The Local History Office supports the approximately 860 local historical organizations across Ohio by providing continuing education, professional development, and most importantly, inspiration. In partnership with the Ohio Local History Alliance (formerly known as the Ohio Association for Historical Societies and Museums), the Local History Office provides on-site help to village and township historical societies, museums, genealogical societies, historic preservation groups, libraries, and archives.
Throughout FY 2011, the Local History Office and the Alliance continued to offer numerous community-building events for local historians all across the state. This spring, approximately 268 local historians, representing 120 organizations met at Alliance regional meetings around Ohio. More than 150 local historians from across the state attended the annual statewide meeting cohosted by the Local History Office and theAlliance.
In response to the ever-growing online world, Ohio Local History Alliance’s primary publication, The Local Historian, will go online for the first time in its Nov./Dec. 2011 issue. This decision will save not only approximately $6,000 in printing costs, but also allow for a more up-to-date and interactive experience for subscribers.
In 2011, through its Needs Assessment and Strategic Planning programs, the Local History Office visited
- The Northwest Franklin County Historical Society and recommended it install a climate control system and a new roof. Northwest Franklin HS completed these upgrades and was rewarded by the positive and energetic responses from the public during the Franklin County fair.
- The Clyde Heritage League and helped the organization develop a new collections management system that addresses the complexity of its archives.
- The Maritime Museum of Sandusky and developed a strategic fundraising plan for expanding the museum.
Through these intensive visits, the Local History Office helped local branches become better stewards of their community’s histories.
Historical Markers Program: Preserving History Where It Happened
The most concrete representation of the office’s commitment to local history is the Ohio Historical Markers Program that it administers. Since the program began in 1957, Ohioans have erected more than 1,340 Historical markers throughout Ohio, all crafted at Sewah Studios in Marietta.
Most importantly, the Historical Markers Program demonstrates the success of a grassroots effort to identify and preserve community history in Ohio. Local communities decide which people places, and events they want to commemorate with markers. Andy Verhoff, of the Local History Office, says that the tangible marker possesses limitless intangible benefits, particularly at dedication ceremonies: “These marker ceremonies are an opportunity for a community to come together and celebrate an accomplishment and connect younger generations with local history.”
To understand the full extend of the Ohio Historical Marker program, view its online presence at remarkableohio.org. Maintained by eTech Ohio, the site includes a searchable, complete list of all Ohio Historical Markers and a downloadable marker application. There is an Apple iPhone and iPod Touch app on iTunes University which lets users locate and read the texts of markers on the go.
Remarkable Ohio App
View a marker dedication in action: “Dow Finsterwald honored with Historical Marker at Athens Country Club in 2009"