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 2022 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 2022 award winners! 

Today, we'll be featuring our winner for the 2022 award for Best Education and Outreach under $500,000.

Historic Zoar Village - Zoar and the Presidents


As with many institutions, the school programs and field trips hosted by Historic Zoar Village came to a halt during the pandemic years. In 2019, close to 5,000 school aged children enjoyed one of Zoar's field trips, homeschool events, or school days. In 2020, only one field trip was scheduled. 2021 saw the slow return of some students of Zoar, but in 2022 the school day event, Zoar and the Presidents symbolically marked the full return of students to Historic Zoar Village and signified the revitalization of Zoar's school programming.

Zoar and the Presidents is a stationed-based, interactive learning experience offered to public, private, and homeschool students. The event features first-person actors portraying U.S. Presidents and Presidential candidates focusing on the Ohio Presidents and in the time frame of the Society of Separatists of Zoar (1817-1898).

Hands-on demonstrations, museum tours, and Presidential activities including trivia and a mock election of all the presidents and candidates in attendance (including stickers for those who voted) are also included in the day's activities.

Protocols learned during the pandemic lead to the station format, to prevent too many students in any given space at any given time. Held in the fall, activities were placed outside whenever possible, and lunch times were rotated. This thoughtful planning paired with Historic Zoar Village’s reputation with area schools and educators lead to approximately 400 students, teachers, aides, parents and guardians to be able to enjoy what Zoar deemed the “turning point” in their back-to-in-person education programming.

As Julie Levengood of the Tuscarawas County Convention and Visitors Bureau noted, “New and exciting perspectives of history (like Zoar and the Presidents)… foster a lifelong appreciation of history and encourage the exploration of museums (by students in both) their own and surrounding communities.”

Did your museum have an innovative and impactful education or outreach program during the 2023 season? Be sure to nominate it for the 2023 award for Best Education and Outreach! Learn more here.

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