2017 Outstanding Achievement Award Winners

This year the Alliance board presented twenty Outstanding Achievement Awards at the Annual Meeting in Dublin. These awards recognize exceptional projects and people that have made an impact inspiring, connecting, and educating audiences throughout Ohio.

Public Programming

Civil War Sesquicentennial Lecture Series Kelton House Museum
Over the course of the sesquicentennial of the Civil War, the Kelton House Museum presented 32 programs commemorating the significant role of the Civil War in American history. The lecture series provided quality activities, many of which were original productions, to educate Ohioans about our state’s role in the Civil War.

Civil War Living History Weekend Shelby County Historical Society and the City of Sidney
Over the September 17-18, 2016, weekend nearly 5,000 people visited Tawawa Park to witness the many events surrounding Sidney, Ohio’s first Civil War Living History Weekend. The production included nearly 70 infantrymen in Confederate and Union camps and 45 civilians. Five working cannon helped create the ambience for each battle.

Election Reflections Sandusky Library
The Election Reflections program series was born out of the desire to capitalize on the energy that surrounds a Presidential election year, and to combine it with Ohio’s strong Presidential History and Sandusky’s connection to a number of Presidential candidates. This 22-program series included musical performances, first person interpreters, lectures, book discussions, movie discussions, a children’s program, and even a cookbook club! 

Commemorating the World War I Centennial in Akron and Summit County Summit County Historical Society of Akron, OH
To recognize the sacrifices of local men and women during World War I, The Summit County Historical Society of Akron, OH started its centennial commemoration efforts in the fall of 2016 by pinning sites related to WWI monuments and veteran memorials on Google Maps. Projects and programming revolved around recognition of forgotten men and women. 

Lest We Forget: Remembering Washington County in WWI Castle Historic House Museum
The Castle Historic House Museum, along with several Marietta and Washington County organizations, held one of Ohio’s first commemoration events to mark the centennial of America’s involvement in the First World War. Lest We Forget took a specific look at how the war affected the community of Marietta and surrounding Washington County by featuring the music of World War I.

Exploring Our Underground Railroad Heritage2016 Muskingum County History and OnTheSamePage Muskingum
Exploring Our Underground Railroad Heritage included 17 programs, activities, and events that helped stimulate an awareness, understanding, and appreciation of the importance of Abolitionist and Underground Railroad activity in Zanesville and Muskingum County. This program series also worked to promote literacy, celebrate local history and heritage, encourage civic pride, and bridge the generational gap in the community.

Adventures at the Museum Clark County Historical Society
Adventures at the Museum is a summer children’s program hosted by the Clark County Historical Society at Heritage Museum on Saturday mornings. Recently concluding its third summer, the program promotes exploration of culture and heritage by providing a series of crafts, stories, activities, games, and mini museum tours. Attendees gain a more concrete grasp of time, learn to compare past and present, and are challenged to think about the future.

William Clarke Quantrill Symposium Dover Public Library and Dover Historical Society
The William Clarke Quantrill Symposium was a two-day community program that examined the life of Dover, Ohio, born William Clarke Quantrill and the impact he and his family had on Dover and Tuscarawas Valley before, during, and after the Civil War. Included were multiple presentations on Quantrill’s life and the opportunity to view Quantrill family items from the Museum collection.

Oberlin and WWII Public Program Series Oberlin Heritage Center
Oberlin Heritage Center’s Public Program Series hosted a local historian who presented two original programs on World War II and its impact on the community. These programs focused on life in the community during World War II and the individuals who actively served in the military during the war. The main goal of this series was to educate the community about national historic events through the lens of a local perspective.

Kids’ History Day – WWI: Battlefront & Homefront Wadsworth Area Historical Society
The Wadsworth Area Historical Society created Kids’ History Day as a community outreach in conjunction with the Society’s WWI centennial commemoration. The Blue Tip Festival Committee provided sponsorship, making the event completely free for children. WWI re-enactors, a hands-on look at uniforms and equipment, and a taste of rations were followed by marching drills and an introduction to WWI era weaponry. Also included was an interactive discussion about the lives of children during the war. Rounding out the day was a celebration of National Doughnut Day. 

10th Annual Heritage Banquet Pickaway County African American Heritage Association
Deborah Lowe Wright is the visionary and founder of the Pickaway County African American Heritage Association. Her motivation was to discover and disseminate the rich, though nearly invisible, history of African Americans in the county. The foundation of the Association is Ms. Wright’s twenty years of genealogical research and her resulting book, They Left Their Mark. The Annual Heritage Banquet was initiated to pursue projects promoting the history of Circleville’s African American community.

Media and Publications

Media Outreach Southwest Franklin County Historical Society
In an effort to attract new members and expand their presence in the community, the Southwest Franklin County Historical Society introduced multiple new outreach endeavors. Included are a new website, a revived and active Facebook presence, a Blog, and quarterly newsletters. As a hub of community enrichment and education, the Society’s enhanced outreach efforts illustrate its vital role in preserving local history.

Exhibits and Displays

Three Thousand Miles From Home: Southeast Ohioans in the First World War Southeast Ohio History Center
The Southeast Ohio History Center held its Grand Opening on April 15, 2017, exactly one hundred years after the building first opened as the First Christian Church. Three Thousand Miles from Home tells the story of how Southeast Ohioans supported the war and how the conflict affected their lives. The exhibit connects the history of the First Christian Church building, now the Southeast Ohio History Center, to the history of those from the area who served their country during the First World War.

Zoar Traveling Exhibit Zoar Community Association
In honor of its Bicentennial celebration in 2017, the Zoar Community Association commissioned an exhibit that will be displayed in Ohio and other states, promoting the historic site as a successful example of living history. The text and visual content was written and selected by the Zoar Community Association, and manufactured by several local Tuscarawas County businesses. The traveling exhibit has created or enhanced partnerships with a number of living history sites in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New York. The exhibit will travel to New Harmony, Indiana in 2018.

Holmes County: An Agricultural History Holmes County Historical Society
Because agriculture plays such a significant role in the county’s past, present and future, the Holmes County Historical Society created a new exhibit to reach out to farm families. Partnering with the Holmes County Agriculture Society and the Fair Board, the Society created a new exhibit mounted on a granary wall inside the timber-framed reclaimed c. 1883 barn on the Harvest Ridge Fairgrounds. Included is an expansive array of artifacts, animals, and artwork honoring the work and culture of the farming community. 

Over There: Send Word, The Wood County Boys Are Coming, World War 1, 1914-1918 Wood County Historical Center and Museum
On February 1, 2017, the Wood County Historical Society invited audiences to “take a journey back in time” with their exhibit Over There! Send Word: The Wood County Boys are Coming! World War I, 1914-1918. The interactive exhibit components and large scale graphics plunge the visitor into the momentum of war and showcases Wood County Ohio’s rich history in relationship to the larger global history. The exhibit and extensive programming related to it continue through next year and offer numerous opportunities for immersive history.

Native American Cultures of the Miami Valley Butler County Historical Society
The Butler County Historical Society, in conjunction with the Ohio Humanities Chautauqua Celebration in Hamilton, opened Native American Cultures of the Miami Valley in June, simultaneously launching an accompanying speakers’ bureau and school programs based upon the exhibit. Historical information covers all cultures that were present in the Miami River Valley. Earthworks and mounds located in Butler County are illustrated and narratives on Native American conflicts are included. The Society hopes to keep a portion of the exhibit on permanent display.

Creation of the Alliance History Mini Museum Alliance Historical Society
The Alliance Historical Society was formed in 1939 but had no home until 1954 when Mabel Hartzell died and bequeathed her home and its contents to the Society. Through the years the collection grew and space became limited. In 1988, an adjacent lot with a garage was purchased. Donations accrued, including a one-of-a-kind 1910 Alliance car. Renovation of the garage was proposed and funding secured. The repurposed garage debuted as a mini-museum August 2016. The additional space has allowed for new exhibits and new possibilities.

Individual Achievement Awards

Individual Achievement Awards recognize people who have made outstanding contributions to Ohio’s historical societies or history museums or to the understanding and appreciation of state or local history.

Theresa Rayner, Noble County Historical Society
For many years Theresa Rayner has been involved in preserving and protecting the history of the USS Shenandoah airship, which crashed in Noble County, Ohio, on September 3, 1925. Along with her late husband, Bryan, Theresa has dedicated many years to keeping alive the history of the ill-fated airship, establishing a traveling exhibit of historical artifacts of the airship, and presenting educational programs that help the community understand and remember the importance of the USS Shenandoah, its crew, and the lighter-than-air program of the United States Navy.

After Bryan’s death, Theresa, now with the help of her two daughters, has carried on the preservation and commemoration of the incident. Theresa has volunteered her life to teaching people about this Airship flight that made history in Noble County. 

Randall L. Buchman
Randall Buchman has spent his career in helping others gain an appreciation for the heritage of Ohio, Northwest Ohio, and Defiance, Ohio, through teaching, writing, speaking engagements, and museum work. He was a professor at Defiance College for 40 years; and also taught at Bacone College in Oklahoma, a college with strong historic ties to a number of American Indian tribal nations. His early work in broadening the understanding of Native American History is well known.

Today he can be found in the City Historian’s office of the Andrew L. Tuttle Museum where he oversees the day-to-day and special event business at the museum.

Dr. Buchman’s drive, passion, and enthusiasm have not diminished. He is constantly working to make Defiance a great place to live; providing ways to preserve the past and inspire the future.

Return to Outstanding Achievement Awards