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NORWALK, CT  –  Grants of $355,200 and $25,000 from Connecticut Humanities will support The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk’s continued rebound from the pandemic through new exhibits, educational programming and other experiences that introduce a more diverse audience to Long Island Sound. 

Connecticut Humanities in late December announced $16 million in CT Cultural Fund Operating Support Grants to 624 nonprofit arts and cultural organizations in the state, including $355,200 for The Maritime Aquarium. Separately, the Aquarium will use a Connecticut Humanities Planning Grant of $25,000 toward creating a new interactive display that explains the importance of the state’s salt marshes.

“We thank Connecticut Humanities as we begin to implement these grants that will allow The Maritime Aquarium to expand the opportunities for interacting with our current audience and to engage with more communities,” said Jason Patlis, the Aquarium’s President and CEO. “We also are grateful for the staunch support of Gov. Lamont, State Sen. Majority Leader Bob Duff of Norwalk and the Connecticut General Assembly in making the Operating Support funds available and recognizing the vital role – and current struggles during the pandemic – of Connecticut’s arts and cultural organizations.”

Patlis said the $355,200 Operating Support grant will help the Aquarium tell the story of Long Island Sound’s conservation and natural history through new educational programs – both in-person and online – and new interactive exhibits, with the special intent of reaching and inspiring a more diverse, inclusive audience. In addition, as the financial effects of the pandemic linger, the funds will support the Aquarium’s operations and help retain staffing levels needed to continue to provide superior daily care to the more than 7,000 resident animals. 

“All of these initiatives will extend our reach across Connecticut, diversify our revenue streams, and help to secure our financial future,” Patlis said. 

Dr. Jason R. Mancini, Executive Director of Connecticut Humanities, said, “We are thrilled to welcome The Maritime Aquarium into our humanities family. Their work to connect the natural world with the human experience helps illuminate our relationship with the environment, to each other, and to some of the most pressing issues of our time. Providing greater access to diverse audiences is at the core of our operating support grant and I am confident that The Maritime Aquarium will deliver its best to our residents and visitors. We congratulate them on their awards.” 

Sen. Duff said his support of the Aquarium dates back to its first day almost 34 years ago. 

“I was there in 1988 when Gov. O'Neil opened The Maritime Aquarium and I have been in love with it ever since," Duff said. "People come from all over Connecticut and the region to visit the Aquarium and it really helps put Norwalk on the map. In addition, The Maritime Aquarium serves as an excellent steward of Long Island Sound and educates countless young people about the importance of protecting our environment. It is my pleasure to support The Maritime Aquarium so future generations can enjoy our wonderful local treasure.” 

Separate from the Operating Support grant, the Aquarium will use the $25,000 Connecticut Humanities Planning Grant toward creating a new interactive display called “Marshing Through Time” in its Long Island Sound watershed gallery. 

“This grant will allow The Maritime Aquarium to bring to life the history of Long Island Sound’s marshlands – how they have changed over time and how they have shaped the very culture and economy of Connecticut and the region through the centuries,” Patlis said.  

“Through multimedia storytelling and digital depictions of historical artifacts, ‘Marshing Through Time’ will give Aquarium guests an important understanding of the inextricable link between our natural world and our culture and history, while also challenging them to consider what steps we can take – individually and collectively – to restore our marshlands to a healthy ecosystem,” he said. 

Learn more about The Maritime Aquarium’s exhibits and programs at 

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Posted by Brianne Faust at 10:30 AM
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Mission: The Maritime Aquarium inspires people of all ages to appreciate and protect the Long Island Sound ecosystem and the global environment through living exhibits, marine science, and environmental education.

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