The work of the Ohio Historical Society is so important. A knowledge of the state's past is intrinsically important, of course. People who live in a place ought to have an awareness of the journey traveled so far.
But, as the country learns every four years, Ohio has played a pivotal role in the history of the country and of the world.
People, particularly young people, learn about this not only from the Ohio Historical Museum and the nearby Ohio Village, a representation of a typical Ohio town in the early-1800s, but in sites and museums maintained by the Society throughout the state.
Just a few weeks ago, my son and I visited Adena near Chillicothe, the home of the father of Ohio's statehood. As we drove a winding around the modest, but impressive mansion, I told my son, "Look over there." His eyes lit up as he recognized that this was the spot that, more than two centuries ago, gave inspiration to the design of the seal of the state. A small, but not unimportant thing.
The Ohio Historical Society, which depends in part on state funding, is facing tough times. The governor's next biennial budget cuts state appropriations dramatically, for understandable reasons. Among the sites facing possible closure is the Neil Armstrong Air and Space Museum in Wapakoneta, the hometown of the first person to walk on the Moon. This modest, but informative, museum is a perfect introduction to the history of space flight for young people. After July 20, the 40th. anniversary of Armstrong's walk, the place may be shut down.
The Ohio Historical Society is working on getting a local organization and volunteers to keep the museum open. That may be necessary and may work out well, as I've seen local groups doing fantastic work, as with the boyhood home of General William Tecumseh Sherman and brother, Congressman John Sherman, in Lancaster, Ohio.
But there are things that you and I can do to fill the gap precipitated, in part, by the economic downturn: Join the Ohio Historical Society. You can learn more about the Society here and you can join here. Please consider doing it. Preserving history is one of the ways we find our ways to better futures.
[Pictured from top to bottom: Adena, the home of Thomas Worthington, near Chillicothe; the Great Seal of the State of Ohio, inspired by a sunrise seen by Worthington and other early Ohio leaders, over the Ross County hills; and the Neil Armstrong Air and Space Museum in Wapakoneta.]