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about us


The Ethnic Heritage Center
270 Fitch Street, New Haven, CT 06515
Phone: (203) 392-6126    


The Ethnic Heritage Center is housed in two buildings on the campus of Southern Connecticut State University, at 270 Fitch Street, New Haven, spaces that the university generously makes available to us.  School classes of all ages visit on a regular basis.  One building is dedicated to our public activities and programs (exhibits, author events, lectures, films, meetings; SCSU classes often meet here, in conjunction with our exhibits). The other building is dedicated to storage of the two collections for which the Ethnic Heritage Center has been named custodian: New Haven Public School enrollment records and the Connecticut Afro-American Historical Society, plus Ethnic Heritage Center archives and spillover of less-used material from our member societies. Southern Connecticut State university also provides utilities, security, IT support, and maintenance.


The Ethnic Heritage Center is open by appointment only.


The Ethnic Heritage Center and its five member societies celebrate diversity, while recognizing our common humanity by:

  • maintaining archives, which we make available to researchers at all levels
  • mounting permanent and changing exhibits
  • presenting programs, workshops, language classes, films, author events, etc.
  • maintaining archives
  • assisting researchers at all levels (grade school to graduate school, people tracing their family history, professional writers, etc.)
  • welcoming school classes (all ages)
  • welcoming eldercare groups, camp groups, Scout troops
  • publishing books, posters, pamphlets
  • cooperating and interacting with Southern Connecticut State University faculty and students
  • cooperating and interacting with area schools
  • sharing our expertise with area historical societies


The Ethnic Heritage Center has been designated custodian of:

  • All surviving New Haven Public School enrollment records, dating from the 1850s
  • The historical collection documenting New Haven's African American community, formerly housed at the Dixwell Community House ("Q House")


Our Goals

  • Foster a greater recognition, understanding and appreciation of all members of our diverse ethnic population by promoting a more friendly, harmonious and cooperative community.
  • Expand community outreach and participation, as well as programming, throughout the state.
  • Use our archives to develop audio-visual materials, exhibits, publications and special events.
  • Promote active use of the Ethnic Heritage Center's archival collections by scholars, students and individuals



The Ethnic Heritage Center Board of Directors consists of up to three members and two alternates appointed by each of our five member societies, plus a liaison with SCSU appointed by the university president.


President:                     Valerie L.Bertrand
1st Vice President:     Gloria Horbaty
2nd Vice President:   Aaron Goode
3rd Vice President:    Pat Heslin
Secretary:                       Jo-Anne Giammattei
Treasurer:                     Donald Horbaty
Asst. Treasurer:          Diane Petaway

Liaison, SCSU: Dr. Aaron Washington (non-voting)

Brenda Barnes (Greater New Haven African American Historical Society)

Fred D'Albero (Italian American Historical Society of Connecticut)

Louise Fitzsimmons (Connecticut Irish American Historical Society)

Dr. Gary Fleischman (Jewish Historical Society of Greater New Haven)

Albert Harary (Jewish Historical Society of Greater New Haven)

Patricia Heslin (Connecticut Irish American Historical Society)

Irene Hladkyj (Connecticut Ukrainian American Historical Society)

Gloria Horbaty (Connecticut Ukrainian American Historical Society)

Mary E. Jones (Greater New Haven African American Historical Society)

Vincent McMahon (Connecticut Irish American Historical Society)

Florence Tomasini (Italian American Historical Society of Connecticut)

George Waldron (Italian American Historical Society of Connecticut)

Howard el-Yasin (Greater New Haven African American Historical Society)

Rhoda Zahler (Jewish Historical Society of Greater New Haven)

A Founder and Chairman Emeritus: Philip Paolella (Italian American Historical Society of Connecticut) 


African American: Geraldine Poole
Irish: Patricia Heslin
Italian: Laura Sabatino
Jewish: Marvin Bargar
Ukrainian: Irene Hladkyj

In addition, we rely on the hard work and enthusiasm of scores of additional volunteers from our member societies and interns, as well as work/study students from Southern Connecticut State University.