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Salem Museum Joins Neighborhood Assistance Program

Salem Museum Joins Neighborhood Assistance Program

Salem — A transportation museum tucked away on a farm on Route 85 is the first non-profit organization in the town to join the state's neighborhood assistance program.

The Antique Carriage and Sleigh Museum was unanimously approved by the Board of Selectmen last week to take part in the program to boost its educational outreach offerings. The museum, operated by former Salem Historical Society President Dave Wordell at the Olde Ransom Farm, has been open to the public since 2011 and is home to 28 carriages, carts and sleighs from around the country from the 1800s.

"They get a taste of what it was like to travel (before cars,)" he said. Children especially learn a lot from their visit, and he said his first-ever visitor was an 11-year-old boy who was so enamored with the old carriages and the history that he didn't want to leave.

The Neighborhood Assistance Act provides funding for non-profits by offering tax credits to businesses that donate to the organizations to support a given project. For most projects, businesses that donate would receive a 60 percent credit for their contributions, though businesses that support energy conservation projects would receive a 100 percent credit.

Support from first selectman back to top

First Selectman Kevin Lyden said he is supportive of Wordell's project, and he would encourage other non-profit organizations in town to seek out similar funding to support the services they provide to the town.

Nearly 400 organizations, including town governments, took part in the program in 2016. According to the state Department of Revenue Services, the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center in Waterford sought $25,000 for renovations to the Monte Cristo Cottage in New London and the Town of Groton sought $75,000 to install LED lighting at the Groton Public Library. Each organization is responsible for soliciting the donations needed to conduct their projects, and they have to reapply every year to the program.

Wordell said he plans to use the donations to produce a documentary about the museum, which he can then use as part of his lectures at schools, libraries and other community spaces. Since the museum itself is relatively small and can't support large groups touring at one time, the documentary can bring the museum to people who otherwise wouldn't be able to visit.