WILMINGTON — The Clinton County Historical Society hosted its annual meeting at 5 p.m. March 8 — a time to reflect upon the accomplishments, financials, and events of the previous year.
Approximately 25 Society members were in attendance and the agenda included a Treasurer’s Report, Finance Committee Report, Election of Trustees, and a report from their Executive Director.
Local prosecuting attorney Andrew McCoy was nominated and elected as trustee to serve his first three-year term on the board.
Director Shelby Boatman, who celebrated her third year with the organization, provided an in-depth look at the accomplishments of the Society in 2021.
At the end of last year, the board approved a five-year strategic plan for the organization. Boatman applied for approximately 12 grants and the Society was awarded six of those, which included COVID funding, programming funds, and more. She was proud to share that all PPP COVID impact loans from Peoples Bank were forgiven and rolled into grants for the Society!
Boatman noted the Society’s luck when being selected as a winner of the ICA Conservators Subsidized Art Survey, which allowed a professional conservator from Cleveland to assess the museum’s Eli Harvey artwork in preparation for conservation needs and expenses.
The Society embarked on many partnerships last year, including with ATI (Air Transport International) for historic images of Clinton County and the CCAFB which is now the Wilmington Air Park. The images are displayed in ATI’s pilots’ lounge.
Boatman worked with Tom Breckel of the Clinton County EMA to develop a hazard mitigation plan for historical locations in the county.
Additional partnerships included DAR, Mainstreet Wilmington, Antique Power Club, Cape May, and Sugartree Ministries.
Many virtual presentations and meetings took place in 2021 due to the continuation of the pandemic.
Repairs to the almost 200-year-old house were focused on as well. One ceiling and two exhibit rooms were repaired and painted in 2021 with help from Christian Bros. Decorating of Blanchester. Another HVAC unit, number two of six, was replaced in 2021 as well.
Focus was placed on redesigning the former “Relic Room” on the second floor, which now features a wide array of pre-Clinton County (1810) history including arrowheads, a mastodon tusk, and history on the Native American tribes that once called this region home.
During the annual meeting, Linda Rinehart was commended on her generous donation of over $9,000 in period appropriate costuming to the History Center. Her donation allowed the Center to host its first ever ‘Talking Tombstones” living history walk at Sugar Grove Cemetery.
That event in October 2021 generated approximately $4,000 in funds for the Historical Society, and 15 new memberships.
Making new connections
Shelby Boatman joined the Leadership Clinton Class of 2021-22 and continues to make connections with classmates and organizations on behalf of the Society.
To better connect with students and the local school system, the History Center was awarded a $3,000 grant from the Clinton County Foundation’s Lucas Fund grant. The grant was applied toward traveling foot locker trunks — “Learning Luggage” which allow third-grade teachers countywide to easily bring local history into their classroom and lesson plans.
The trunks continue to be tweaked as feedback is provided by educators, and due to COVID impacts, many schools look forward to implementing them in fall 2022 given their hands-on learning requirements. The Society looks forward to launching these trunks again next school year, and as a result of the Lucas Fund, all supplies are free of charge to educators.
It was noted that 2021 provided the Society with one of its best years yet in gift shop sales as well as general donations from the community. Approximately $25,000 in outside grant money was received last year as a result of diligent applications for funds.
To learn more about the Historical Society and their efforts, please visit www.ClintonCountyHistory.org .
Their museum is now open for the 2022 season on Fridays 1-4 p.m. and Saturdays 10 a.m.-2 p.m. A new two-room display entitled “Junk in Our Trunks” featured the modes of transportation Clinton Countians used from the mid-1800s to early 1900s, and what items or necessities they packed in their luggage.
Active members or children under 14 always visit the History Center for free, and non-members are $5 per visit.