Westport, CT - Westport Museum (formerly Westport Historical Society) is honored to announce that it will be naming its main exhibit hall after local philanthropist Daniel E. Offutt, III following a significant donation from the Daniel E. Offutt, III Charitable Trust. Mr. Offutt, who lived in Weston, was a generous donor to many local nonprofits both during his lifetime and via his estate.
The gift is the largest single donation ever received by the Museum. The main exhibit hall was formerly named after Ralph & Betty Sheffer, longtime supporters of the Museum who provided the major funding to complete the space in 2002.
“We are thrilled to be able to name this significant cultural resource after Mr. Offutt who was a generous and active member in the local community. His interest and support has helped many cultural organizations here and around the nation,” says Ramin Ganeshram, Executive Director of Westport Museum. “I only wish Mr. Offutt was with us to see the value his good work will bring to this and surrounding communities.”
Daniel Offutt had a lifetime interest in history and in art as both a collector and an artist. A self-described “farmer,” he was more aptly described as a “Renaissance Man”: a tennis player, traveler, sailor, metal sculptor, wood worker, fixer of anything, collector of everything, lover of projects, stock market investor, and a good friend. Mr. Offutt lived for more than 30 years in Weston, Connecticut in a house that he built himself.
The gift from Mr. Offutt’s Trust will enable Westport Museum to make much needed upgrades to its main exhibit hall, in keeping with national museum standards to provide quality experiences with universal access to the widest audience. The goal of upgrading exhibit spaces at the Museum is part of a multi-year strategic initiative to create a world class regional Museum in Westport.
“As Trustee, I am pleased to support the growth and improvement envisioned for the Museum,” said Richard H. Orenstein. “Working with Ramin has been an easy and creative endeavor.”
“Thanks to this significant gift we will be able to create our next ground-breaking exhibit with the highest standards in mind,” said Ganeshram. The first exhibit to open in the newly remodeled space will be in late 2020 about Westport’s indigenous people who inhabited the town and surrounds for 7500 years before European colonization.
While the name change is effective immediately, a plaque will be formally installed to rename the gallery “The Daniel E. Offutt III Exhibition Hall at Westport Museum” at a ceremony to take place at the opening of the 2020 indigenous people’s exhibit in November.
ABOUT WESTPORT MUSEUM FOR HISTORY & CULTURE: The award-winning Westport Museum for History & Culture is a cultural center devoted to providing engaging, interactive interpretation of local history inclusive of all stories and all people. Located in beautiful downtown Westport, the Museum provides a variety of programming for people of all ages including an abundance of free events for the community to enjoy. From beloved yearly events such as annual Garden Tour to Spooktober, a full month of harvest and Halloween programming in October to the beloved Holly Days, an ecumenical December celebration for the holiday season to unique happenings from performances, lectures, readings and interactive activities, the Museum strives to present history in a fun, modern context. In the 2018/19 program year, as Westport Historical Society the Westport Museum for History & Culture received accolades, local and regional awards, and national award nominations for its ground-breaking exhibit Remembered: The History of African Americans in Westport.