Regions 1 & 3 Report on April 5 Meetings

Region 1 Meeting at Toledo Metroparks
By Gary Levitt

Allen, Defiance, Fulton, Hancock, Hardin, Henry, Lucas, Paulding, Putnam, Van Wert, Williams and Wood counties

Region 1 meeting, April 5, 2014, in Toledo
Region 1 meeting April 5 in Toledo

The Ohio Local History Alliance Region 1 meeting was held at Ward Pavilion at the Wildwood’s Preserve of Metroparks of Toledo Area, Saturday, April 5. Thirty-eight representatives from 15 historical organizations were in attendance. Following a welcome from Gary Levitt, Region 1 representative, Burt Logan, Executive Director & CEO of the Ohio Historical Society (OHS) provided the group with a recap of the changes made by OHS from 2010 to date. Mr. Logan also announced three new initiatives that are being considered at the next board meeting. (Stay tuned for further developments.)

Replica of Fort Miami
Replica of Fort Miami

Dave Westrick, President of the Fallen Timbers Battlefield Preservation Society, gave a frank accounting of Myths vs. Facts in describing the events leading up to and culminating with America’s 1794 conclusion of the Indian Wars in the Northwest Territory. Mr. Westrick also erected a replica of Fort Miami and its inhabitants.

Special thanks were given to Mr. Steve Madewell, Director of Metroparks, for providing an excellent site and for sharing the expertise of several of his staff members. Susan Roberts-McGlade and Angela Metcalf discussed the “Basics of Interpretive Training,” which was a perfect 101 guide for training volunteers who serve as interpreters and docents. Cindy Rotondo (a.k.a. Miss Osgood, the schoolmarm of the Metropark’s Oak Grove Schoolhouse) delved into the mechanics of “Matching the Core Curriculum to your Audiences.” For public schools to participate in programming, for example, adjustments may be necessary to correlate with new mandates of the Ohio Department of Education.

Attendees were also wowed with a presentation by Michelle Leow Klinger from the Center for Nonprofit Resources. Her workshop “Your One Stop Shop for Nonprofit Resources” was a treasure trove of who, what, where and when for obtaining help, grants and endless supplies of information. There was so much information from all the presenters that the customary sharing time was done while enjoying a potato and soup buffet lunch.

Following lunch, Joy Armstrong, Alliance Trustee-at-Large and Executive Director of the Sylvania Historical Village, along with Amy Rohmiller, OHS Program Assistant for the Local History Office, presented information concerning the inner workings of the Alliance board, programs and grant opportunities. They also presided over the election of the newest Region 1 representative, Holly Hartlerode, Curator of the Wood County Historical Center and Museum. Holly looks forward to beginning her term in January 2015.

The day was capped off with sweet treats and personal tours of the Metropark’s Manor House and Oak Grove Schoolhouse.

Region 3 Meeting Held in Middleburg Heights
By Rebecca Larson-Troyer

Cuyahoga, Lake, Lorain, Medina and Summit counties

Sharing time at Region 3’s meeting in Middleburg Heights

Region 3 of the Ohio Local History Alliance met Saturday, April 5 in Middleburgh Heights, hosted by the Middleburg Heights Historical Society. Nearly 40 people attended the meeting, with representatives from 17 organizations. Middleburg Heights Mayor Gary Starr welcomed attendees to the city and gave a short address about the importance of local history to the community

A new “SOS: Solve Our Situation” session asked representatives from each organization in attendance to share one challenge facing their site. Among the list of challenges were finding and keeping volunteers, getting the support of organizational boards, disaster planning, doing more with less (money and time) and the struggle to say no to projects that overextend organizations. The goal of this session was to encourage attendees to network with colleagues facing similar challenges.

A digital collaborations panel in the morning featured speakers Jillian Carney of the Ohio Historical Society (OHS), Carole Minch of Middleburg Heights Historical Society and Rebecca Larson-Troyer of Akron-Summit County Public Library. The panel spoke about digitization projects that involved collaboration between two or more organizations, highlighting three projects from the local, countywide and statewide perspectives. Questions from attendees followed, addressing issues like copyright, project funding and technical considerations for digitizing collections.

During the morning’s sharing time, representatives from the region’s organizations spoke about upcoming events, recently awarded grants, ongoing digitization projects, anniversaries and fundraising efforts. One announcement highlighted a film project aimed at redefining the history of Ohio’s “legacy cities,” a term used in place of “rust belt” in referring to Midwestern industrial communities.

Following a lunch catered by the Middleburgh Heights Community Center, the Alliance business meeting updated members on important activities. Rebecca Larson-Troyer was elected to a second term to begin January 2015, and Andy Verhoff of OHS spoke about the importance of our continued support of the History Fund tax check-off program. Mark Sundlov, Local History Office Manager at OHS, introduced himself and spoke about several local history projects for 2014.

Middleburg settler Jared Hickcox portrayed by reenactor Michael Wengerd
Middleburg settler Jared Hickcox portrayed by reenactor Michael Wengerd

In the afternoon, Christie Lucco, Director of Exhibitions at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, spoke about collections policies and responsible collections building in “Love it or Leave it.” Following her talk, attendees participated in a hands-on activity in which they used collections policies and artifact descriptions to determine whether to love (keep) or lose (deaccession or refuse) items.

Burt Logan, Executive Director & CEO of the Ohio Historical Society, presented exciting information about OHS in his “New Connections for Ohio History” talk. (Details will be announced in May.) The afternoon concluded with a visit from Jared Hickcox, the founding father of Middleburg Township, enjoyably portrayed by local reenactor Michael Wengerd.

Gary Levitt is a Region 1 representative of the Ohio Local History Alliance and Curator & Director of the Museum of Postal History in Delphos, Ohio.

Rebecca Larson-Troyer is a Region 3 representative of the Ohio Local History Alliance and Special Collections Librarian at Akron-Summit County Public Library in Akron, Ohio.

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