Ohio Civil War 150: A Statewide Grassroots Effort
The 150th anniversary of the American Civil War is upon us. The Civil War sesquicentennial (2011-2015) provides a fresh opportunity for a new generation to rediscover the many ways in which Ohioans played a key role in the war and in which the war – “this mighty scourge,” as Lincoln described it – changed life in Ohio.
In 2009, Governor Ted Strickland created a statewide initiative to observe the 150th anniversary of the Civil War in Ohio and selected the Ohio Historical Society to lead the effort. In response, OHS organized the Ohio Civil War 150 Commission, a statewide grassroots effort to help community organizations, historical societies, museums, libraries and other groups commemorate the Civil War in ways meaningful and unique to each group. Throughout FY 2011, the CW150 commission, under the guidance of the CW150 Advisory committee, continued to plan and prepare for the 4-year commemoration effort. Ohio’s commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War kicked off on April 10, 2011 at the Ohio Statehouse.
Ohio Civil War 150 Accomplishments
Ohio History Service Corps Awarded a Second Year Grant
The Ohio History Service Corps through AmeriCorps has been awarded a second year grant through the Ohio Community Service Council! This amazing program supports local history efforts around the Civil War 150th in Ohio. The Ohio Historical Society and its statewide partners developed the Ohio History Service Corps to promote sustainable community development and heritage tourism in Ohio. The Corps consists of three components: Civil War 150 Leadership Corps, to initiate educational programming and regional special events; Ohio History Tech Corps, to provide digitization of historic resources and develop an oral history program; and Historic Preservation Corps, to inventory historic buildings, support community revitalization, and assist local preservation initiatives.
Traveling Exhibit and Artifacts
The Ohio Historical Society, in partnership with the Ohio Humanities Council and American Electric Power, sponsored development of Ohio & the Civil War: 150 Years Later, a special panel traveling exhibit produced for the 150th commemoration of the Civil War. The traveling exhibit explores Ohio’s participation in the war and focuses especially on individuals’ choices that impacted local communities and the course of the war. This exhibition was developed especially for small institutions that typically do not have access to traveling exhibits because of space and cost limitations. Historical societies and museums, libraries, educational institutions and community organizations across Ohio can apply to host the exhibit.
The Society also offers traveling artifacts designed to enhance local organizations’ Civil War programs, events, and exhibits. The traveling artifacts program allows organizations across Ohio to “rent” a collection of Civil War artifacts, such as Ulysses S. Grant’s document box, William McKinley’s presidential campaign buttons and ribbons, and Ohio battle flags. In addition, one of OHS’s curators attends the event to share the history behind each artifact and answer questions.
- Developed a unique interpretive framework to help guide Ohio’s commemoration efforts.
- Designed the CW150 website to assist local organizations across the state commemorate the Civil War. The website features:
- An online calendar for local organizations and societies to promote their Civil War related events.
- A “community collections” page where Ohioans can upload their own artifacts.
- Teacher resources
- Online exhibits
- Discussion forum
- Event planning resources
- Partnered with Cleveland State University Center for Public History and Digital Humanities, Ohio Humanities Council, State Library of Ohio, Army National Guard, and eTech Ohio.
- Acquired funding from AEP, Ohio Humanities Council, Conestoga, Ohio Community Service Council.
- Created an active CW150 Facebook page.
- Partnered with Ohio Tourism Office to share calendar of events to raise awareness of Civil War events across the state.
- Installed New Buffington Island kiosk exhibit in July 2011.
- Started developing Morgan’s Raid Heritage Trail interpretive panels.
- Developed CW150 Merchandise and bookmarks.
- Made CW150 logo available for organizations.
Ohio as America: 4th Grade Ohio History Online Textbook
Ohio as America is an exciting new online textbook about Ohio’s history, created for 4th grade history teachers and students by the Ohio Historical Society in partnership with eTech Ohio and INFOhio. The textbook makes use of the full capabilities of its online format to give teachers and students access to the “real stuff” of history in a way not possible with traditional textbooks.
When it goes live on August 15, 2011, the textbook will include 15 videos created by Ohio Historical Society staff, almost 50 activities created by Ohio fourth-grade teachers, 35 readings for students created by Ohio Historical Society staff and edited by fourth-grade teachers, and a wide variety of images of artifacts, maps, letters, historic buildings, art, patent records, and key government documents from the collections of the Ohio Historical Society as well as archives and libraries around the state. We are especially proud of the interactive map, which will allow teachers to create exactly the map they need.
Through the generous support of Honda, Huntington, and eTech Ohio, the textbook will be free for the 2011-2012 school year. The second chapter and the interactive map are currently available for preview at www.ohioasamerica.org.