Ohio History Fund Grant Recipients Announced on Statehood Day, March 1, 2021

Grant Program Funded through Voluntary Donations by Ohio Taxpayers

(COLUMBUS, OH)— The Ohio History Connection is pleased to announce that it has awarded 14 local history organizations Ohio History Fund grants. Now in its ninth 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 forms. It’s funded entirely through Ohio taxpayers’ voluntary contributions and is now administered by the State Historic Preservation Office of the Ohio History Connection.

“The Ohio History Fund allows us to preserve and share Ohio stories by supporting local history projects all over the state,” said Burt Logan, Executive Director & 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.”

This year, $130,900 in grants has been awarded. Since the program started in 2012, the Ohio History Fund has made a total of 94 grants to history organizations all across the state totaling nearly $870,000.

  • Center for Community Voices at WYSO Public Radio (Yellow Springs) received $12,240 for “WYSO Digital Audio Archives Strategic Plan.” Radio station WYSO has 5,000 audio recordings that document life in the Miami Valley and chronicle the area’s responses to local and national events and movements between 1958 and 1990. While some recordings have been catalogued and digitized, the station recognizes that it needs to develop a master plan to address the bulk of the collection. Grant funds will engage an archives consultant to guide the process. The project is time-sensitive, as the station risks losing part of the collection due to physical deterioration or looming inability to play back obsolete recording formats.


  • City of Hudson (Hudson) received $17,000 for “Historic Old Hudson Township Burying Ground Restoration and Preservation.” A part of the Hudson Historic District, the cemetery was established in 1808 and holds the remains of notable citizens, such as the Owen and Ruth Brown, parents of abolitionist John Brown, and David Hudson, for whom the town is named. Supported by this grant and building on an earlier condition assessment of the site, the project will result in the professional conservation approximately 150 headstones and markers. An experienced cemetery conservator will lead the work. After the project is completed, plans call for the nearby Western Reserve Academy to make more extensive use of the cemetery as a resource for teaching local history.


  • City of New Franklin (New Franklin) received $4,947 for “Tudor House Digital Floorplans and Section Blueprints.” Built in 1928 as a wedding gift, the Tudor House now is a city-owned and operated events center. To remain a responsible steward, the city must maintain the house, preserve its historic appearance and plan for its future. This work is impeded by incomplete blueprints and plans, many of which were lost during ownership changes. Only 30 pages of the original set of approximately 126 pages have survived. The grant will enable the city to recreate complete basic floor plans and sections on paper and in digital form.


  • City of Shelby (Shelby) received $2,967 for “Shelby City Council Minutes Digitization Project.” The city will digitize and transcribe approximately 5,800 pages of city council minutes, incorporation record and ordinances spanning 1863-1934. The 13 volumes containing these records are fragile and grant funds will pay a professional digitization company to complete the work. The goal of the project is to make the information in these primary sources accessible, as they record details about the beginnings of the community up to its early years as a small city. Little has been written about the city’s history, but this project will make an effort easier by providing digital access to these records.


  • Decorative Arts Center of Ohio (Lancaster) received $7,735 for “Rising Family Digitization Project.” Acquired by the center in 2020, the Rising / Reece / Peters family papers document everyday life among Lancaster’s leading families in the nineteenth century. Understanding their histories illuminates the decisions that shaped the city’s development. Not otherwise accessible except in person, digitizing the papers will make them widely and freely available for researchers and the general public through a partnership with the Columbus Metropolitan Library. Grant funds will pay the fee of a digitization specialist to complete the project.


  • Diverse Media Zone (Columbus) received $15,398 for “A Higher Law: The Oberlin-Wellington Rescue” Documentary. In 1858, John Price, an Oberlin resident and former slave, was captured by federal marshal, pursuant to the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850. A crowd of antislavery men from Oberlin and Wellington later freed Price and helped him escape to Canada. The trial of 37 of the rescuers in 1859 revealed how divided Ohio had become over slavery. Using grant funds to cover staff costs, hire production services, and pay some costs for supplies and equipment, the recipient will produce a half-hour documentary about this comparatively little-remembered event. The production will be screened in the Oberlin-Wellington area and elsewhere and will be broadcast on Ohio public TV stations.


  • Dunham Tavern Museum (Cleveland) received $10,200 for the project “Dunham Tavern Museum Roof Rehabilitation.” Balancing budget constraints against the need to maintain a stable roof, this project will replace a section that it is no longer cost-effective to repair. Designated a Cleveland Landmark and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the tavern, a stagecoach stop built in 1824, is the oldest building on its original site in Cleveland. The tavern’s location illustrates how much how the city has changed in nearly 200 years. A reviewer noted that “it’s clear the applicant put a lot of thought and dedicated time into designing this project. Consulting CRS [Cleveland Restoration Society] and having a CAP [Conservation Assessment Program] assessment shows their commitment to ensuring the work is completed following the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards [for Rehabilitation].


  • Gorman Heritage Farm Foundation (Evendale) received $10,583 for the “Gorman Heritage Farm Historic Sign Project.” The project will place approximately 60 interpretive signs around the farm. The signage will situate the farm in its larger historical context, help visitors to understand food production, and identify farm buildings and equipment, as well as give directions. The signs will broaden the farm’s interpretative reach, as not all visitors interact with farm staff especially in the time of COVID. Self-guided visitors can read the signs at their leisure and they will be used during school and other educational programs. Grant funds will cover the project’s staff time and pay the cost to create the signs.


  • Green Lawn Cemetery Association (Columbus) received $5,817 for the project “Separate But Equal? Policies and Practices of African American Burials at Green Lawn Cemetery.” The project will make possible research on burials of African Americans at Green Lawn and share those findings with the public, in partnership with the Columbus Metropolitan Library. Identifying and documenting the burials will reveal not only information about the individuals interred, but also document changes in societal attitudes, practices, and policies over time. Grant funds will pay for the time and travel of the principal researcher and a subscription to software that will be used to present project findings online.


  • Lorain Historical Society (Lorain) received $8,415 for the “Latino Lorain History Project.” The grant will enable the society to hire a staff member to administer an oral history project. Building on already strong relationships, its goal is to collect oral histories from older members of the city’s Latino community (either in person or via conference software, depending on the pandemic). In addition to indexed transcripts of interviews, a result of the project will be virtual museum of the community hosted on the society’s website.


  • Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage (Cleveland) received $3,400 for “Antiracism Training for Volunteer Docents.” The Maltz Museum “promotes an understanding of Jewish history, religion, and culture and builds bridges of tolerance and understanding with those of other religions, races, cultures, and ethnic backgrounds….” To further that mission, the museum wants to encourage its docents to examine the biases they bring to their work and in so doing begin to create an even better experience for visitors. Grant funds will bring an expert facilitator to the museum to conduct antiracism training. One reviewers wrote that “The applicant makes a compelling case for why this training is needed, especially at this time of increased awareness of the damage…implicit bias and systemic racism can do.”


  • Over-the-Rhine Museum (Cincinnati) received $16,286 for the project “Historic Structures Report.” A report describing in detail the history of the building where the museum will be and the diverse people who lived there over time is the next step in the organization’s development. The report is necessary now because it will guide decisions on the refurbishment of the building and, later, the creation of exhibits. A reviewer noted that “[t]his  project not only capitalizes on the applicant’s existing momentum, it is…even more important in the context of Cincinnati’s history, the current social justice movements, and the fast changing nature of the neighborhood as it undergoes rapid redevelopment.”


  • Trumbull County Historical Society (Warren) received $12,045 for “Saving Warren’s Urban Renewal Archive (SWURA).” This grant will pay in part the costs of hiring the staff necessary and the equipment and supplies required to preserve and make accessible records of Urban Renewal in Warren, Ohio. The approximately 750 documents this project will save is a record of lost streetscapes and neighborhoods. The project is urgent because continued existence of these rare materials is perilous. Once catalogued, the records will be available to the public in an online archive.


  • Waterville Historical Society (Waterville) received $3,867 for the “Wakeman Hall HVAC System.” A relatively small grant, plus match, will have a big impact on this volunteer-run organization. The new HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning) system this grant makes possible is replacing a twenty year-old system at the end of its useful life. The money the organization will save in repairs to a failing unit will instead be budgeted for other mission-fulfilling projects. More importantly, Wakeman Hall’s new unit will provide better climate control for the preservation of the historical materials kept inside and better provide for the comfort of volunteers and patrons.


Ohio History Fund
The Ohio History Fund creates grants to help support local history and preservation-related projects in communities throughout Ohio. It’s funded by Ohio taxpayers that select “Ohio History Fund” as a donation fund on their state tax returns. With just a $10 donation, you can help repair a roof on a historic home, expand a popular history tour at a local museum, preserve the stories of Ohio veterans or provide public access to rare museum collections.  For more information about the History Fund grant program, visit ohiohistory.org/historyfund or contact Ohio History Fund manager, Andy Verhoff at [email protected].

Ohio History Connection
The Ohio History Connection, formerly the Ohio Historical Society, is a statewide history organization with the mission to spark discovery of Ohio’s stories. As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization chartered in 1885, the Ohio History Connection carries out history services for Ohio and its citizens focused on preserving and sharing the state’s history. This includes housing the state historic preservation office, the official state archives, local history office and managing more than 50 historic sites and museums across Ohio.


Posted March 1, 2021

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