Local historians have launched a new effort to celebrate the community's heritage and inspire others to learn about and promote their hometown history.

Local historians have launched a new effort to celebrate the community's heritage and inspire others to learn about and promote their hometown history.

Beginning in today's issue of ThisWeek Pickerington, the Pickerington-Violet Township Historical Society will feature a 14-week series of photographs and historical information about some of the community's most famous buildings, people and events, as well as some lesser-known historical items.

The "Then & Now" series will promote the group's historical museum, located at 15 E. Columbus St., as well as the people and events that have shaped Pickerington and Violet Township for more than two centuries.

In addition, the historical society's efforts will include a partnership with the Olde Pickerington Village Business Association, which will schedule "First Friday" events on the first Friday of each month in Olde Pickerington Village. The series of themed events will both promote the community's history by looking back in time, as well as invite people to peruse the current happenings in Pickerington's historic district.

"We'd like to generate some public interest in local history and increase our membership, and also get more people to the museum," said Peggy Portier, historian for the Pickerington-Violet Township Historical Society. "Our community really has exploded, populationwise, in the last 20 years, and most people here didn't grow up in the area.

"We'd like them to learn about our history."

This week's Then & Now features a photo and information about the Pickerington-Violet Township Historical Society Museum, which was built in 1916 through funds from Scottish-American business tycoon Andrew Carnegie.

The building served as Pickerington's public library until 1993, when the library moved to its current location at 201 Opportunity Way.

In addition to the weekly pieces in ThisWeek, the historical society is planning "History Hops" to run in conjunction with the OPVBA's First Friday events.

Future events will give residents a chance to dress in the garb of early Pickerington and Violet Township settlers and be photographed for a $5 donation.

The historical society also plans to bring back a strawberry social.

"It was kind of a big event but it went by the wayside," Portier said. "We're trying to bring that back in June."

Portier and historical society president Gary Taylor hope the new effort, which combines education with entertainment, will boost local interest in the historical society. They hope to increase attendance to the museum, which is open every Saturday and is free to visit.

They want to increase membership in the historical society, as well.

The public is invited to attend the society's first general membership meeting of the year, to be held at 7:30 p.m. tonight, April 1, in the museum's basement and will feature a blacksmith demonstration.

"We'd like to have the museum open more hours, but we just don't have the volunteers," Portier said. "We want to increase membership and increase the knowledge of our heritage.

"There's so much history here and it's really interesting stuff," she said. "There's something for everyone, too. Adults, kids, everyone."

nellis@thisweeknews.com