Central Connecticut State University (CCSU) and Connecticut Explored, the state’s only history magazine, have signed a memorandum of understanding that benefits both entities, as well as public history efforts in communities across the state.
The in-kind agreement, which was signed November 1, expands upon existing connections between CCSU’s History Department and the award-winning quarterly publication. It will enhance opportunities for CCSU undergraduate and graduate students to fulfill internships with the non-profit magazine and participate in public history initiatives and other kinds of community engagement.
The magazine, which has never had a centralized headquarters in its 20-year history, will gain an on-campus home in the CCSU History Department, facilitating opportunities to host on-campus events and forging connections with other history-related entities in Connecticut.
“The Department of History’s partnership with Connecticut Explored exemplifies Central’s commitment to advance scholarship, service-learning opportunities, and community development for the public good,” says Robert Wolff, dean of CCSU’s Ammon College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences. “Connecticut Explored tells inclusive, nuanced stories of the state’s diverse communities that enlighten and inspire.”
Dr. Katherine A. Hermes, who was appointed executive director and publisher of Connecticut Explored in July, says that talks for the agreement began in recent years under her predecessor, founding publisher Elizabeth Normen. As a former History professor and CCSU faculty member for 25 years, Hermes is uniquely qualified to leverage the respective strengths, resources, and outreach of the university and the history magazine, which Hermes says share a belief in the importance of community engagement.
A tenet of CCSU’s Public History program is that public history is centered on empowering citizen historians and providing the expertise to facilitate their projects and interests.
“As a history magazine, we don’t just write about Puritans and Pilgrims. We tell the stories of everyone in Connecticut,” she says. “I hope that this relationship allows us to dig even deeper into the history of the state in ways that matter in the community.”
CCSU’s History Department already serves as the home of the Witness Stones Project, an educational initiative that seeks to restore the history and honor the humanity of the enslaved individuals who helped build Connecticut’s communities. The department also houses the Connecticut League of History Organizations, which supports historical activities and promotes best practices among museums, historical societies, and other organizations that preserve and share Connecticut’s cultural heritage.
In addition to its magazine, Connecticut Explored is the publisher of two educational books for grade-school students, “Where I Live” and “Venture Smith’s Colonial Connecticut.” The non-profit also operates CTExplored.com, which offers a free e-newsletter on history topics and events and produces a history podcast called “Grating the Nutmeg.”