OHIO HISTORICAL SOCIETY JOINS WITH TWO REGIONAL ORGANIZATIONS TO MANAGE PREMIER OHIO NATIVE AMERICAN ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITES
Three of Ohio’s foremost earthworks, including two that are soon to be nominated as World Heritage Sites, will be open to the public more hours thanks to new operating arrangements with two regional organizations. The Ohio Historical Society will enter into management agreements with Arc of Appalachia Preserve System for Serpent Mound in Adams County and Fort Hill in Highland County and with the Dayton Society of Natural History for Fort Ancient in Warren County.
In the Ohio Historical Society network of 58 historic sites and museums – one of the largest of any state historical organization in the nation – 37 sites will now be operated through management agreements between the Society and a local organization or government entity. The Society intends to operate a total of 47 sites under management agreements.
“Management agreements have become increasingly important because of the combination of long-term underinvestment by the state in the Ohio Historical Society and the recent pressure of state budget cuts,” Society Executive Director William K. Laidlaw, Jr. said. “We are looking at this model to operate the majority of our historic sites and museums to increase access to historic sites and museums. It should provide for increased community support and enable the site to continue to be a source of community pride.”
Under such agreements, the Ohio Historical Society typically provides an annual financial subsidy to a local organization to help underwrite the costs of day-to-day site operations, which primarily includes providing visitor services, educational and interpretive programs and basic maintenance. The management group keeps income from admissions, program fees and rentals. The Society will continue to provide major maintenance and professional resources as well as administer capital improvement projects. Managed sites remain a vital part of the OHS network of historic sites and museums.
After receiving comments from stakeholders and community members at public meetings July 8 for Serpent Mound and Fort Hill and July 14 for Fort Ancient and taking into consideration the best interests of all three historic sites, the OHS Board of Trustees has approved management agreements with the Arc of Appalachia Preserve System and the Dayton Society of Natural History.
“We selected the Arc of Appalachia Preserve System and Dayton Society of Natural History because of their experience in managing archaeological properties and museums and their strong commitment to preservation,” Laidlaw said. “By teaming up with both these organizations, these great Native American earthworks can be open more hours and provide more educational programs and special events.”
Serpent Mound and Fort Hill
The Arc of Appalachia Preserve System will assume operational management of both sites beginning August 1. An educational 501(c)3 nonprofit organization located near Bainbridge, Ohio, the Arc of Appalachia Preserve System works to preserve the native biodiversity of the eastern temperate forest, of which Fort Hill is a prime example. In 2007, it assured the preservation of Spruce Hill, an important Hopewell hilltop enclosure in Ross County, by working with several partners to purchase it.
Serpent Mound State Memorial is an internationally known prehistoric site that is more than a 1,000 years old. Atop a bluff overlooking the Ohio Brush Creek valley, Serpent Mound is the largest and finest serpent effigy in the United States. Nearly a quarter of a mile long, Serpent Mound apparently represents an uncoiling serpent. It is attributed to what is called the Fort Ancient culture. A public park for more than a century, Serpent Mound attracts visitors from all over the world. The museum contains exhibits on the effigy mound and the geology of the surrounding area. The site will be nominated by the United States to the prestigious World Heritage list, which is maintained by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
Under the new management, Serpent Mound’s museum will be open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. beginning August 1 through Labor Day. During September and October, it will be open weekends from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Parking fees will remain $7 per personal vehicle. Ohio Historical Society Members will be admitted for free. Educational programming and events, such as guided walks, will be scheduled. The state memorial is located on State Route 73, six miles north of State Route 32 and 20 miles south of Bainbridge in Adams County. For more information, call 800.752.2757 or visit https://www.ohiohistory.org/.
Fort Hill State Memorial is a nature preserve containing one of the best preserved Indian hilltop enclosures in North America. Native Americans, now known as the Hopewell culture (100 B.C.-A.D. 500) constructed the 1 1/2 mile long earthwork hilltop enclosure as well as at least two ceremonial buildings and probably a village in the Ohio Brush Creek valley below. Lying at the western edge of the Allegheny Plateau, immediately south of the glacial boundary, this hilly area contains an impressive diversity of bedrock, soils, flora, and fauna. There are 11 miles of hiking trails at the 1,200 acre preserve as well as a picnic area and a small museum about the earthworks and the area’s natural history.
Under the new management, Fort Hill will continue to be open year-round weather permitting with closures during deer season and severe winter weather conditions. Entrance to the park will continue to be free. The museum will reopen in June of 2010 during summer weekends. The Arc of Appalachia is looking for volunteers to open the museum weekends beginning August 1 through October. People interested in volunteering may contact the Arc of Appalachia at [email protected]. Events, such as guided walks, are in the process of being planned.
Fort Hill is located off of State Route 41 on Township Road 256, five miles north of Sinking Springs and three miles south of Cynthiana in Highland County. For more information, call 800.283.8905 or visit https://www.ohiohistory.org/.
The Dayton Society of Natural History will take over daily operations of Fort Ancient beginning August 1. Its mission is to educate and enlighten all people of the region about the wonders of the world through the work of the Boonshoft Museum of Discovery and the SunWatch Indian Village/Archaeological Park. Located in Dayton, it is a regional institution serving nine counties, including Warren County where Fort Ancient is located.
Fort Ancient State Memorial preserves historic earthworks that are 2,000 years old. Located on a bluff above the Little Miami River, they consist of 3.5 miles of earth walls that range from 4 to 23 feet in height and enclose about 100 acres. Prehistoric people now known as the Hopewell culture (100 B.C.-A.D. 500) built and used Fort Ancient as a place of ceremonial and social gatherings. A thousand years later the area was occupied by members of the Fort Ancient culture. The site will be nominated by the United States to the prestigious World Heritage list, which is maintained by UNESCO.
Fort Ancient will be open April through November, six days a week, closed on Monday. Hours will be Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, noon to 5 p.m. The site will be open weekends from December through March. Hours will be Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, noon to 5 p.m. Visitors may also make arrangements to visit by special appointment. School groups will be accommodated during the closed season. Admission to the park and museum will be $6 for adults (ages 18 to 59), $5 seniors (age 60+) and $4 for children (ages 6-12). Children 5 and under will be free. Admission to the park only is $8 per vehicle. Ohio Historical Society and Dayton Society of Natural History members will be admitted for free.
The state memorial is located in Warren County, approximately 20 minutes north of King’s Island, off Interstate 71. For more information, call 800.283.8904 or visit https://www.ohiohistory.org/.
Article courtesy of Ohio History-news https://www.ohiohistory.org/join/special-offers-and-promotions