Grant to fund interactive exhibit for children
Published 1:54 pm, Friday, October 14, 2016
FAIRFIELD — The Victorian Cottage, on the museum commons, will eventually be home to new, interactive children’s exhibits thanks to a $75,000 grant from the Fairfield Rotary Foundation.
The small green-and-red cottage, along with a small barn, sits next to the parking lot for Sullivan-Independence Hall, and initial exterior restoration efforts began some years ago, spearheaded by local resident Jeanne Harrison.
“The exhibit will teach children about the history of their community and their roles in becoming leaders for the future,” said Michael Jehle, executive director of the Fairfield Museum and History Center. The FMHC is charged with managing the historic buildings that are part of the municipal campus.
“This generous grant will allow us to complete the exhibits in the Victorian Cottage; However, we are still trying to raise the final $15,000 we need to complete renovations of the building,” Jehle said.
Built in 1888, the structure is an example of Carpenter Gothic and originally served as a gardener’s quarters and for tool storage.
Work is expected to begin later this month, Jehle said, and the Victorian Cottage would re-open to the public next June as an education center for children and families. The space will allow for hands-on activities and displays teaching good citizenship and offering historical perspectives on the Town of Fairfield. Through building blocks on interactive maps, fishing among local waters for natural resources, and encouraging economic understanding through history tourism, the Victorian Cottage will use fun interactives to encourage children to make connections between the diverse stories of people who helped create the community and their own lives.
The large grant from the Rotary Club was made in honor of the town’s recent 375th anniversary and the Fairfield Rotary’s 75th anniversary. The last such sizable grant was made to the Fairfield Public Library, helping to fund the library’s Rotary Room meeting space.
The check for $75,000 was presented to Jehle during a ceremony at Brooklawn Country Club on Sept. 26.
“These grant funds will benefit the educational and cultural life of our community for generations to come,” Jehle said.
The Rotary annually gives out smaller grants to local non-profits, as well as scholarships. Since 1990, the Rotary has given out more than $360,000 in grant funding.