OMA Award Spotlight - Historic Zoar Village

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 2017 OMA Award of Achievement winners throughout the month with our OMA Award Spotlight. 

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 award winners! 

Today we'll be featuring our winner for the 2017 award for Institution of the Year (Under $500,000).

Historic Zoar Village

In 2017, the site of one of America’s most successful communal societies, Historic Zoar Village, celebrated its 200th anniversary.

To celebrate the milestone, the Zoar Community Association, or ZCA, organized an array of educational programs and bicentennial events that had a far reaching impact on the local and regional community. During their anniversary year, the ZCA organized six festivals, two battle reenactments, an adult history camp, a record-breaking children’s history camp, conferences and meetings, supported the production of an original play, and oversaw the extensive renovation and grand opening of the Bimeler Home and Art Gallery.

In 2017, the Zoar Community Association also managed a Centennial celebration for its sister site, Fort Laurens - Ohio’s only Revolutionary War-era fort. Together, the sites attracted over 26,000 visitors - an increase of over 65% from the previous year.

A traveling exhibition created in conjunction with the celebration, installed at 10 locations around the U.S., attracted more than 10,000 visitors. Other events were created in collaboration with schools, the Tuscarawas Philharmonic, a theater, and other regional institutions. These activities were instrumental in attracting new audiences and raising revenues. Engagement with local businesses had a positive impact on the local economy as well - hotels reported a higher occupancy rates, restaurants and tourist-related industries experienced increased sales.

Through energy and determination, and operating on a very modest budget, Historic Zoar Village brought national attention to the community’s unique place in the nation’s history and prompted Smithsonian Magazine to rate Zoar one of the best small towns to visit in America.

Do you know an institution that embodies the best of what Ohio museums can be?  Be sure to nominate them for the 2018 award for Institution of the Year! Learn more here.