Regional Meeting Reports: Regions 2 & 4

Region 2 Meets in Clyde
By Brenda Stultz

Ashland, Crawford, Erie, Huron, Marion, Morrow, Ottawa, Richland, Sandusky, Seneca and Wyandot counties

The Clyde Heritage League hosted the Region 2 meeting at the First Presbyterian Church in Clyde on Saturday, April 12. Following registration and breakfast, the meeting convened in the sunny church sanctuary.  (The historic church is believed to be a setting in one of the chapters of Sherwood Anderson’s 1919 book Winesburg, Ohio.) The meeting’s 47 attendees were greeted by Gale Martin, Region 2 representative from Marion County. Clyde Heritage League President  Sharon Kinnear welcomed everyone and  introduced Clyde Mayor G. Scott Black, who explained how visits to regional historic sites and learning stories of local heritage developed his early interest in history.

The first session “Educate to Advocate: Making the Case for Your Organization’s Future” was a diverse panel moderated by Christie Weininger, Director of the Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center. Todd Kleismit, Director of Community and Government Relations at the Ohio Historical Society (OHS), Diana Ohms, Sylvania – Battle of Fallen Timbers, and Kay Reiter, Director of Sandusky County Economic Development Corporation, shared their expertise and fielded questions. Included in the discussion were strategies for engaging legislators, community leaders, other stakeholders and the public in the continued investment in historic resources.

Maggie Marconi discusses disaster planning at the Region 2 meeting
Maggie Marconi discusses disaster planning at the Region 2 meeting

During sharing time, 20 organizations delivered the latest news from Region 2, including both challenges and achievements. (As confirmed by evaluations, this is a favorite part of the meeting.) There were several new faces to the meeting and the lunch networking time was a great opportunity to make introductions, share concerns and successes and meet personnel from OHS. Lunches were provided by Our Town’s Brewin’ in Clyde, with apples from local Eshelman’s Orchards. The business meeting followed, with Mark Sundluv, the new manager of the OHS Local History Office, making announcements of personnel changes at OHS. Gale Martin, Executive Director of the Marion County Historical Society, was elected for a second term as a Region 2 representative.

Afternoon sessions included “Not If, But When: Preparing a Disaster Plan for Your Organization” by Maggie Marconi, President of the Alliance and Administrator at the Sandusky Library Follet House Museum. The presentation included a detailed list to assist in developing a written plan. Gale Martin gave a dynamic presentation entitled “Thinking Outside the Lunchbox: Creative Special Event Programming.” Gale encouraged a “don’t give up” attitude in program planning. She also discussed how a small event can grow to include a greater audience, diversity in volunteer participation, support from places you might least expect and can become a popular fundraiser.

Region 2 meeting attendees tour the Clyde Museum
Region 2 meeting attendees tour the Clyde Museum

Burt Logan, Executive Director & CEO at OHS concluded the sessions with a presentation explaining exciting news at OHS. He thanked all in attendance and affirmed the importance of what each of us do to preserve the past for the future, enrich our communities today and connect in our mission to share Ohio’s history.

A tour of the Clyde Museum was offered following the conclusion of the meeting. Thank you to Amy Rohmiller from the Local History Office for her guidance in meeting planning and to all who attended.


Region 4 Remembers May 4, 1970 at Kent State University
By Leann Rich

Ashtabula, Geauga, Mahoning, Portage, and Trumbull counties

The Ohio Local History Alliance Region 4 meeting was held on the campus of Kent State University, Saturday, April 12. Thirty-three representatives from seventeen historical organizations (and two other regions) were in attendance. Attendees were welcomed by Leann Rich, Region 4 representative, Lori Boes, Assistant Director of the May 4 Visitors Center (our host organization) and Paul Haridakis, Professor and Director of the College of Communications and Information at Kent State University. Burt Logan, Executive Director & CEO of the Ohio Historical Society (OHS), gave an update on new connections for Ohio History.

A slide highlights one important message from Cara Gilgenbach's presentation on digitization
An important message from Cara Gilgenbach’s presentation on digitization

Cara Gilgenbach, Head of Special Collections and Archives and Associate Professior, and Lae’l Hughes-Watkins, University Archivist and Assistant Professor, both of Kent State University, gave an informative case study on digitization using the May 4 Digital Archive as an example. They presented the processes for selection, scanning and creation of metadata; showed a demonstration of the archive; and went over some of the difficulties that came up during the project. One piece of information that everyone came away with from that presentation is: Back Up Your Data.

After lunch and sharing time, Lae’l Hughes-Watkins was appointed to fill the unexpired Region 4 representative term (ending December 2014) and elected for her first full term beginning January 2015. As the University Archivist, Lae’l works in the Department of Special Collections and Archives. Lae’l will begin serving as a representative immediately and is looking forward to using social media to network with other organizations throughout the state.

Attendees were blessed with a gorgeous day (which was necessary), and took an afternoon walk across campus for a tour of the MuseLab in the School of Library and Information Science.  MuseLab has all the latest toys and tools for exhibit fabrication and can be put to use by local historical organizations.

May 4 Visitors Center, Kent State University
May 4 Visitors Center, Kent State University

The highlight of the day was the afternoon visit to the May 4 Visitors Center. A walking tour of the grounds followed led by Alan Canfora, a Kent State University student wounded during the 1970 shootings. The impact of seeing the exhibit and hearing the compelling first-person account from Mr. Canfora was an emotional and moving experience for attendees. The May 4 Visitors Center’s 2013 Outstanding Achievement Award from the Alliance was well deserved, as it is an engaging exhibit that skillfully gives the visitor historical context, first-person accounts of the events and a thorough documentation of the aftermath.

A special thank you goes to Lori Boes, Assistant Director of the May 4 Visitors Center, for providing the venue and arranging for the day’s speakers and tours.

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