Connecticut State Library
State Librarian's Column


It has been fifty years since the State Library acquired and began exhibiting the Colt Firearms Collection (see story below). It was also in 1957 that Robert C. Sale became State Librarian. Mr. Sale was Connecticut’s first state librarian to have formal training as a librarian. He was also the first State Librarian to envision Memorial Hall as a “permanent center for exhibits of current and timely interest". The Colt Firearm’s Collection would be the first of these exhibits. Over the next 30 years the concept of a museum as part of the State Library would evolve.  In 1987 the State Library Board was authorized by the Legislature to establish and operate the Raymond E. Baldwin Museum of Connecticut History and Heritage Museum. Today the Museum of Connecticut History, as it has come to be known, boasts one of the most comprehensive collections of Connecticut’s military, political, and industrial history. In addition, it is the home to one of the largest American coin collections in the world. Despite its great collections, the Museum is one of the least known treasures in the state. To raise public awareness, the Museum has expanded its Web presence (http://www.museumofcthistory.org/) and embarked on new outreach initiatives. This was the second summer that Patrick Smith, Curator of Education, took his Connecticut Invents! program on the road. He covered over 1,500 miles visiting 22 towns and teaching 407 kids about our state’s inventive heritage. Today, Mr. Sale’s vision has developed into a museum with a mission to connect the experience of residents and museum visitors to the artifacts, images, and documents of the past; increasing awareness of, and pride in, the state’s political, military, and industrial history; and building commitment to preserving and sharing its cultural heritage. The challenge for the State Library is to secure the additional staff, space, and resources for the Museum of Connecticut History to be reach its full potential.