The Upper Arlington Historical Society has launched a new event series designed to provide raise funds for the organization while fulfilling its mission to help the community discover, preserve and celebrate local history.

A March 4 engagement from New York Times bestselling author Richard Rothstein at Jones Middle School kicked off the historical society's new "HistorySpeaks 2020" series.

The series will follow with events planned throughout the year to help with the education of Upper Arlington's history and celebrate its people, places and historic moments while also seeking to generate revenues to support the ongoing operation of the historical society.

"The society's purpose is to discover, preserve and celebrate Upper Arlington's history, and the monies raised from our HistorySpeaks 2020 fundraiser allow us to present a series of events which do exactly that," said Melanie Circle Brown, Upper Arlington Historical Society executive director. "We created HistorySpeaks to be able to offer creative and educational programming on a variety of historical topics which will appeal to different audiences."

Brown said it's important to note that the historical society is a self-funded nonprofit organization.

"Several years ago, we held house and garden tours," she said.

"Four years ago, we initiated the Historic Trolley Tours of UA and created three different trolley tours: History 101; The Spirit of Community; and the 1918 tour, which was written as part of UA's Centennial. This is the first year we've tried the HistorySpeaks program."

In addition to Rothstein's appearance, the HistorySpeaks program will seek to springboard off the events the historical society has developed in recent years.

An heirloom gardening program will be June 10 at the historical Miller Farm Ice House, which is at First Community Village, 1800 Riverside Drive.

Additional HistorySpeaks events include a Walking Tour of Historic UA on Sept. 20, featuring homes designed by architect and 1939 Ohio State University graduate Robert R. Royce.

A date hasn't been set for the Celebration of Veterans and Camp Willis Era Reenactment, but it will take place in October.

"It's possible other programs may develop throughout the year, but these four are definite," Brown said. "The society takes its role as the chief stewards of Upper Arlington's history very seriously and to continue to thrive we depend on the annual support of friends and fundraising sponsors, like those who supported HistorySpeaks 2020."

The historical society consists of Brown and assistant director Kristin Greenberg, both of whom are paid, part-time employees.

The historical society also has a board of trustees and other volunteers who help the organization stage various programs throughout the year.

Brown said there isn't a specific fundraising goal for the HistorySpeaks series, but the historical society hopes to make enough to continue programming and to stay afloat for future years.

"The proceeds will also be used to maintain our archives, create public displays, like at the library, and create history presentations to share with community organizations," she said. "We recognized a need to create more touch points within the community, so we have stepped up our social media efforts, our accessibility and frequency of programming (and) responded to residents' wishes.

"We (also) are developing a strategic plan to guide us for the next few years. We don't currently have a dedicated public space (or) office but would like to in order to be more accessible."

Additional information about the historical society and HistorySpeaks 2020 programming is available at uahistory.org.

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