Local historical societies are ubiquitous institutions that populate the American landscape, yet academic scholarship typically overlooks these organizations. This oversight in the literature is especially problematic as local history organizations consider their future in a new digital era. This Independent Study seeks to expand this literature. It argues that local historical societies need to enact change, especially in regards to digital technology, in order to be relevant to a twenty-first-century audience. The project consists of two parts: a documentary film and a written portion. The documentary film includes oral histories with local historical society members and it argues that these institutions need more volunteers to continue operations. The written portion consists of an historiography that brings together secondary literature in which scholars frame local historical organizations as nostalgic and a second chapter that is a guide for change in the areas of audience relations, volunteer management, and recruitment. The second chapter focuses on the Mohican, Strongsville, and Wayne County historical societies and is infused with suggested resources for further research, especially from the American Association for State and Local History. As a whole, the written Independent Study argues that local historical societies can implement feasible changes that will help their organizations attract the interest of more diverse audiences, and the documentary is an example of a tool these institutions can use to better connect with twenty-first-century audiences.
Hamm, Marissa, "History = Change Over Time: Potential Adaptations for Three Contemporary Northeast Ohio Historical Societies" (2019). Senior Independent Study Theses. Paper 8625.
Bachelor of Arts
Senior Independent Study Thesis
© Copyright 2019 Marissa Hamm