only honor significant achievement in the field of state and local history, but also bring public recognition of the opportunities for small and large organizations, institutions, and programs to make contributions in this arena. For more information about the Leadership in History Awards, contact AASLH at 615-320-3203, or go to

Located in historic downtown Hartford, Connecticut’s Old State House served as a seat of government for the Constitution State from 1796 to 1878. Now serving as one of the state’s most-historically significant museums, the Old State House offers interactive and participatory school programs that focus on the history of the building, the role Connecticut played during the 18th and 19th centuries, civic participation and how government works. In addition to the Connecticut’s Kid Governor program, Connecticut’s Old State House also leads Connecticut History Day, another statewide school program that has encouraged thousands of Connecticut students in grades 6-12 to explore local, state, national and world history. For more information on admission prices, school programs, and upcoming events, follow Connecticut’s Old State House on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram or visit the museum online at

The American Association for State and Local History is a not-for-profit professional organization of individuals and institutions working to preserve and promote history. From its headquarters in Nashville, Tennessee, AASLH provides leadership, service, and support for its members who preserve and interpret state and local history in order to make the past more meaningful in American society. AASLH publishes books, technical publications, a quarterly magazine, a monthly newsletter, and maintains numerous affinity groups and committees serving a broad range of constituents across the historical community. The association also sponsors regional and national training workshops and an annual meeting.