The Connecticut State Bond Commission has approved $2 million in state funding to assist with the construction of the Thompson Exhibition Building. The request for funding was approved at the commission’s meeting on January 29, 2016.
“Mystic Seaport was delighted to learn that our Thompson Exhibition Building project was selected for this level of state support,” said Steve White, president of Mystic Seaport. “The new building gives us a state-of-the-art, world-class exhibition facility that will fortify a year-round business model and support our role as the nation’s leading maritime museum.”
The state’s investment in the Thompson Exhibition Building leverages significant support from the private sector, and strengthens the local and regional economy by enhancing Mystic’s role as a leading tourist destination.
The Thompson Exhibition Building will house a 5,000-square-foot exhibit gallery—the largest of the Museum’s seven galleries. The new building will provide the type of conditions required to permit the borrowing of outstanding art and artifacts from other museums around the world. The building will also have a visitors’ entrance, retail space, and a meeting and lecture room.
The Thompson Building is scheduled to open in September 2016.
“We are grateful for the support of State Senator Andrew Maynard and State Representative Diana Urban on this project. With their assistance we were able to demonstrate the project’s merits as we met with legislative leadership, state economic development officials and Governor Dannel P. Malloy,” said White. “We have likewise been grateful for the support we have received from the State Office of Economic and Community Development and Gov. Malloy’s interest in this important project.”
In a December letter to Gov. Malloy, Sen. Maynard wrote, “The Thompson Exhibition Building is central to Mystic Seaport’s ongoing transformation. The building expands the Museum’s capacity as a cultural institution, strengthens the state’s tourism industry, and adds to our ability to attract and retain top talent to the state’s workforce based on a high quality of life.”
“Connecticut’s economy benefits significantly from tourism,” said Gov. Malloy in a statement. “Under recent years, this sector of our economy has evolved into a $14 billion industry, supporting more than 80,000 direct tourism jobs statewide and continuing to grow. Mystic Seaport continues to be a major draw in the southeastern region of our state, and this project is one for which Sen. Maynard has advocated passionately. I am glad that we can continue to support the region with this grant.”
Mystic Seaport is one of the top-20 employers in Southeastern Connecticut and is a leading driver of tourism in the region and the state. The new exhibition building will add both temporary and permanent jobs, but it will also fortify a twelve-month business model for the Museum going forward.
Portions of this report were prepared from a press release from Sen. Maynard’s office.