History Fund Grant Recipients
Congratulations to all Ohio History Fund grant recipients!
Since the first grants were awarded in 2013, the Ohio History Fund has made 110 awards in half of Ohio's 88 counties totaling over $1 million dollars. Recipients include a wide range of non-profit organizations and local government entities, including special COVID-19 emergency grants. Wildly successful, the Ohio History Fund has received over 474 applications for a total of more than $5.7 million in requests - proving there is a great need for this grant program!
2023 Grant Recipients
Cleveland Museum of Natural History, Cleveland
$17,000 for “Preserving an Irreplaceable Pre-European Contact Ohio Native American Archaeological Collection.” The review panel recommended the project because the request was clear – a grant would help purchase museum-quality storage cabinets, shelving and map cases for significant archaeological collections. These collections reveal to us how pre-contact peoples lived in what became Ohio.
East Mount Zion Baptist Church, Cleveland
$19,000 for “East Mount Zion Baptist Church Masonry Stabilization.” The grant will enable the church to stabilize and repair the structure’s striking green-colored serpentine stone. Finished in 1908 as the Euclid Avenue Christian Church, the East Mount Zion Baptist’s African American congregation broke racial barriers when it moved there in 1955. The Romanesque Revival-style church was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 2022 for its architectural significance and contributions to African American civil rights.
Great Lakes Historical Society, Toledo
$18,000 for “Collections Improvement” project. Although the society and its National Museum of the Great Lakes relocated from Vermilion to Toledo in 2014, it lacked the means to move its entire collection of 2,000 artifacts or to conclusively determine the scope of its collection. This grant and the resulting project will remedy that and enable the society to finally establish firm “intellectual control” over its holdings and be better stewards of the regional history entrusted to it.
Green Lawn Abbey Preservation Association, Columbus
$9,000 for “Green Lawn Abbey Window Project.” With this project, the Abbey will remove rusted, non-original security grills covering five original, intact stained-glass windows and replace them with new, custom-made storm windows. This will protect them from weather and vandalism, and will transform the Abbey from looking “spooky” to majestic. The five-window project is part of a larger effort to repair, restore and protect the Abbey’s 60 stained-glass windows. Built in 1927, the Neoclassical-style mausoleum was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2007.
Lorain Historical Society, Lorain
$5,000 for “High-Density Shelving for Textile Collections.” The society’s textile collection is stored in the Moore House Museum, a 1906 building owned by the city of Lorain. The overburdened and stationary shelves holding the collections are situated in a way that is undermining the floor joints that support them. The society needs new, movable shelving that is better supported by the structure and therefore better preserves the house. The grant in part will allow the society to purchase new, moveable, structure-friendly shelving and pay the salary of an intern, trained and supervised by the society’s curator, to assemble it and rehouse the textile collection.
Murphy Theatre, Wilmington
$15,705 for “Restoration and Beautification of the Murphy Theatre.” Water leaks had caused damage to decorative plaster molding in this 1918 theater’s inner lobby and auditorium. The grant will help restore the building’s historic grandeur by repairing and replicating original moldings and also by replacing a modern door in a concession area with one that matches an extant historic example. The Murphy Theatre was listed in the National Register of Historic Places as a part of the Wilmington Commercial Historic District in 1982.
Over-the-Rhine Museum, Cincinnati
$14,850 for “Window Restoration” project. The museum’s new “old” home will be in a circa 1870 building at 3 West McMicken Ave. A Historic Site Report from 2022 indicated the windows are a priority for restoration to make the building weathertight as its transformation into a museum begins. 3 West McMicken is listed in the National Register of Historic Places as part of the Over-the-Rhine Historic District in 1979, with a boundary increase in 2014.
Sauder Village, Archbold
$15,650 for “Textile Storage Upgrade” project. Sauder Village has a new climate-controlled and secure storage space for its collection of approximately 7,000 textiles. The project will enable the institution to purchase archives-safe storage boxes, shelves, and other storage furnishings, as well as cover the costs of moving the collection and re-inventorying some pieces. The overall effect of the project will be to keep the collections safer and make objects more convenient and accessible for exhibits and programs.
Southern Lorain County Historical Society, Wellington
$17,419 for “Willard Initiative – Phase 2.” The society is continuing a project it started in 2019 to conserve, preserve and exhibit large (11 by 13 feet) Masonic-themed murals painted by Wellington resident Archibald Willard in the 1870s. He is best known for the iconic painting Spirit of ’76 (1876). The grant will enable the society to hire professional conservators to restore a second mural, which, when completed, will be displayed at the Spirit of ’76 Museum in Wellington with the mural restored three years earlier.
Waterville Historical Society, Waterville
$18,000 for “Sargent House Museum Foundation and Sill Beam Project.” Edward Sargent built his house in Waterville from 1839-1847. Thanks to the society, the house, one of the community’s early residences, was saved from destruction and is now a museum. As called for in a report by a structural engineering firm, the project will repair the house’s original dry-laid stone foundation and sill beams.
Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus
$18,000 for “Wexner Center Oral History.” The project will enable the Wexner Center (the “Wex”) to collect oral histories from curators, artists, staff, and others from its first decades. The goal is to collect and archive up to 25 interviews and produce videos to share them. The History Fund’s review panel see this project as a model for other cultural organizations on the local, state and national levels.
Wilson Bruce Evans Home Historical Society, Oberlin
$18,000 for “Accessible Restroom for Wilson Bruce Evans House.” Cabinetmaker Wilson Bruce Evans was a Black abolitionist and Underground Railroad operative from Oberlin, Ohio. His house, finished in 1856, has been a National Historic Landmark since 1997 and is now being transformed into museum. A vital step in opening the museum is adding an accessible restroom for visitors, which this History Fund grant enables. The society will install the restroom in a recent, historically appropriate addition at the rear of the house.
2022 Grant Recipients
Auglaize County Historical Society, Wapakoneta
$18,864 for “Repairing the Wapakoneta Museum.” The grant will support repairs to the building’s masonry exterior and replace a roof on a rear addition. The museum started life as the First Presbyterian Church in 1862 and is an example of Greek Revival-style architecture, a rare type in west-central Ohio. Acquired by the society in 1997, the building was converted into a museum and protects irreplaceable artifact collections and exhibits of local history. The museum is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation will govern the repair work.
Bowling Green State University-Office of Sponsored Programs and Research, Bowling Green
$16,000 for “Trailblazing Women in Ohio Politics: Public Engagement with a Documentary & Oral History Collection.” “Trailblazing Women in Ohio Politics” is a documentary that tells the story of Democratic and Republican women who broke electoral barriers beginning in the 1960s. With a grant from the History Fund, BGSU will create a website to extend the reach of the production and conduct additional oral history interviews with trailblazing women office holders.
Burchfield Homestead Society, Salem
$3,300 for “Burchfield Homestead Exterior Painting Project” The home of noted artist Charles Burchfield (1893-1967) needs a new coat of paint, as well as fresh caulking around its windows. Burchfield’s imaginative renderings of his modest Salem home, garden, and surrounding areas are featured in many public and private collections. Preserving the house as Burchfield would recognize it is critical to telling his story and understanding his art. The house is listed in the National Register of Historic Places and the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation will guide the work.
Chagrin Falls Historical Society, Chagrin Falls
$3,700 for “Digitizing The Exponent (1894-1903), the Newspaper for Chagrin Falls and Vicinity.” Newsprint is fragile and The Exponent is the sole primary written source of the early cultural and industrial history of the Chagrin Falls and its neighboring communities. The project will microfilm and digitize 4,160 pages of The Exponent from 1894- 1903 and make them widely accessible to genealogists, other historical organizations, researchers, educators, students, and the public through Ohio Memory. The project will comply with standards set by Ohio Memory and the National Digital Newspaper Program.
Champaign Aviation Museum, Urbana
$2,337 for “Champaign Aviation Museum Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) of WWII Video Display.” As a part of its exhibit about the WASPs of WWII, the museum create a wall-mounted video display to show archival footage about their service and experiences. The footage is yet another way the museum can raise visitors’ awareness of WASP's contributions to the war effort. Grant funds will support the purchase of a video monitor and associated equipment.
Cincinnati Preservation Association, Cincinnati
$15,000 for “Sites of Black History of Greater Cincinnati: Finding, Celebrating, and Preserving.” The project will take steps to document sites associated with African American history in Cincinnati. Stories from the Black community and sites associated with it have yet to be documented as thoroughly as others, but are essential to developing a truer understanding of the city’s history. Part of the first phase of a multiphase project, grant funds will support the salary of a qualified historian to conduct research and identify sites.
CityWide Neighborhood Development Corporation, Dayton
$12,750 for “The History of Lakeside Amusement Park.” The project will present the history of Lakeside Amusement Park and its later iteration, a concert venue known as the Palladium, by fabricating and installing five interpretative signs at Lakeside Park. The project is another step in restoring a once thriving amenity back into a park for the enjoyment of West Dayton residents and others looking to learn more about Dayton’s history. Grant funds will support the time of a researcher to write content and pay costs for making and installing the signs.
Darke County Park District, Greenville
$15,860 for “4th Grade Pioneer Day.” The grant will finance the first two years of an annual Pioneer Day field trip to every fourth grader in Darke County, approximately 500 students. Each will experience history–change over time–by completing various simulated early nineteenth century hands-on activities. The program will take place in the setting of Bear’s Mill, a site on the National Register of Historic Places. Activities, led by volunteers supervised by park district staff, will be reinforce content standards for state history in Ohio Department of Education’s 4th grade standards for social studies.
Kent State University, Kent
$16,000 for “Liquid Crystal Oral History Project.” Computer screens, TVs, and digital watches are among thousands of objects using liquid crystal technology today. This project will preserve the experiences of the field’s pioneers by recording oral histories with approximately 20 faculty and alumni of Kent State University’s Liquid Crystal Institute. Audio files and transcripts of interviews will be available on the website of the university’s Special Collections and Archives. Best practices for digital humanities from the American Historical Association and standards in the Federal Agencies Digital Guidelines Initiative will govern the project.
Lakeside Heritage Society, Lakeside
$2,157 for “Lakeside Heritage Society Archives Rehousing Project.” This compact project will arrange, rehouse and describe three historically significant collections in the society’s archives: local newspapers, a 35mm slide collection, and local plat maps and blueprints. Photographs from the application show that the projects is needed and that society’s new archives building in an optimal place to keep the rehoused collections. The society’s professionally-trained staff archivist will supervise volunteers, who will organize the collections and create publicly accessible finding aids.
Licking County Foundation, Newark
$19,000 for “Restoring the 1915 Wall and Ceiling Murals in Louis Sullivan Building of Newark: Substrate Repair.” The Foundation is restoring Newark’s “Home Building Association” building, the sixth of eight Midwest “jewel box” banks that influential architect Louis Sullivan (1856-1924) designed late in his career. The restoration of the building has been a multiyear effort, with the restoration of the exterior celebrated in 2020. Attention is now focused on the interior. The History Fund grant will offset the cost of plaster substrate repair essential to the conservation of the 1914-15 hand-stenciled murals on the first floor’s wall and ceilings, the defining historic feature. The building is listed in the National Register of Historic Places and, as they have from the beginning of the restoration, the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation will guide the work.
Mac-A-Cheek Foundation for the Humanities, West Liberty
$4,000 for “Strengthening Visitor and Member Engagement.” The Foundation operates the site Piatt Castle Mac-A-Cheek and management is transitioning from the Piatt Family to a new executive director and board. To help them make good decisions, they need good data. Grant funds will support the work of a coordinator to set up new data gathering and management systems and equipment, and partially support board training in fundraising. Under the direction of an experienced consultant, the board will begin to integrate the site’s membership, marketing, and public programming functions to strengthen member and visitor engagement.
Marion County Federation of Women's Clubs, Inc., Marion
$6,250 for “Marion Women's Club Home Interior Plaster and Painting Restoration.” The project will repair interior plaster and paint ceilings on the home’s second and third floors, making overall progress towards preserving the structure’s historic character. Once completed, the work will enable the Club to showcase the work of women to reform the community throughout its history, as well as open more space for the other organizations and initiatives the organization hosts. The home is listed in the National Register of Historic Places and restoration efforts will be governed by the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation.
Miamisburg Historical Society, Miamisburg
$5,316 for “Humidity Control, Archival Storage, and Preservation of Artifact Collection.” The project’s goal is to improve environmental conditions in the Miamisburg History Center archive storage room and exhibit galleries, and to rehouse in archival-quality containers objects from the 17,000 item collection not already well stored. Experienced members of the society’s all-volunteer staff who moved the society’s collection into its new History Center in 2019 will lead the work.
National Aviation Hall of Fame, Dayton
$16,000 for “Discovering Flight: Learning with the NAHF Phase II.” The project will fund in part the production of a film that will engage visitors in learning about the Hall’s honoree’s contributions to American aviation history. The film is a part of a larger effort to revise the organization’s exhibits. The grant will support costs associated with making the film.
Overfield Tavern Museum, Troy
$20,000 for “Overfield Tavern Museum Phase 2B Repairs.” As the title suggests, work funded by the grant is part of larger effort to preserve the tavern, built in 1808. This project will install replacement wood siding over damaged areas. The project will also repair trim around windows and doors and repaint the tavern in historically accurate colors. The site is listed in the National Register of Historic Places and the work will meet the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties. The museum’s director, a professionally trained and experienced historic preservationist and archaeologist, will oversee the project.
Playhouse Square Foundation, Cleveland
$16,000 for “Playhouse Square Archives Digitization Project.” As a part of Playhouse Square’s centennial in 2021-2022, the organization will establish a dedicated archives to preserve its history and make it available to researchers and the public. The foundation will collaborate with the experienced staff of Cleveland Public Library and others to inventory, index, catalog, and digitize select items from Playhouse Square’s archives. Members of the History Fund review panel noted that this project, successfully executed, will set an example for other arts institutions to assiduously preserve the materials of their histories.
Zoar Community Association, Zoar
$14,500 for “Town Hall Redevelopment Project.” The Town Hall Museum is the sole exhibit area for the ZCA's collections of Zoar and Ohio & Erie Canal artifacts and photographs. The building is also the location of association’s archives. The first phase of the Town Hall Redevelopment Project, supported by the grant, will include the installation of a "Best of Zoar" exhibit. The exhibit will create a streamlined introduction to Zoar for visitors and serve as the impetus for further efforts to reorganize and reinterpret the association’s collections. The Standards & Excellence Program of American Association for State & Local History will guide the work.