On-line Scavenger Hunt

On-line Scavenger Hunt for Ohio Historical Documents, Artifacts and Photographs

The On-line Scavenger Hunt is a great way to teach students how to find primary sources available on-line and get some practice interpreting what they find.  Included in the hunt are letters, diaries, artifacts and photos telling interesting snippets about Ohio’s people and history and learn how to conduct research into historical documents and artifacts online.  All are owned by Ohio archival institutions that have made them digitally available via their websites.  This activity will also teach students how to recognize a primary historical source and investigate potential topics for History Day projects.

The hunt has been assembled by the Ohio Historical Records Advisory Board (OHRAB), whose mission is to serve the people of Ohio by advocating, nurturing, and advising programs that identify, preserve, and provide access to their documentary heritage, which enriches the culture and protects the rights of Ohioans.  This includes presenting an annual award for the best use of Ohio’s historical records in a History Day project.  Board members represent Ohio’s public and private archives, records offices, and research institutions.  Administrative responsibility for the board rests with the Ohio History Connection.

The scavenger hunt is as easy as 1-2-3:

Step 1—Find it

Below are 25 items that can be found in digital images on one of a dozen Ohio library or museum websites.  Students should find one in each category: a document, a photograph, and an artifact.

Step 2—Investigate it

Students should report their findings on the investigation sheets.

Step 3—Submit the Investigation Sheets

Students should submit their investigation sheets to their teacher.


  • Death record of James Gamble, co-founder of Cincinnati’s Proctor and Gamble Company
  • David McMechan’s letter about his farm and the War of 1812
  • Dr. John B. Rice’s letter about the assassination of a famous person
  • Jacob Correll’s Civil War diary
  • A Civil War diary from a soldier in the 23rd Ohio Volunteer Infantry
  • Benjamin Fenn’s thoughts in 1838 about the Anti-Slavery Society
  • Payments for wolf scalps in Sandusky County, 1836
  • Melzar Nye’s 1792 memoir about traveling from Connecticut to Marietta
  • William Henry Harrison’s War of 1812 letters


  • 29th Ohio Volunteer Infantry regimental flag
  • Architect Alice E. Johnson and Trinity Methodist Church
  • Frank Crumit’s song about the stock market crash, 1929
  • Slave hobble removed from a runaway slave helped by Warren County’s Sutliff family
  • Artwork for a Van Sweringen Land Company advertisement, Shaker Heights real estate


  • 105th Ohio Volunteer Infantry Color Guard
  • African-American jazz musician Maurice Rocco
  • Akron’s 1938 Soap Box Derby race
  • Canal boat at Lock 1, Ohio & Erie Canal, Akron
  • Corsair wing assembly by women workers, World War II production, Akron
  • The Goodyear Blimp (U.S.S. Akron) stationed at the Goodyear airdock in 1931
  • Hoover Vacuum Company (multiple photos)
  • The largest fish ever caught in Lake Erie
  • Ralph Rusell, founder of the North Union Shaker Colony in Ohio’s Western Reserve
  • Sutliff family home in Warren
  • Women workers during World War II at the Dayton Wright Airplane Company

Places to look:

Need a cheat sheet?

Teachers, if you would like a cheat sheet of exact web addresses for all items, please send an email from your school email address to [email protected].