Since 1960, the Ohio Local History Alliance – in partnership with the Ohio History Connection – has led the state in recognizing excellent projects, programs, publications created by Ohio historical societies and museums, as well as recognizing individuals who have contributed greatly to the field of history.
At the 2020 Annual Meeting, OLHA presented 10 Outstanding Achievement Awards to a selection of organizations and individuals that have inspired, connected, and educated their audiences in Ohio.
Learn more about the winners and their projects from the descriptions below, and consider submitting your Outstanding Achievements for the awards in 2021!
Ohio Local History Alliance Champion Award
Rose Mowery – Rose Mowery has been a tireless champion of preserving the history of the Scioto County Children’s Home–Hillcrest–and educating the greater Scioto County community as to its historic importance, not only to thousands of children who lived there, but also to the community itself–the local government, the local populace–through media exposure, creation of a museum in her home, placement of an historical road marker and establishment of an annual county-wide remembrance of lost and forgotten children.
Individual Achievement Awards
John & Alice Schopfer, Mohican Historical Society – John and Alice Schopfer are life-long advocates of local history, and have spent the past 28 years faithfully serving the Mohican Historical Society through a number of roles and responsibilities. Through their tireless dedication the historic Workman Cabin in Loudonville has twice been restored and now serves as the premier, permanent living history display in the area. The Schopfers have served as the Cabin Managers since 1993, handling tasks ranging from maintenance and inspections, to providing tours to schools and other groups throughout the year, to dressing in period clothing to the joy of students. In addition to managing the cabin on behalf of the Mohican Historical Society, Alice served on the society’s Board of Directors for seven years and both serve as docents at the society’s Cleo Redd Fisher Museum. Alice’s skills as a seamstress have been put to good use, sewing and mending a number of textile displays, archival coverings, and much more, while John assists with period-correct costumes and equipment or displays and events. The continuous service and enthusiasm for history that the Schopfers bring to the society continues to inspire others in the community, and thanks to their tireless dedication the Mohican Historical Society, Workman Cabin and Cleo Redd Fisher Museum are able to better serve their community in more ways than previously imagined.
Judy McMullen, Noble County Historical Society – Noble County Historical Society nominated Judy McMullen because of her effective leadership over the past 25 years. Under Judy’s leadership, the Ball-Caldwell Homestead, which consists of 1832 Home that has been transformed into a 1920s residence museum, a smaller house with large meeting room, modern restrooms and 1940s hay drying barn that is the home to weddings, reunions, music events, and other group events. This property has become part of the Noble County Historical Society because of Judy’s leadership and foresight. Judy has grown from the girl helping her father work in the family business, to a trusted leader and with a passion for her community to make it a better place to live, work, and welcome visitors. She is also involved in the area communities to see that they too can be a better place by preserving our past. Without Judy McMullen, Noble County Historical Society, Caldwell, and Noble County would not be what it is today.
History Outreach – Budget Under $25,000
Media and Publications
Ashville Area Heritage Society– “Amazing Ashville” – Bob Hines volunteered his time to research, write, and illustrate the book Amazing Ashville, an entertaining book of short stories and vignettes about people from the rural Teays Valley School District area. The book also connects local people from the past to a dizzying array of world and national events, movements, and personalities. All profits from the local sales of the book are dedicated to the Ashville Area Heritage Society. Charlie Morrison, a co-founder the Ashville Area Heritage Society, worked with Bob Hine over the course of 40 years to uncover many of the stories that are depicted in the book.
Alliance Historical Society– “Marking Time in Alliance” – Marking Time in Alliance was conceived as a way to educate and inform people about the history of Alliance, Ohio, while entertaining them. As part of the Alliance Historical Society’s strategic plan, the video series extends the reach of the Society beyond those people who attend their programs or visit the Mabel Hartzell Historical Home. With the onset of the Coronavirus pandemic and stay-at-home rules, a series of short videos about the many historical markers, commemorative plaques, and curious areas of Alliance seemed to be the right project at the right time. Marking Time in Alliance has become a local success story and proves that it does not take a lot of money to produce a quality video highlighting your local organization.
History Outreach – Budget Over $25,000
Media and Publications
Tommaso Solomon and The Cuyahoga County Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument – “Cuyahoga County Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument 125th Anniversary Social Media Campaign” – The Cuyahoga County Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument was created for the purpose of perpetuating and preserving the memory of those from the county who served in the American Civil War, and the Monument Commission saw their 125th anniversary as the ideal time to embark into the brave new world of social media. They hired a paid, part-time intern with experience in various areas of media, particularly social media, to develop, produce, and execute the campaign. From the onset, it was determined that the goals of social media efforts would be dedicated to increasing physical visitation, sharing stories to a broader audience, and creating a permanent account of the125th anniversary events as part of their historic record. Ultimately, the social media campaign for the Monument’s 125th anniversary reached a wide and multi-generational segment of the public and demonstrates that the goals of the campaign were achieved, as it reached the intended audience, stimulated a greater interest in history, and preserved their story for generations to come.
Summit County Historical Society– “Artifacts with Edie” – Edie Steiner, a music therapist at Akron Public Schools (APS) and a Society volunteer, reached out to Leianne Neff Heppner, Society president & CEO, when COVID-19 required schools to transfer to remote learning. Through her years volunteering as the Society’s shepherdess with four border collies and as a connector between APS and the Society, Edie recognized that the Society could possibly be a resource to assist APS students as they transitioned during this challenging time. She asked if Leianne and the Society would join her in making this opportunity a reality by assisting with historical content and artifact selection. For her part, Edie would figure out how to produce a broadcast to students where she would act as host using her skills as a teacher and music therapist. The result became “Artifacts with Edie.”
Butler County Historical Society– “Driving Tours of Butler County” – In an attempt to give families safe and educational programs to enjoy during the Covid-19 quarantine, the Butler County Historical Society developed driving tours based on the 45 Ohio Historical Markers and numerous other historical markers throughout Butler County. Five different tours were developed based off of geographical location and covered the entire county. The tours included driving directions between the various markers, along with the text of each marker and photographs of the subject of the marker, and the marker itself. Other sites of interest along the route were also included, and the bald eagle nest on the one tour made them, and their chicks, celebrities! The tours will be updated as new markers are added in Butler County. They are available on both the BCHS website and their Facebook page.
McKinley Presidential Library & Museum– “Project EAT!” – Project EAT! was a community-wide partnership in Canton that celebrated all things food through a series of exhibitions, programs, and publications. The museum’s partners in “Project EAT!” included the Canton Museum of Art, Massillon Museum, National First Ladies Library, The Palace, StarkFresh, Carpe Diem, Walsh University, Kent State Stark campus and Canton Food Tours.
Shelby County Historical Society– “Shelby County Ohio Bicentennial 1819-2019” – During 2019, Shelby County celebrated its 200th year anniversary, and the Shelby County Historical Society played a major role in the planning of several celebratory events. Kicking off in April, the Society hosted five different lecture series at different locations within the county. An art show featured over 300 projects by local elementary students with themes such as the Wilson/Lenox house, Lockington locks, Miami-Erie Canal, and Col. John Hardin. Antique and vintage quilts were shown at the Hardin United Methodist Church, and music was provided by local musicians. The first week in May, every third grade student across Shelby County participated in an educational program at the Wilson/Lenox House, built in 1816. During this three-day event, students learned about pioneer farming, cooking, forms of transportation, communication, early law enforcement, how to shear a sheep and card wool, and toured the over 200 year old home. In mid June, a free application was released for smartphones called Discover Shelby County History.