The Ohio Historical Society is planning a July like no other.

The Ohio Historical Society is planning a July like no other.

Kicking things off July 1, the historical society will unveil four new exhibits that underscore the organization's new motto: "Let's Explore Ohio."

It's all in an effort to attract a wider audience to the historical society, which is celebrating its 126th anniversary this year, said Jane Mason, director of marketing and communications for the organization.

Coming off a four-month renovation, the historical society has reconfigured the building's entrance, which is now located off the first-level parking lot, Mason said. Part of the project included the removal of walls and brightening up the exterior, she said. The exhibit floor is right off the lobby.

"We have put together this fantastic program in order to truly engage of the people of Ohio, to welcome them into this new space," Mason said. "And having these things all at once will make it a spectacular experience."

The new exhibits are:

"The American Soldier: A Photographic Tribute, from the Civil War to Iraq" (part of a traveling exhibit, on display through Dec. 30).

"Over Here, Over There: Ohioans in Times of War."

"Follow the Flag."

"Connecting to Your History."

Part of the historical society's greater mission is to install more interactive, bolder displays and put people in touch with historical objects, Mason said.

"I think that like in any industry, there's innovation on how you communicate," she said. "And our prior exhibits were fantastic for the era and thinking at the time. Now the thinking is to embrace and honor and acknowledge the visitor. It makes the history more relevant."

The other big item on the agenda is the Glorious Fourth celebration, to be held from noon to 5 p.m. Monday, July 4.

Ohio Village, the model 19th-century settlement adjacent to the main property, will host such activities as the "Grand Procession," a parade in which spectators are encouraged to join, as well as a concert by the Ohio Village Singers, a community dance and a pie-eating contest. In addition, there will be a vintage "base ball" game by the Ohio Village Muffins.

Admission to the event is $12 for adults ($10 for historical society members), $9 for children between the ages of 6 and 12 ($7 for society members) and free for children 5 and under. Admission to the Ohio History Center is free with admission.

"Through the sacrifices, courage and patriotism of Americans, and especially the American military, we are able to celebrate our freedoms every Fourth of July," said Burt Logan, executive director of the historical society. "We invite everyone to come to the Ohio Village for the Glorious Fourth to celebrate these freedoms with us and to enjoy our patriotic exhibits in the Ohio History Center."

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