2023 Citizen Archivist Award Recipients

The Ohio Historical Records Advisory Board (OHRAB) is proud to announce that Patti Ark of the Clark County Historical Society, and Cristopher Shell of the Cummings Center at The University of Akron, are recipients of the 2023 OHRAB Citizen Archivist Award.

The OHRAB Citizen Archivist Award honors volunteers in Ohio’s archives who work long hours, unpaid and often unacknowledged, answering reference requests, processing collections, and indexing historic records.  This award recognizes those in Ohio archives who best exemplify the dedication and hard work volunteers–our citizen archivists–contribute to Ohio’s archives each day.

Patti Ark has been an invaluable volunteer for the Clark County Historical Society at the Heritage Center since she first stepped through its doors.  Within the first week of being a volunteer, she was thrown into a disaster recovery effort after a pipe burst in the Heritage Center.  Over the next several months, she helped dismantle and move the entire archives space.  According to Natalie Fritz, Archivist and Outreach Director, “She never complained about the work, and we could always count on her to be there with a smile and encouraging words.”  Since then, Patti has dedicated herself to the Clark County Historical Society, lending a hand wherever she can to preserve its collections and expand its reach into the community.

Cristopher Shell is a volunteer at the Cummings Center at The University of Akron.  His area of expertise is the David P. Campbell Postcard Collection.  He has worked tirelessly to preserve this collection of over 250,000 postcards.  During his time working with the collection, he has relocated, organized, digitized, created metadata, and designed community outreach education for the collection.  He is the co-founder of the Akron Postcard Club, which promotes the postcard collection and spreads Cris’s love of postcards.  He created a postcard education table, teaching young people how to send a postcard.  Cris has even pursued new postcard donations to be added to the collection and helped with fundraising.  He is truly a dedicated protector, supporter, and promoter of the beauty, fun, and romance of postcards. 

Please join OHRAB in celebrating the accomplishments of Patti Ark and Cristopher Shell and their contributions to the history of Ohio.  We applaud the dedication, talent, and love that they and their fellow volunteers bring to Ohio’s archives each day.