Each year around March 1, Ohio celebrates its birthday with an annual Ohio Statehood Day event. This year’s Statehood Day took place on Thursday, February 27.
According to the official Ohio Statehood Day web site, the purpose of this event is as follows:
The state’s birthday serves as an appropriate time each year for history advocates to come together (on or near March 1) to help showcase the importance of Ohio’s history and how history, historic preservation and the organizations that help provide access to Ohio’s rich history benefit the Buckeye State. Statehood Day is a celebration of Ohio and its history, as well as a legislative advocacy event.
Representatives from our Public History program are usually among the history advocates who descend upon the Ohio Statehouse to show their support for all things history in Ohio, and this year was no exception.
This year’s delegation consisted of Dawne Dewey, Director of the WSU Public History Program; students Sarah Aisenbrey, Karis Raeburn, and Josh Wieser; and Karis’s 4Paws4Ability WSU trainee pup Isra.
Josh Wieser’s reflection of his experience summarizes the group’s activities throughout the day:
Statehood Day was a wonderful experience for a fledgling in the public history world like myself. My group had the opportunity to discuss our desire for increased history funding with State Senator Chris Widener’s aide and toured the Ohio statehouse, and that was all before lunch. During our midday meal we were treated with talks from State Senator Randy Gardner and the keynote speaker, CBS Correspondent Erin Moriarty. It was great to hear Ms. Moriarty’s reflections on why history plays such in an important roles on our lives and how she personally uses history to to guide her journalism. It all wrapped up with the Ohio Historical Society rewarding grants to a variety of history organizations around the state. Congratulations to Dayton History and the Boonshoft Museum of Discovery! All in all, I had a blast attending Statehood Day and I hope I get to attend next year too.
Sarah and Karis agreed that Statehood Day was a positive and enlightening experience as well. Here are their reflections on the event:
Statehood Day was a great experience for me, as a student and as an upcoming [public history] professional. Being able to interact with professionals already in the field and seeing their successes with grants is very encouraging. Also, speaking with Senator Widener’s aide was a great opportunity. Lobbying for history within the local government is something that is beneficial not only to Senator Widener’s district, but also to the rest of Ohio and even the nation. I am hopeful that I will be able to attend Statehood Day again next year!
Being able to attend Statehood Day was one of the highlights of my experience in the Public History program. Understanding how to speak to elected officials is a useful skill for professionals in our field, as is being able to share your passion for history in a meaningful way. Statehood Day was also a fun and enlightening networking opportunity. I would encourage any student who gets the opportunity to attend to do so.
Our canine representative Isra was generally enthusiastic about the adventure but was unable to verbalize any of her specific experiences for this blog.
You can see more photos from our Statehood Day visit on our Facebook page. You can also see Sarah and Karis and Dawne on the Ohio Historical Society Statehood Day 2014’s Flickr set.