Museum & Library Services

Museum & Library Services Data

Collections Management Statistics

A Steward of Ohio’s History: Collecting the Evidence of Ohio’s Past

With hundreds of collections totaling millions of items, it can be a challenge to manage the Society’s vast collection of materials that document Ohio’s historical, archaeological and natural past. Collectionsmanagement highlights are:

  • Inventory. Inventories help to ensure the condition and location of objects and are a critical part of managing such a large collection. Continuing the site inventory project that began in 2009, staff inventoried 3,564 items at four locations: Johnston Farm and Indian Agency, Harding Home, McCook House and Museum of Ceramics. As part of the ConnectOH project, an IMLS-funded grant to increase the Society’s collection management capacity, 5,172 items were inventoried at the Ohio History Center in Columbus. 
  • Cataloging. Cataloging helps to make collections accessible to researchers. In FY11, staff created 12,036 new catalog records for the manuscripts/AV, history, natural history and archaeology collections. In State Archives, 98 record series totaling 239 cubic feet of records and 471 volumes were added to the catalog. Highlights of these materials include: Department of Insurance retired abstracts of companies, 1915-1998; Ohio State Fair entry catalogs and premium lists, 1923-1984; correspondence and meeting minutes from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Parks and Recreation; and records from the Ohio Attorney General’s Office pertaining to the State of Ohio v. Philip Morris, 1997-1998. As a result of these efforts, users performed more than 272,000 unique searches in the online catalog in FY11. 
  • Loans. An essential part of managing the collections is ensuring that as many objects are on public display as possible. Loaning objects to other institutions is a great way to accomplish this. In FY11, the Society collaborated with 20 institutions such as the Cincinnati Museum Center, Capital Square Review and Advisory Board and the National Park Service for outgoing loans. In January, 53 objects were loaned to the Decorative Arts Center in Lancaster for an exhibit titled "Equal in Goodness: Ohio Decorative Arts 1788-1860" that ran January 3 through July 16, 2011. See: 
  • The Society continues to actively collect and record Ohio’s history. The State Archives transferred 135 record series from state agencies and 137 new collections were acquired for the History, Natural History and Archaeology areas. 

New Acquisitions Highlights:

  • Following the November elections, the State Archives transferred the records of Governor Strickland’s Administration, as well as 126th and 127th General Assembly committee files from theOhio Senate. Other transferred records include property abstracts from the Department of Taxation; and case files from the Department of Natural Resources.
  • Following a donation of memorabilia, members of the new wave band Devo visited the Ohio History Center to see the exhibit of their memorabilia in the Research Room lobby and sign albums. See:
  • In December 2010, the Society purchased several items at auction, including an archive of Charles Young materials (including his Spanish American War uniform); two photographs of sharp shooter Annie Oakley; letters of Lil Rathburn, a Civil War soldier's wife; and items belonging to Civil War infantry officer William Wallace. For Annie Oakley photos, see:
  • In support or the War of 1812 commemoration, five military grade weapons from the War of 1812 era were purchased at auction.
  • For the library collection, the Columbus Metropolitan Library donated 250 city directories that cover cities outside of Central Ohio from the 1980s to the 2000s. 

Digital Collections

The Society expanded its digital collections in FY11 and continued to serve as a leader in the field of digitization. Images in Ohio Memory, the Society’s digital library, increased by more than 100,000 to a total of 253,000. Eleven new libraries and historical societies joined the collaborative program, including:

As part of the Americorps program, collections belonging to private individuals were added to the repository for the first time (see Revenue from image sales, digitization subscriptions and partner fees, lead to more than $85,000 in cost recovery for the digitization program. 

The second phase of the National Digital Newspaper Program, a National Endowment for the Humanities and Library of Congress grant to digitize the Society’s newspaper collection, focused on Civil War-era newspapers. An Advisory Group of educators, historians, journalists and librarians met to select the 26 newspapers that are being digitized for the project. See:

Supporting Communities

Museum and Library Services also provides technical assistance when possible to Ohio’s cultural organizations at the local level. Through the support of a grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission, the Ohio Historical Records Advisory Board awarded more than $21,000 in grants to:

  • Athens County Historical Society: Preservation of Athens County Probate Court Records ($2,383.00)
  • Clark County Historical Society: Probate Court Record Processing Project ($1,520.00)
  • Cleveland City Council Archives: Providing Access to Demolition Files of Cleveland’s Urban Renewal Program ($2,215.00)
  • Cuyahoga Community College: Tri-C Historical Records Preservation Project ($2,000.00)
  • Granville Historical Society: Preservation and Access to Historical Government Documents of the Village of Granville, Ohio ($1,000.00)
  • Mahoning Valley Historical Society: Digitization of City Planning Negatives ($2,783.00)
  • Shaker Heights Public Library: Digital Preservation of Shaker Heights Architectural Records and Creation of an Online Database ($3,500.00)
  • Sinclair Community College: Improving Access to Sinclair Community College Archives Historic Records ($2,234.00)
  • Union County Records Center and Archives: Reorganization and Preservation of Clerk of Court’s Records ($1,275.00)


Exciting New Discoveries About Ohio’s Past: Research and Education

OHS curators continued a tradition of scholarship that emphasizes both teaching and research. Curators responded to more than 400 inquiries from researchers and citizens across the country. In addition to responding to research requests from the public, curators have made some fascinating discoveries themselves. Archeology research at Fort Recovery uncovered the remains of multiple closely-spaced wooden posts of appropriate size to be the stockade walls of the original Fort Recovery. This was confirmed by the discovery of several battlefield period artifacts, including shell and bone buttons, a lead musket ball and a center fore-stock band from a French Charleville musket (See See In the field of natural history, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources commended the Society for its proactive efforts to mitigate the potential destruction of habitat and the rare plants and animals at Cedar Bog by the Emerald Ash Borer.

Education is an important part of the work of the curatorial and archival staff. Highlights include:

  • State Archives staff presented training to approximately 335 local government records managers and officials through programs with the City of Columbus, State Auditor’s Office, Secretary of State’s Office, and the County Engineers Association of Ohio, and provided records management training to 30 legislative aides of the Ohio House of Representatives.
  • The Genealogy Workshop Series added two four-hour seminars focusing on how to research institutional records and county court records to its Genealogy workshop series. More than 730 people attended the workshops, an increase of 12%.
  • Staff continued to build relationships with federally recognized tribes with ties to Ohio. In July, staff met with four tribes in Eastern Oklahoma regarding the current issues surrounding the repatriation of human remains.