Auglaize County Historical Society receives grant

ST. MARYS — The Auglaize County Historical Society announces that it has received funding from the Ohio Humanities Council in the Major Grants Category for $11,000.

The grant will allow the Historical Society to continue and expand its heritage tourism initiative entitled “Auglaize County: IN MOTION.” “IN MOTION” highlights the many museums and sites in Auglaize County that reflect transportation themes, including sites related to Neil Armstrong, the Miami and Erie Canal, railroads, chain migration (of settlers from Ladbergen, Germany, to New Knoxville), to name a few. Collaboration with staff/volunteers from all of Auglaize County’s transportation-related themes and sites is integral to “IN MOTION.”

The products to be created with the Heritage Tourism grant include:

• Implementation of advanced QR code technology to better share the story behind the facts at various museums and historic sites in Auglaize County;

• Resumption of the All-County Fourth Sunday Open Houses at historic sites will resume after a pandemic pause for all of 2020;

• Relaunch of the “IN MOTION” Speakers Bureau, as live and virtual events, with presentations about the railroads in Auglaize County, canal system, heritage tourism, and the Shannon Players traveling theatre company;

• Creation and distribution of a new brochure of “IN MOTION” sites across the county, also incorporating QR codes;

• Tour of the Neil Armstrong Airport, including the first Learjet 28 Longhorn, flown by Neil Armstrong in 1979;

• Canoe excursions along the Auglaize River, preceded by interpretive program about river travel during the 18th and early 19th centuries;

• Additions to the “IN MOTION” Speakers Bureau offerings, including new programs about the Western Ohio Electric Railway (Interurban), Port Koneta, and the development of the highways that cross the county;

• Development of virtual tours, enhanced with historic photographs and audio segments;

• Implementation of the Smithsonian Institution’s poster exhibit “Journey Stories,” with its strong connection to the Chain Migration theme. The poster exhibit will first travel to New Knoxville, after which it will tour schools and museums across the county;

• Presentation of Trainwrecks, Shipwrecks, and Spooky Tales by the rangers and actors of the Cuyahoga Valley National Park;

• Presentation by Professor Tim Anderson (Ohio University) about Chain Migration from Ladbergen and Westphalia, Germany;

• Presentation by Professor Perry Bush (Bluffton University), West-Central Ohio: A Nexus of the American Railroad, providing an overview of the effect of railroad development upon this section of the state; AND

• Development/creation of three full color, self-standing outdoor interpretive panels at sites not currently associated with museums.

The current funding is the third and largest grant that Ohio Humanities Council has awarded the Auglaize County Historical Society to support heritage tourism.

“We are thrilled that Ohio Humanities has again supported our work highlighting Auglaize County’s unique and important heritage. We look forward to collaborating with the village historical societies of the county and our many other partners to create amazing interpretive and promotional materials for the county. The timing couldn’t be better, as we look ahead to Auglaize County’s 175th birthday in 2023,” Auglaize County Historical Society Administrator Rachel Barber said.

The grant period begins in May and lasts 18 months.