Engage, teach and inspire.
That’s the mission of Cleveland’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, but when its CEO Greg Harris taught us his mission statement he used it as a rallying cry for history in Ohio.
Historic Preservation Advocate Nancy Kotting and I took part in Ohio History Connection’s Statehood Day advocacy March 1.
German Village Society leaders and members always attend to help spread the good news about preservation, history and heritage, and to find out how German Village can lend expertise and be part of team history in Ohio.
We are always surrounded in the Capitol on Statehood Day by our esteemed colleagues who work day in and day out to preserve history, tell stories and engage residents and visitors alike in what makes Ohio’s history unique.
But it hadn’t occurred to me before that our colleagues include the rock hall.
They conserve Stratocasters and we work on bricks, mortar, sandstone and wrought iron; but it is the stories of the people who touched those tools – guitar or otherwise – that makes history relevant.
That’s where we engage, teach and inspire.
As Nancy and I spoke with our state representatives in Sen. Charleta Tavares’ office and Rep. Kristin Boggs, we had lots of people stories to share.
We talked about the 25 groups of third-graders who visit us each year to learn about the Germans who left their homeland to find refuge and prosperity in Columbus – even those crazy brothers who built the mismatched double on Beck Street.
But we also told the story of you. Members of the German Village Society have been leading the preservation movement since 1960, and we haven’t even taken one day off in the meantime.
We told them about our Visitors Center, entirely staffed by volunteers and welcoming up to 10,000 people a year (yeah, that got their attention).
We talked about the 1,000-plus of you who support our efforts with your treasure, and the 400 who make it happen with their time and talent.
And here’s what we heard back:
Sen. Tavares knows our mix of business and residence intimately from her time on City Council, and she knows we’ve been organized and effective for decades.
Rep. Boggs said she knows German Village is the central Ohio leader in preservation and thinks we can have an impact on every district in Franklin County by being a mentor, leader, helper and friend.
It is your collective story for nearly six decades that allows us to engage, teach and inspire. And that makes you pretty rock star.
German Village Society Executive Director Shiloh Todorov submitted the Village Notebook column.