Celebrate Archives Month by Honoring the Accomplishments of an Ohio Archival Institution
The Ohio Historical Records Advisory Board Achievement Award recognizes significant accomplishments in preserving and improving access to historical records in any format by an Ohio archival institution. All Ohio institutions responsible for archival records that provide public access to at least a portion of their collections are eligible. Eligible accomplishments include recent special projects or on-going programs that:
- build significant collections
- implement successful preservation strategies
- enhance access to archives
- develop effective digitization programs
Preference will be given to projects or programs that can be adapted for use by other institutions.
2023 OHRAB Achievement Award Recipient
The Ohio Historical Records Advisory Board (OHRAB) is proud to announce that the recipient of the 2023 OHRAB Achievement Award is the Bay Village Historical Society.
In 2019, the Bay Village Historical Society began a project to conserve and increase access to the portraits and photographs in its Rose Hill Museum. These portraits are vital to the Bay Village Historical Society. According to the will donating the land and home to the historical society, the portraits of the descendants of the Cahoon family, the first settlers of Bay Village, and the portraits of other early settler families must be displayed.
In the first phase of the project, historical society staff and volunteers removed the portraits from their original frames and transported them to the Cleveland Public Library’s Main Branch where they were scanned as high-resolution tiffs. The Cleveland Institute of Art then produced an archival copy of each portrait. A local artist who volunteered with the historical society restored the frames, touching up the paint and using modeling clay to repair the cracks. The archival copies were placed in the repaired frames and hung on the walls of the Rose Hill Museum.
The historical society also consulted with staff from ICA-Art Conservation, Jamison Art Conservation, and Cleveland State University to develop a plan to conserve the original portraits. This included some portraits consisting of chalk drawings on paper with silk backing, which had not been anticipated. Custom-made archival boxes with archival foam core and all-cotton batting were built to house the original portraits and preserve them for future generations.
During the project the Bay Village Historical Society created an index to the portrait gallery, including biographical information about the individuals. A physical copy of the index is available for visitors at the Rose Hill Museum and the information, along with digital copies of the portraits, is available online at https://www.bayhistorical.com/portrait-gallery/.
OHRAB congratulates the Bay Village Historical Society for their accomplishments and wishes them continued success in their efforts to preserve the history of Ohio!
2022 OHRAB Achievement Award Recipient
The Ohio Historical Records Advisory Board (OHRAB) is proud to announce that the recipient of the 2022 OHRAB Achievement Award is the Archives and Special Collections of University Libraries at The University of Akron.
During The University of Akron’s sesquicentennial anniversary year from May 31, 2020, to June 1, 2021, the staff and faculty of the Archives and Special Collections preserved and made available important archival resources documenting the long history of the University. The staff overcame difficulties created by the pandemic, mass protests over the killing of George Floyd, and limited staff and resources to make their collections more accessible to the campus, the community, and the public for research and study.
The Archives and Special Collections completed multiple projects across a broad range of formats and subjects. The staff curated four online exhibits on The University of Akron’s history, including “Peace & Power: Black Activism at The University of Akron.” In addition, they digitized and uploaded nearly 27,000 items from the archives to their digital repository, including nearly 20,000 university photographs, over 5,500 issues of the student newspaper, and nearly 100 volumes of student yearbooks.
The staff provided research and support for several sesquicentennial-related projects sponsored by the campus and the community, such as the University history docu-series “Keeping the Lamp of Learning Burning.” Staff also collaborated with the Department of History and team taught an oral history class that recorded twelve oral history interviews on inclusion and diversity that are available online.
To view the online collections, visit the Archives and Special Collections website at: https://www.uakron.edu/libraries/archives/ [uakron.edu]
OHRAB congratulates the staff and faculty of the Archives and Special Collections of University Libraries at The University of Akron for their accomplishments and wishes them continued success in their efforts to preserve the history of Ohio.
2021 OHRAB Achievement Award Recipient
The Ohio Historical Records Advisory Board (OHRAB) is proud to announce that the recipient of the 2021 OHRAB Achievement Award is the Muskingum County Records Center.
In 2019, the Muskingum County Records Center began a partnership with Family Search to preserve the historic records of the Muskingum County Common Pleas Clerk of Courts Office and make the records more accessible. These include the Common Pleas Civil and Criminal files from 1840 to the early 1900s and the Common Pleas Domestic Court files to the late 1980s. Prior to this project, the records could only be viewed at the Records Center. The lack of an index also hindered access to the documents, which were damaged by inadequate storage conditions.
During the project volunteers contributed over 40,000 hours of their time to unfold, flatten, clean, image, and properly store the original historic documents. Once the records were preserved, the Records Center staff indexed the records, making the original records easily accessible to the public for the first time. Family Search then uploaded the records to its website where the images are now available for free to all researchers.
With this award, OHRAB also honors the memory of Muskingum County Common Pleas Court Clerk of Courts Todd Bickle. Mr. Bickle was a believer in the citizen’s right to access public records. He spearheaded the creation of the Records Center and remained its champion. Mr. Bickle initiated the project with Family Search and his office purchased the materials needed to preserve the historic records. Due to his untimely death, he did not see the project’s completion, but his efforts will continue to benefit all Ohioans.
OHRAB congratulates the staff and volunteers of the Muskingum County Records Center for their accomplishments and wishes them continued success in their efforts to preserve the history of Ohio.
2020 OHRAB Achievement Award Recipients
OHRAB congratulates the recipients of the 2020 OHRAB Achievement Award: the Clark County Historical Society and the Toledo Lucas County Public Library.
In 2019, the Clark County Historical Society confronted every archivist’s worst fear: an overhead water pipe that bursts in the middle of the night. The pipe burst severely damaged the ceiling over the archives and genealogy library. Staff and volunteers worked courageously to save the collections. By acting quickly, the Society saved the entire collection. Following this experience, the Society’s staff has reached out to other institutions and professionals to teach the value of disaster planning and preparedness, using themselves as an example of how quick thinking and preparation can save an archive from disaster. OHRAB honors the Clark County Historical Society for their fortitude in saving the Society’s collections and for their resulting commitment to teaching others about the necessity of disaster planning and preparedness.
The Toledo Lucas County Public Library possesses an enormous collection of architectural records. For decades, the staff of the Local History and Genealogy department have worked to organize and preserve the records donated to the library by local architecture and engineering firms. The records, which includes hundreds of thousands of drawings, pertain not only to buildings in Toledo but also to buildings in the entire Midwest. To make the records more accessible, the library has created the Architecture of Northwest Ohio (https://tlcplarchitecture.omeka.net/), a digital library that allows researchers to search and browse images from the collection. This website gives researchers an unrivaled view into the architectural past of the Midwest. OHRAB applauds the Toledo Lucas County Public Library for their continuing efforts to preserve their vast architectural records collection and to make it accessible to all through the Architecture of Northwest Ohio digital library.
2019 OHRAB Achievement Award Recipients
OHRAB congratulates the 2019 Achievement Award recipients, the City of Westlake Clerk of Council and the Lakewood Historical Society.
In 2010, the Clerk of Council of the City of Westlake, Denise Rosenbaum, began to scan the city’s meeting minutes and legislation dating back over one hundred years. She painstakingly indexed the city’s records and made them accessible through the city’s website. Once the council’s records were completed in 2017, the Clerk collaborated with the Western Reserve Historical Society and the Cleveland Public Library to scan the nineteenth-century records of Dover Township, from which Westlake originated, also making them available on the city’s website. The Clerk rehoused the city’s records in custom-made archival boxes and stored them in a climate-controlled library in the Council office where they open to the public. OHRAB honors the Clerk of Council of the City of Westlake, Denise Rosenbaum, for her dedication to preserving the history and records of the City of Westlake and making them available to its citizens and future generations.
In 2019, the Lakewood Historical Society opened the Haber Family Center for History. Since 1952, the archival collections of the historical society were stored in a stone house built in 1834. In the 1970s, a basement was added to this building and the society’s collections were moved there. Over time, the basement began to flood due to problems with the sewer drain system. After a flood in 2014, the Society’s Board of Directors began searching for an improved storage facility. This building, the Haber Family Center for History, gives the Society, for the first time in its history, a secure, controlled environment to store its archival collections while giving its patrons an accessible area to conduct research. OHRAB applauds the Lakewood Historical Society for the creation of the Haber Family Center for History, where the Society’s archival collections are now preserved and accessible to all.
2018 Achievement Award
In 2018 OHRAB recognized the Licking County Records Center and Archives and the Warren County Records Center and Archives. The Licking County Records Center and Archives was recognized for its commitment to expanding access to Ohio’s public records. In particular the Licking County Records Center and Archives was cited for its cataloging project and its outreach initiatives, such as hosting a community scanning day and improving the reference area at its new facility.
The Warren County Records Center and Archives was recognized for its work furthering the digital accessibility and the archival preservation of Ohio’s public records. By processing, indexing and digitizing records such as wills, estates, and commissioner journal indexes, the Warren County Records Center and Archives increased access to its records while preserving the original documents.
2017 Achievement Award
The Ohio Historical Records Advisory Board proudly recognizes Franklin County Children Services for its project inventorying and cataloging a large volume of
historical records documenting the history of the agency.
2016 Achievement Awards
The Ohio Historical Records Advisory Board proudly recognizes two institutions this year:
Greene County Records Center and Archives
The Greene County Records Center and Archives for its innovative program taking records into classrooms to develop students’ research and analysis skills while fostering an appreciation for local history.
“Archives receives Achievement Award,” Xenia Daily Gazette (December 5th, 2016)
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Library and Archives
2015 Achievement Awards
The Ohio Historical Records Advisory Board proudly recognizes two institutions this year:
Delaware County Records Center
The Delaware County Records Center:, for its devotion to the care, preservation, and accessibility of county records through continual modernization of processes and dedication to providing convenient public access to the records in its care.
“Delaware County records center recognized,” The Delaware Gazette (November 17th, 2015)
Kelleys Island Historical Association
The Kelleys Island Historical Association: for its efforts in implementing archival accession, processing, and cataloging procedures; increasing the accessibility of its collections through the creation and publishing of its inventory; and fostering research through new initiatives.
2014 Achievement Award
Greene County Records Center and Archives
OHRAB is pleased to recognize the Greene County Records Center and Archives as its 2014 Achievement Award recipient. Since its establishment in 1996, the Greene County Records Center and Archives has been committed to both preserving and providing access to its public records of enduring historical value.
In 2011, the archives building housing records for Greene County was condemned as unsafe. Through joint efforts of the archives staff and other county departments, a new, convenient, environmentally sound location was selected and all records were carefully moved to the new location. The records have been newly inventoried and re-shelved, ensuring and improving public access that has remained a priority for the Greene County Records Center and Archives. Public outreach has now been added as a focus in order to call more attention to its collections and the valuable resources that local government records provide.
“The Greene County Records Center and Archives demonstrated painstaking, diligent effort in its successful removal and installation of valuable historic documents into a new archives location,” said Pari Swift, who led this year’s OHRAB achievement award committee in its search. “The exceptional commitment by dedicated staff to safely and quickly secure a new permanent location for its archives material could not be overlooked.”
The new location of the Greene County Records Center and Archives is 535 Ledbetter Road, Xenia, Ohio 45385 (http://www.co.greene.oh.us/index.aspx?nid=120).
- Xenia Daily Gazette: Archives receives state award (November 21, 2014)
- Xenia Daily Gazette: County honored by state board (December 18, 2014)
2013 Achievement Award
Shaker Heights Public Library
OHRAB is pleased to recognize the Shaker Heights Public Library as its 2013 Achievement Award recipient. The Shaker Heights Public Library, in conjunction with the City of Shaker Heights Landmark Commission, created HistoricShaker.com, an online collection and reference tool capturing and cataloguing the architectural history of Shaker Heights homes dating as far back as 1915. More than 1,000 volunteer hours were provided in the scanning of more than 10,000 index cards to create a searchable database highlighting the construction year, building materials, construction cost estimate and architect of Shaker homes. In addition, a Smartphone app was created, allowing the public to view the digitally-recorded history of homes as well view a walking tour of Shaker’s historical landmarks, events, oral histories and people significant to the history of the city.
|Judy Cetina, OHRAB Board Member, Ann Klavora, Shaker Heights Landmark Commission, and Meghan Hays, Shaker Heights Public Library with Shaker Heights Public Library plaque
|OHRAB 2013 Achievement Award: Shaker Heights Landmarks Commission plaque
- Cleveland Plain Dealer: HistoricShaker.com wins two state awards for online database and phone app.
- Cleveland Jewish News: Shaker Heights Honored for Building History Website.
2012 Achievement Awards
Euclid Public Library
The Euclid Public Library was recognized for building a web-based collection documenting its city’s history from multiple perspectives and formats. The library has digitized residents’ family photos, high school yearbooks, and local newspaper editions. The web-accessible collection also includes recordings of City Council meetings, as well as oral histories, in audio and video format, revealing multiple perspectives on the history of Euclid. This impressive range of formats and documents has expanded the public’s ability to connect with its history. Beginning as a celebration of the Euclid Bicentennial, the Library has committed to continuing this project, creating an ongoing program.
Clark County Historical Society
The Clark County Historical Society was recognized for its perseverance and creativity in preserving Ohio’s local records. Like many counties, the Clark County Probate Court’s case files of wills and estate settlements, guardianship, and civil cases contain a wealth of information about the County’s history. The Clark County Historical Society brought together the expertise of staff, the enthusiasm of volunteers and interns, and a small grant for supplies to create a focused effort toward ensuring the preservation of and better access to these important local records. This project was not only ambitious, but creative in its use of resources â including the transformation of back-room activities into a public teachable moment. Because of space constraints, a significant amount of document processing occurred in the public reading room. Project staff and volunteers engaged visitors in the process, explaining how and why these records were being preserved.
Additionally, the following institutions were nominated: Miami University Libraries Digital Library, University of Akron Archival Services, and University of Dayton Libraries.
2011 Achievement Awards
Licking County Records & Archives Department
The Licking County Records & Archives Department was recognized for rescuing and making available public county records not seen for more than a century and effective management of contemporary records via its Records Keepers’ Roundtable.
Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County
The Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County was recognized for its investment in a digital services department that has made thousands of rare historical materials available through its Virtual Library.
Additionally, the following institutions were nominated: Clermont County Records Management Division, the Clinton County Records Center and Archives, the Ohio University Libraries Mahn Center for Archives & Special Collections, the Shaker Heights Public Library and City of Shaker Heights, the University of Akron Archival Services, and the University of Toledo Ward M. Canaday Center for Special Collections.
2010 Achievement Awards
Cleveland State University’s Michael Schwartz Library Special Collections Department
Cleveland State University’s Michael Schwartz Library Special Collections Department has led the Cleveland Memory Project since its beginning in 2002. Institutions as diverse as the Cuyahoga County Engineer’s Office, Berea Children’s Home, Rocky River Public Library, Hathaway Brown School, and Lakewood Historical Society have contributed materials from their collections to Cleveland Memory. Project partners have made more than 42,000 images and other historic items available online. Practicum and internship opportunities provide real world experience to students while bringing fresh from the classroom perspectives to practitioners. Cleveland Memory is a model of multi-institutional collaboration melding local collection knowledge, shared infrastructure, and professional development opportunities.
Montgomery County Records Center and Archives
In 2006 the Montgomery County Records Center and Archives faced every archivist’s nightmare. Active mold, cracked spines on bound volumes, and inadequate storage threatened the existence of the county’s historic records. Through a systematic program of compliance with neglected records disposal schedules, environmental improvements and monitoring, and conservation treatment, Montgomery County Records Center and Archives staff have demonstrated that even monumental problems can be mitigated if approached with determination and creativity. The results of their efforts include reduced storage costs, improved access, and the confidence that the early records of Montgomery County will survive.
- The Cauldron, “Michael Schwartz Library Wins Achievement Award” November 29, 2010
- Cleveland Archival Roundtable Blog, “Words of Thanks from Bill Barrow” November 12, 2010