2024 Ohio History Fund Grant Recipients Announced
Posted March 1, 2024

COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Ohio History Connection is pleased to announce 14 Ohio History Fund grants have been awarded to community history organizations.

Now in its 12th year, the Ohio History Fund is a competitive matching grants program that is one of six “tax check-off” funds found on Ohio's income-tax return forms. It is funded through Ohio taxpayers’ voluntary contributions.

“The Ohio History Fund allows us to preserve and share Ohio stories by supporting history projects all over the state,” said Megan Wood, Executive Director and CEO of the Ohio History Connection. “Local history helps us understand where we came from and gives us a sense of identity and place, inspiring pride in our communities.”

The Ohio History Connection awarded $187,600 in grants this year, its second-highest amount. Since the program started in 2012, the Ohio History Fund has made a total of 136 grants to history and cultural organizations across the state, totaling more than $1.4 million.

Ohio History Connection representatives will visit grant recipients in March and April for check presentations. A schedule is included after the list of grant recipients; please contact Neil Thompson, Manager of Media and Public Relations, at 614-917-9348 or [email protected] for specific times and to RSVP for coverage.

2024 Ohio History Fund Grant Recipients


Alliance Area Preservation Society, Alliance

$12,700 for “Restoration of Floor and Joists of Original 1827 Section of the Haines House.” The house, a station on the Underground Railroad, was built in stages from 1827–1842. Although visitors might not notice these well-planned repairs when finished, they are vital toward maintaining the oldest part of the house and keeping it safe and accessible to visitors. The work was recommended in a historic preservation needs assessment in 2021 and will be overseen by preservation professionals. The house is on the National Register of Historic Places, and the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties will guide the restoration.


American Sign Museum, Cincinnati

$7,804 for “Restoration and LED Upgrade to Key Ohio Signs.” The museum is national in scope and is the largest public museum devoted to signs in the country. Nine signs that either advertised Ohio business or were made by Ohio companies are the subject of this excellent proposal. Signs for Basinger’s Jewelers of Lima and the Plaza Motel of Dayton will have their neon components restored and relit. The others will be made more energy-efficient: incandescent bulbs and fluorescent lights will be replaced with equally bright LEDs. The History Fund is helping the museum become more sustainable and preserve a shining part of Ohio’s and the nation’s Mid-Century road-scape.


Anderson Township Historical Society, Cincinnati

$19,000 for “Miller-Leuser Log House Chimney Restoration.” The log house dates from 1796, and the chimney, original to the house, is its most distinguishing feature. Previous attempts to restore the chimney, undertaken decades ago, require attention. To save this structure, the historical society is turning to professional historic preservationists, who will use period appropriate materials to preserve the chimney and make it useable again. The Miller-Leuser Log House is on the National Register of Historic Places and the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties will guide the work.


Chagrin Falls Historical Society

$12,631 for “Digitizing The Exponent (1904-1964): Preserving the History of the Chagrin Valley and Vicinity.” Like the society’s previously successful efforts to digitize earlier runs of The Exponent, this project will increase its accessibility via Ohio Memory to a regional and worldwide audience. Although the newspaper exists in other collections in Ohio and the Library of Congress, no complete run of the paper help anywhere else save for Chagrin Falls, nor has it been digitized. The paper’s copyright has been conveyed to the society, enabling the project. The review committee was especially impressed that application specifies in detail how the project will follow accepted professional standards, those of the National Digital Newspaper Program.


Dairy Barn Arts Center, Athens

$19,000 for “The Dairy Barn's Historic Cupola Restoration Project.” Once an actual dairy barn for the Athens State Hospital (1914-c.1967), it has been an arts center since 1978. It is an excellent example of what historic preservationists call “adaptive reuse.” The three cupolas, noted in its National Register of Historic Places listing, are an iconic feature atop the barn. Their deterioration and subsequent leaks in the roof damage the facility and restricts access to its upper floors. Addressing the problem before is worsens, this well-planned initiative will start with an assessment of the exact extent of the damage and then proceed to repair it, guided by the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation and historic preservation professionals.


Darke County Park District, Greenville

$17,046 for “4th Grade Pioneer Days.” Called a “well-oiled machine’ by one reviewer, the program offers hands-on activities to teach Darke County fourth-graders about the area’s early 19th century history. This is done in the setting of Bear’s Mill, a working, 174-year-old water-powered grist mill on the National Register of Historic Places. The “hands-on” approach makes history much more interesting to children and brings to life learner outcomes in the state’s fourth-grade curriculum for Ohio history. The panel was also impressed that a Shawnee tribal citizen, a historical interpreter, is scheduled to present the Native American station, ensuring a more well-rounded presentation of area history.


Delaware County Historical Society, Delaware

$18,611 for “Meeker Homestead Museum Stairs Stabilization and Preservation.” The grant will enable the society to repair the stairs in the National-Register listed Meeker Homestead (1823). The project will make it safer for more visitors at one time to see exhibits on the homestead’s second floor. The application identifies the structural deficiencies this project will correct and outlines detailed steps [pun intended] to complete the repairs. They will be guided by a board member who is a professional architect with preservation experience. The society will complete this well-planned project according to the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation.


 Kenmore Historical Society, Akron

$6,677 for “Kenmore Historical Society Rotating Exhibits at Better Kenmore CDC Headquarters.” The historical society, which has no “home of its own,” is collaborating with the Better Kenmore Community Development Corporation. The historical society will supply artifacts now stored in members’ homes, and the community development corporation will provide exhibit space. Together, they will play host to a series of changing exhibits about the neighborhood’s history. The History Fund grant will support the construction and installation of exhibit cases and the creation of placards to be mounted in storefronts in the district. The review panel is convinced the well-considered cooperation between the two groups in Akron’s largest National Register-listed historic district will set an example for other organizations.


Mahoning Valley Historical Society, Youngstown

$19,000 for “Mahoning Valley Historical Society Collections Consolidation.” The grant will pay in part the cost to move more than 6,800 artifacts stored in the society’s house museum to a new, climate-controlled, and secure facility. This new location is better suited to preserve the collection and make it more accessible. Although experienced and trusted movers will transport the collection, they will do so under the watchful eye of the society’s curators, who will have carefully packed the artifacts for transfer. This well-planned project is part of a larger initiative to unite the society’s extensive artifact collections and care for them in one centralized facility that allows room for growth.


Medina County District Library, Medina

$18,723 for “Medina County District Library Aerial Photos Digitization Project.” This project will digitize 2,000 negatives of aerial photographs taken of Medina County from 1952-1965, when it was much more rural than it is today. As the first big initiative of a planned Medina County Memory website, library staff will collaborate with community partners to identify the content of each negative more comprehensively. Reviewers noted this will be a boon to researchers, but it will also remind the project’s staff and partners of how much their county has changed in the last three quarters of a century. The panel also was impressed by standards for digitization library staff will follow to complete the project.


City of Niles

$18,981 for “Ward-Thomas Home ADA Improvements & Estate Upgrades.” The house (1862), on the National Register of Historic Places, is the headquarters of the Niles Historical Society and is owned by the city. Inspired by a recent needs assessment, the city and historical society will take steps to remediate barriers to accessibility so that house may be marveled at by all. The entities will also maintain the site’s historic appearance, as required by the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation and Preservation Brief 32, Making Historic Properties Accessible.


Noble County Historical Society, Caldwell

$3,919 for “Historical Jail Museum Furnace and Air Conditioning System.” This impactful and well-planned, but relatively inexpensive, project will replace a furnace and air-conditioning system at the end of its useful life. The new unit will help stabilize temperature and humidity levels in the building, providing a better environment for artifacts displayed inside and for the staff and volunteers working there. The society’s Historic Jail Museum (1882), once the actual county jail, is on the National Register of Historic Places. The project will adhere to the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation and not disturb the historic fabric and appearance of the building.

Oberlin Heritage Center

$9,956 for “Sustainable Climate Control for the Monroe House.” Summarized by one reviewer: the current system is at the end of its useful life and breaks down often. Lack of reliable climate control causes an unstable collections storage environment and makes the second floor of the house an uncomfortable place to work for staff and volunteers. A new and more environmentally sustainable unit will ameliorate this. The installation unit will conform with the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation and will not impact the historic fabric of the building or its appearance. The Monroe House (1866) is inscribed as a local landmark according to the City of Oberlin’s historic preservation ordinance, and the city is a Certified Local Government.


Pro Football Hall of Fame, Canton

$3,552 for “Conservation of Joe Namath's Historic Knee Brace.” The plan for this project is sound, detailed and complete. For a modest sum, it will conserve an important piece of both sports and medical history: the first functional orthopedic knee brace, developed in 1969 for Hall of Fame quarterback, Joe Namath. Namath played professional football from 1965–1977 and is best known for leading the New York Jets to victory in Super Bowl III in 1969. In addition to its association with Namath, the object, patented by Dr. Jack Castiglia of Lenox Hill Hospital in New York, is a prototype for knee braces prescribed in orthopedic therapies today.


Check Presentation Schedule/Coverage Opportunities

  • Monday, March 4: Noble County Historical Society (Caldwell), Dairy Barn Arts Center (Athens)
  • Friday, March 15: Anderson Township Historical Society and American Sign Museum (Cincinnati)
  • Monday, March 18: Pro Football Hall of Fame (Canton), Chagrin Falls Historical Society
  • Thursday, March 21: Darke County Park District (Greenville)
  • Friday, March 22: Kenmore Historical Society (Akron), Alliance Area Preservation Society
  • Tuesday, March 26: Oberlin Heritage Center, Medina County District Library (Medina)
  • Wednesday, March 27: Delaware County Historical Society (Delaware)
  • Friday, April 12: City of Niles, Mahoning Valley Historical Society (Youngstown)



About the Ohio History Fund

The Ohio History Fund makes grants to help support local history and historic preservation-related projects in communities throughout Ohio. It’s funded by Ohio taxpayers who select “Ohio History Fund” as a donation fund on their state tax returns. For just the average donation of $12, residents can help Ohio’s local nonprofits preserve historic buildings, make museum collections more accessible and expand the reach of popular community history tours. For more information about the History Fund grant program, go to ohiohistory.org/historyfund or contact the Ohio History Connection’s State Historic Preservation Office at [email protected].


About the Ohio History Connection

The Ohio History Connection is a statewide history organization with the mission to spark discovery of Ohio’s stories. As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit chartered in 1885, the Ohio History Connection carries out history services for Ohio and its citizens to preserve and share the state’s history. This includes housing the State Historic Preservation Office and the official state archives and managing more than 50 sites and museums across Ohio. For more information, go to ohiohistory.org. The Greater Columbus Arts Council and the Columbus Foundation provide support for Ohio History Connection programs.

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