OMA Award Spotlight -Trumbull County Historical Society

Recognizing excellence in Ohio museums during Arts and Humanities Month

To help celebrate October as Arts and Humanities Month, and to kick-off the call for nominations for this year's OMA awards, we'll be highlighting our 2020 OMA Award of Achievement winners throughout the month with our OMA Award Spotlight. We are featuring these Award Winner Spotlights during Arts and Humanities Month to help champion the amazing projects, programs and professionals that make Ohio's museum community strong.

The Awards of Achievement are presented to reflect the outstanding quality and caliber of work by Ohio museums and their professionals in two categories: Institutional Achievement Awards and Individual Achievement Awards.

Nominations for these awards are incredibly detailed. This in-depth process helps to illustrate how these institutions and individuals have gone “above and beyond” the normal call of duty to support their institution, serve their public and advance the cause of the museum community.

Each year, the review panel is overwhelmed by the outstanding projects, innovative programming and dedication to our field as exhibited in each of the institutional and individual nominations. Congratulations again to each of our 2020 award winners! 

Today, we'll be featuring our winner for the 2020 award for Best Education and Outreach under $500,000.

Trumbull County Historical Society - Voices Oral History Project

The Trumbull County Historical Society started the Voices Oral History Project initiative to preserve the memories of elders in Warren, Ohio’s Black community. Working with a steering committee comprised of leaders in the area’s Black community, TCHS conducted 18 interviews with residents 70 years and older who shared what it was like to live and work in Trumbull County during their lifetimes.

Recognizing that the telling of Black history was not being fulfilled in Warren’s community, and that Black history is not taught consistently and thoroughly in schools and universities, the Voices Oral History Project is available as an educational resource that can provide primary source material for teachers and professors to use in their classrooms.

Interviews highlight the experiences of Black residents that tie to national and locally significant issues such as redlining, the Civil Rights Movement, and northern segregation – among others – teaching students how these events affected their neighbors and impact their classmates today. Interviews are housed on the Voices Oral History Project’s website,, where they are searchable by theme and interviewee for research and educational purposes.

But this project didn’t come together overnight. TCHS recognized early in the planning process that building trust between the organization and the Black community would be a long process, especially with outreach to a part of the community that TCHS has historically not interacted with as an organization. “In 2017, we only held 10 items in our collection that represented the Black community. With a Black population of roughly 30% in Warren, that was unacceptable,” said TCHS director, Meghan Reed.

Since 2017, outreach initiatives including attending community group and neighborhood meetings, and open communication offering TCHS as a resource for all. After about a year and a half, the organization began to see the relationship-building had led to the level of community buy-in needed to help the Trumbull County Historical Society authentically diversity the stories they tell about life in Warren.

But TCHS knows the community building doesn’t stop with the project, it’s now a part of the organization. As Reed states, “We had, and still have, a lot of listening and learning to do.”

Did your museum have an innovative and impactful education or outreach program during the 2021 season? Be sure to nominate it for the 2021 award for Best ! Learn more here.


Sarah Moell, Curator of Collections and Research, Accepts the Award During the OMA 2021 Virtual Awards Ceremony

One of the fun features of OMA's 2021 Virtual Awards Ceremony was being able to recognize our honorees "accepting" their award via video message. See below for the Trumbull County Historical Society's award acceptance video.

Trumbull County Historical Society OMA 2020 Award Acceptance Video

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