President's Message

President's Message

For the last few years, this Report has focused on the challenges confronting the Ohio Historical Society. We took hard measures by restructuring staff and hours, reaching out to local communities to share site management, and changing or delaying future plans. Our volunteers, staff, members, and network of sites have dealt with the changed circumstances admirably, setting the stage for today.

This year, I report on stability, success and strategic planning. This year, the Governor and the General Assembly have provided stable state funds for public functions. The Legislative Commission on the Education and Preservation of State History in its report a year ago recognized the value of history organizations generally, and OHS specifically, to Ohio and the future. Many of its recommendations are under consideration and the long-sought goal of a state income tax refund check-off to benefit Ohio History through OHS has been approved. Our site relationships and the Ohio Local History Alliance are strong and vibrant, improving access for education, tourism and local history.

OHS is working on being electronically accessible. Many have downloaded the free iPhone “app” for Historical Markers of Ohio, available through iTunes. This innovative approach makes the people, places and events memorialized through the OHS Historic Markers program available to those planning a trip, driving past at "Dad" speed or just with an interest. This year also marks the beginning of the 150th Anniversary of the Civil War. I encourage you to use our Ohio Civil War 150 website to learn about activities of interest or to read the blog postings. Ohioans were leaders of the period, before, during, and after the war. Think of Ohio Generals like Grant, Sherman and Custer. Think of abolitionists like Stowe and Rankin, and political leaders like Chase and Stanton. Read about them online at Ohio History Central and visit Civil War era sites in Ohio.

Ohioans are working to remember the War of 1812 on its 200th anniversary. The Battle of Lake Erie and Fort Meigs are memorialized on South Bass Island and in Perrysburg, both important sites for the Northwest and Ohio in the war, and both are great places to visit.

This year resulted in professional recognition by the American Association of Museums, the fourth time for the Ohio History Center, and the first time for seven more sites in the State Memorial System: Adena Mansion & Gardens in Chillicothe, Armstrong Air & Space Museum in Wapakoneta, Campus Martius Museum in Marietta, Fort Ancient near Oregonia, Fort Meigs and the Johnston Farm & Indian Agency in Piqua. In addition, the Hayes Home and Library at Speigel Grove in Findlay is also AAM accredited. To accomplish this goal is a significant achievement for all concerned, to do it during the drumbeat of reduced funding and staff is remarkable. We are part of only 4.5% of Museums in the US accredited through this rigorous process.

Lastly, our board is moving forward, strategically positioning the organization for stability (not status quo). That means aggressively focusing our efforts to build on our strengths and to work even harder on developing our assets for the future of Ohio history. For all of us, it means working for private funding and earned revenue. It means building our fundraising capability at a time when every deserving nonprofit is seeking help. It means continuing to challenge ourselves and those who care about Ohio History and its future to join in this great endeavor. Please join me in this journey.

Ted Prasse 
President, Board of Trustees 
Ohio Historical Society