OMA Award Spotlight – Little Buckeye Children’s Museum

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, the Ohio Museums Association is highlighting our 2016 OMA Award of Achievement winners throughout the month with our OMA Award Spotlight. 

Click here to see our previous award spotlight articles.

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 2016 award for Institution of the Year (under $500,000).

Little Buckeye Children’s Museum

The success story that is The Little Buckeye Children’s Museum stands as an inspiration for small communities who want to create a collaborative, imaginative museum that is responsive to a community need.

The museum was founded in 2011, and became a reality thanks to over 35,000 volunteer hours and donations from the businesses and individuals within their community in Mansfield. But just three years ago, Little Buckeye was an organization without an executive director, was in financial chaos, and was unable to provide the customer service that the community had envisioned.

That changed under the strong leadership of Executive Director Fred Boll. In the past two years, the museum has achieved financial stability, has doubled its attendance and is growing at a rate of 40% in monthly visitation, with 65% of those visitors traveling from outside the community.

The Little Buckeye Children’s Museum takes the responsibility of being a community anchor to heart, giving the Richland area approximately $15,000 in free memberships, free passes for admission and other donations of items and services in 2016 alone.

The successful young museum is currently outgrowing their 10,000 square foot facility and looking for a new building with a minimum of 30,000. The fact that only five years after its founding, the greatest challenge to Little Buckeye is its own success and rapid growth is a testament to how much Richland County residents rely on this organization.

In July, the Little Buckeye Children’s Museum was honored on both the Ohio House and Senate floors for receiving the OMA's "Institution of the Year" award. Senator Obhof and State Representative Romanchuk cited the museum’s remarkable success, and commitment to their community.

Congratulations again to Little Buckeye Children’s Museum on their accomplishment!

Do you know an institution that embodies the best of what Ohio museums can be?  Be sure to nominate them for the 2017 award for Institution of the Year! Learn more here.