2014 was a big year for the collections of the Ohio History Connection. Objects traveled around the world, new exhibits opened featuring objects never before seen by the public, and new objects were acquired that will help us to connect with Ohio’s past, understand the present and create a better future. Some highlights include:
The Adena Effigy Pipe traveled to Paris, France for an exhibit, The Plains Indians: Artists of Earth and Sky, at the Musée du Quai Branly. In 2015 the pipe will continue traveling with the exhibit to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.
Our Polly Crockett hat, a girl’s hat produced by Sanitized in the late 1950s made of faux fur in pink, white, and green and featuring a drawing of Davy Crockett’s first wife, Polly, was included in the Museum of American History‘s blog, O Say Can You See?. The hat was also chosen as one of the 25 Artifacts of the American Childhood by the Mid-Atlantic Popular and American Culture Association.
Two new exhibitions opened at the Ohio History Center this year: Going, Going, Gone and Reflections of an Artist: Emerson Burkhart. Going, Going, Gone explores how species go from enormously large populations to the brink of extinction or cease to exist altogether. It features one of the last known wild passenger pigeons, Buttons, who was found in Ohio and is a part of the Ohio History Connection’s permanent collection. Reflections of an Artist: Emerson Burkhart explores Emerson Burkhart (1905-1969) who ruled the Columbus art scene during the 1950s and 1960s with his honest portraits and depictions of life in the city. While Burkhart was praised for his artistic skill, conflicts in his personal and professional life prevented him from receiving national attention. Reflections of an Artist: Emerson Burkhart displays never seen artwork by Burkhart, including the original sketches for the controversial mural Music.
In addition to new exhibits, several new objects have been added to the permanent exhibits of the Ohio History Center. Four pieces made by Columbus Folk Artist Elijah Pierce were added to the History Mall located on the first floor of the museum. New textiles were added to the first floor as well, exploring the relationship between the political experience and textiles.
Several new collections were added to the permanent collection this year. Some of the highlights include a large donation of toys made by the Ohio Art Company, the American Lung Association of Ohio donated a large collection of archival materials documenting the fight against tuberculosis, the Natural History Curators received a mastodon vertebra anonymously donated, and the Archaeology department received over 20,000 artifacts found at the home of President Harding. The Zouave Ambrotype, missing since 1978, was finally return to the Campus Martius Museum.
The Rankin House, a National Historic Landmark and that was part of the Underground Railroad, re-opened after an extensive renovation on August 23, 2014 and features objects from the collection never exhibited before.
We hosted hundreds of visiting researchers who examined our collections and added to our institutional knowledge. Artist Drew Ernst was inspired by objects in our Natural History collection, creating a new piece based on the Northern Harrier. Students from the Ohio State University Department of Art visited the Ohio History Center to examine the coffin of Neskhonspakhered. The Ohio History Connection sponsored the I Found It In The Archives contest; winner Deborah Tracy discovered her maternal great-grandfather name’s was Jasper Haddock, an ancestor previously unknown to her family, and that he served in the heralded 55th Massachusetts Colored Infantry.
In addition to adding objects to the permanent collection, three new staff members joined the Ohio History Connection curatorial staff this year, Kellie Locke-Rogers, an Archaeology Collections Assistant, Erin Cashion, a Natural History Curator, and Becky Preiss Odom, a History Curator.
Research by the collections staff was highlighted in many media outlets this year. Senior Archaeology Curator Brad Lepper wrote one of the most viewed columns of the year for the Columbus Dispatch entitled, “Flint tool disappeared with Hopewell Culture”. Dr. Lepper and Natural History Curator Dave Dyer also were featured in a panel about the future of the planet at the Columbus Metropolitan Club which aired on local television stations. Archaeology Curators Bill Pickard and Linda Pansing shared the story of how mounds built by the Adena Culture were discovered in Clintonville in the Columbus Neighborhoods series on WOSU. History Curator Cliff Eckle demonstrated how a flint lock rifle is loaded on the Worthington episode of the series. While History Curator Emily Lang discussed the life of Emerson Burkhart on the WOSU series Broad and High.
Thanks for making 2014 a great year for the Ohio History Connection! What do you look forward to seeing from us next year?
Emily Lang, History Curator