About Connecticut Office of Culture & Tourism (OCT)
The Connecticut Office of Culture & Tourism (once named the Connecticut Commission on Culture & Tourism) was created in 2003 by the Connecticut General Assembly (§10-392) to bring together arts, historic preservation, and tourism. Its mission is to preserve and promote Connecticut's cultural and tourism assets in order to enhance the quality of life and economic vitality of the State. On July 1, 2011, the Connecticut Office of Culture & Tourism was involved in an agency consolidation with the Department of Economic and Community Development.
The Office of Culture & Tourism strives to develop and enhance opportunities for collaboration, coordination and growth in the arts, historic preservation and tourism. The OCT operates as a grant making agency for state and federal funds and serves to market and promote the state to in-state and out of state residents. The OCT devotes its resources to serving Connecticut's cultural institutions and organization and individuals through funding, technical assistance, and promotion. The OCT works to enhance and preserve our historical and cultural resources and to strengthen our organizations and institutions to be economic contributors and to exist into the future.
The OCT operates four museums, the State's welcome centers and serves as the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO). The agency's statutory partners are the Amistad Committee for the Connecticut Freedom Trail, the Connecticut Humanities Council and the Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation. The OCT works collaboratively with the three tourism regions – Central Regional Tourism District, Eastern Regional Tourism District and Western Regional Tourism District.
Office of the Arts
The Office of the Arts develops and strengthens the arts in Connecticut and makes artistic experiences widely available to residents and visitors. Through its grant programs, the office invests in Connecticut artists and arts organizations thereby encouraging public participation as creators, learners, supporters and audience members. Through its programs and services, the office connects people to the arts and helps to build vital communities across the state. Through its programs, the division encourages arts in education to promote life-long learning. The Office of the Arts oversees the gallery, which features changing exhibitions, is dedicated to promoting cultural enrichment and visual understanding.
State Historic Preservation Office
The State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) administers a broad range of federal and state programs which include technical and educational services, restoration grants, and environmental review and compliance programs. The SHPO administers the State Register of Historic Places as well as federally funded National Register-based programs designed to identify, register, and protect the buildings, sites, structures, districts, and objects that comprise and define Connecticut's cultural heritage.
The State Historic Preservation Office operates four state-owned museums open for public visitation: Henry Whitfield State Museum in Guilford, Old New-Gate Prison and Copper Mine in East Granby, Prudence Crandall Museum in Canterbury and Sloane-Stanley Museum and Kent Iron Furnace in Kent.
Office of Tourism
The Connecticut Office of Tourism works to make tourism a leading economic contributor and a source of pride for Connecticut. The office partners with the Connecticut business community and three regional tourism regions to position the state, encourage strategic investment and ensure that Connecticut is a prime destination for leisure and business travelers. The office offers a broad range of services, including marketing, research, hospitality services, direct sales and business marketing assistance. The Office of Tourism operates Connecticut's welcome centers.