Eight Butler County institutions were awarded grants from the W. E. Smith Family Charitable Trust’s most recent round of funding for historical projects.
The Trust, which was established by the estate of longtime Oxford residents Ophia, an author of local histories, and former chair of Miami University’s history department W.E. Smith, has awarded over $108,000 in small grants to local institutions.
Dick Sollman, chair of the Trust’s advisory board, said continually handing out these small grants to low-budget historical projects matches the wishes of the Smith family, and are in-line with the words of W.E. Smith, in particular.
“He said that the history of this country was not a top-down development. It was hundreds and thousands of mini, local activities and incidents that were documented that built the history and the fabric of our country,” Sollman said. “By funding these, we feel it’s right in keeping with their whole philosophy as a family and in how important the study of history is.”
In Butler County, that means $28,700 will be split among eight institutions that seek to educate or preserve the county’s history. Often, the awarded money will help those institutions with day-to-day operations.
For the county’s Historical Society, the grant means that it has the funding to update its computer software to the museum industry-standard, while also being able to produce pamphlets and updated placards for its well-received Weddings of Butler County exhibit, and special acid-free boxes to safely preserve historical textiles.
Kathy Creighton, the executive director of the Butler County Historical Society, said the grant will allow the society to update its exhibit and safely store its 50 Butler County wedding dresses. The oldest such dress, she said, dates back to the 1840s.
The Butler County historical society received $4,040 in this round of funding, Creighton said. Specific figures for the rest of the grant-winning institutions, including Atrium Medical Center, Friends of Chrisholm, MIami University Foundation, Middletown Historical Society, Smith Library of Regional History, Talawanda Middle School and West Chester / Union Township Historical Society were not made available.
Sollman said applications for the season’s grant funding included “requests for support of museum displays and storage materials and equipment, community outreach programs, collections management and care, publishing projects and events, archival projects and school programs.”
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