The Ohio Historical Society is celebrating a recent charitable gift from a local utility company and also has introduced two new permanent exhibits that explore the state's rich archaeological and architectural history.

The Ohio Historical Society is celebrating a recent charitable gift from a local utility company and also has introduced two new permanent exhibits that explore the state’s rich archaeological and architectural history.

“Following in Ancient Footsteps” and “Buildings, Places and Spaces” are the latest exhibits at the historical society, 1982 Velma Ave. on the North Side of Columbus.

The former exhibit presents examples of archaeological discoveries in Ohio and includes archaeological collections, dioramas and large earthwork models. The latter shows visitors how an event, such as the shootings at Kent State University in 1970, can lead to a listing on the National Register of Historic Places. Other exhibit features include video demonstrations on how to preserve old windows and wood-building details, as well as photos with ideas that explain why someone might consider rehabbing a building.

“They both have to do with place, a very interesting component,” said Jane Mason, director of marketing and communications for the historical society. “It’s also related to culture — culture and place go together.

“When people think about archaeology they sometimes think of the artifacts, which is true. That also ties into the study of historic preservation. We still have the artifacts of the culture from the doorknobs to the church spires. So although those exhibits might be separated by thousands of years, they still relate to people and place.”

Meanwhile, the historical society has completed a major renovation of its lobby, thanks to a $150,000 gift from the AEP Foundation.

“This gift helps provide a more accessible, truly welcoming space to invite visitors into the various programs, services and functions within the Ohio History Center,” said Burt Logan, executive director of the historical society, in a prepared statement.

Mason said the entrance is functional and aesthetically pleasing, with a brighter look, new flooring, an updated reception desk and improved lighting. The improvements encompassed more than 20,000 square feet of new space.

“Part of what was appealing to AEP is there’s a much greater commitment to easily accommodating large school groups,” Mason said.