Western Reserve Historical Society – The Wade Project Begins

CLEVELAND, OH – Your family helped support the cultural core of a city. Now, how can their experiences be leveraged to encourage future entrepreneurs and philanthropists?

The Wade Project is a new initiative at the Western Reserve Historical Society designed to tell the story of the Wade family, and to create an online model for studying individual family histories with a focus on institutional collaboration, research, and discovery. In addition to producing print and digital publication of key archival collections, The Wade Project will explore best practices in inter-institutional collaboration to create a model for understanding how Cleveland’s culture and economy was shaped over time by those who gave plentifully to a wide variety of institutions. This uniquely American interpretation of “giving back” to the community determined the role and impact that cultural organizations would have in American cities.

In 1881, Jeptha Homer Wade offered 75 acres of land along Doan Brook to the city of Cleveland for a park. It was one of the first large gifts of open space to the city. Cleveland’s Wade Park and the surrounding area—known today as University Circle—is home to more than a dozen museums and cultural institutions. It is a nationally and internationally respected cultural center. The role of the Wade family in the cultural and corporate growth of Cleveland continues to resonate today.

The driving need of influential families to create cultural legacies characterized a particular aspect of American philanthropy. To a great degree, these nineteenth and twentieth century gifts built the cultural infrastructure of the arts in America. The Wade project will focus on the Wade family’s historic legacy in Cleveland while serving as a resource and hub for collaborative projects with other institutions holding Wade materials. The project is supported by generous gifts from Mrs. Jeptha Homer Wade III, the George Garretson Wade Charitable Trust, and Theodore Sedgwick, US Ambassador to Slovakia.

The goal of the first phase of the project is to create an online and easily accessible repository of the family papers in the collections of Western Reserve Historical Society.  This repository will enable students and scholars to explore the complex—and often conflicting—decisions involved in the creation of America’s urban cultural centers in the late 19th century. The initial scholarly collaboration will center on the annotation of an extraordinary set of family travel journals.

Goals of later phases of The Wade Project are to encourage collaboration among scholars and the diverse institutions in the city holding Wade materials, to encourage and created discussion of best practices in inter-institutional collaboration, and to provide a model that allows access to records of other families who shaped the city’s culture and economy over time.

Dr. Holly Witchey, PhD., recently named Director of the project, brings 30+ years of museum curatorial and interpretive technology experience to the position and currently teaches graduate museum studies at both The Johns Hopkins University and Case Western Reserve University. She recently completed the transcription of the Randall Wade’s Travel Journals (1870-71).

Media Contact: Alyssa Purvis, apurvis@wrhs.org
(216) 721-5722 ext. 1407

New WRHS Exhibit Highlights Entrepreneurial Spirit of NEO

CLEVELAND, OH – The Western Reserve Historical Society is pleased to announce the unveiling of Entrepreneurship in the Western Reserve, an exhibit featuring individuals and businesses that took risks in creating new businesses and industries in Northeast Ohio. A graphic timeline for entrepreneurship in Cleveland from 1800-2000 will act as the background for the exhibit, which features four Western Reserve enterprises: Taylor Chair Company, Morgan Lithograph Company, Vlchek Tool Company, and Designs by Joan Luntz, Inc.

Taylor Chair was founded in 1816, building chairs for home and office use until 2012. Morgan Litho is still printing large format posters and displays after its beginnings in 1864. In fact, many of the large printed banners on display at the WRHS History Center in University Circle were created by Morgan Litho. Frank Vlcheck, an immigrant to the US from the Czech Republic, founded his tool company from a small shop in Cleveland and would eventually sell products on the national level. Joan Luntz began her design career in 1949 with designs for a breakthrough product for International Molded Plastics: “Brookpark”  dinnerware, the first successful dinnerware made of plastic marketed to the public.

“Supporting entrepreneurship as one of society’s main pillars is of the utmost importance to the Western Reserve Historical Society,” said Kelly Falcone-Hall, interim CEO at WRHS. “We educate schoolchildren on its key role in developing an economy and continue to honor the entrepreneurial figures in our community through the 100 Year Club of the Western Reserve. Our hope is to continue the conversation around the area’s entrepreneurial spirit through this exhibit and its future editions.”

The exhibit will be open to the public beginning Saturday, May 10, 2014. Multiple businesses and individuals will be featured within the exhibit as it develops over the next year. Each business has a feature section of its own within the exhibit, showing how they all have contributed to the overall picture of success in Northeast Ohio.

Media Contact: Alyssa Purvis, apurvis@wrhs.org
(216) 721-5722 ext. 1407

Are You ‘In Fashion’? Celebrate Fashion with WRHS!

CLEVELAND, OH – The Western Reserve Historical Society has a soft spot for fashion. It is apparent from its extensive costume and textile collection, which is comprised of more than 30,000 items from three centuries. On May 10, WRHS will highlight their collection as well as the Cleveland fashion community with the events of In Fashion. The day will feature a Tailored & Trendy Tea, a Trunk Show, and an exclusive look at pieces from the next exhibit in the Chisolm Halle Costume Wing: In Grand Style.

To start the day, visitors are invited to enjoy a Tailored & Trendy Tea in the splendor of the Hay-McKinney House. The tea begins at 10:30 am and will include light sandwiches, pastries, coffee, and tea. Guests are encouraged to dress to impress in the spirit of the program. This portion of the day’s events does require reservations in advance. Tickets are $25 for adults, $15 per child age 3-12, or $20 per member adult. Tickets can be purchased online at www.wrhs.org/calendar/fashion. After tea, guests can shop a Trunk Show in the Reinberger Gallery before or after they take advantage of one of the last weekends to view Dior & More – For the Love of Fashion, which closes May 24, 2014.

The Trunk Show will be an all-day event featuring local boutiques, designers, and artisans. Each vendor will be set up to display and sell their merchandise. Committed vendors include Beau Monde Vintage, Elizabeth Vilkas Design, Quilted Cat Designs, Washed Ashore Jewelry, Noto Akron, Simply Silver, and What a Great Hat. Additionally, the museum store will be featuring vintage jewelry, items from Cleveland Clothing, Inc., and a sale on Dior & More-related merchandise. Members of VIVA, a group specializing in vintage fashion shows, will also be modeling fashions from the 20th century, allowing you to imagine yourself riding in style in a classic car from the WRHS collection.

During “Off the Rack” at 1:00 pm, Dior & More – For the Love of Fashion guest curator Susan Neill will give an exclusive preview of the In Grand Style exhibit slated to open in November 2014. Neill, who will also guest curate In Grand Style, is an independent curator and museum consultant based in Chicago. Attendees will get an up close and personal look at select items from the WRHS costume and textile collection that embody the opulent lifestyles of high-society Clevelanders from the Gilded Age and Edwardian era through the 1920s. Although this program is included with general admission to the History Center, space is limited.

Media Contact: Alyssa Purvis, apurvis@wrhs.org 
(216) 721-5722 ext. 1407

Reenacting Community to be Honored at 6th Annual Legacy Award Benefit

BATH, Ohio – The Civil War Reenactment and Encampment that takes place at Hale Farm & Village attracts hundreds of reenactors each year. At this year’s Legacy Award Benefit, a fundraising gala, two groups of reenactors, the Army of the Ohio and the 6th Ohio Volunteer Cavalry, will take on a slightly different role as they receive recognition for being an integral part of the Civil War Reenactment event.

The 6th Ohio Volunteer Cavalry is one of the largest mounted cavalry reenacting units in the country. It is respected for its authenticity and historical knowledge of cavalry drill, tactics and dress. Participants come from as far away as Vermont, Wyoming and Arizona to ride with the 6th Ohio Volunteer Cavalry.

“The cavalry adds scale to the battle and to the sense of authenticity. Horses are no longer common sights in the 21st century, so the horses thundering through the fields help create the drama of the battle. And, the Army of the Ohio is the very buttoned down team that makes
everything on the battlefield run like a well-oiled machine. We obviously couldn’t recreate the battles of the Civil War without the reenactors, so we felt it was time to honor these stars of the event,” said Kelly Falcone-Hall, Interim CEO of the Western Reserve Historical Society.

The Legacy Award Benefit will take place on Saturday, May 17 at Hale Farm & Village. The spirit of the Civil War will carry throughout the event, with an encampment staged by reenactors in the fields beyond the Gatehouse and Civil War era artifacts on display for attendees to view.
Additionally, a live band will provide entertainment for guests as they enjoy cocktails and heavy hors d’ouevres throughout the evening.

“The reenacting community allows us to further our mission of Hale. The reenactors connect with children and adults adding to the power of the experience and the context of our artisans and interpreters in the 32 historic buildings on the grounds,” said Falcone-Hall. “We are honored
and delighted to have their leadership, passion, and love for American history on display during the event each year. Presenting these two reenactor groups with the Legacy Award during the Civil War’s sesquicentennial gives us the perfect stage to highlight the significance of their
involvement with Hale Farm’s annual reenactment, and very importantly, to thank them.”

The VIP Patron Party will begin at 6:00 pm and continue until the start of the award ceremony and main event at 7:00 pm. The Patron Party includes an exclusive cocktail preview hour with Civil War reenactor colonels and captains. Tickets to this exclusive part of the evening are $125 per person. Tickets to the Main Event, which begins at 7:00 pm, are $75 per person. Legacy Award Benefit tickets van be purchased online at www.halefarm.org or by phone at (330) 666-3711 ext. 1708. Proceeds from the event will support Hale Farm & Village.

Made in Ohio Art & Craft Festival Planned for Labor Day Weekend

BATH, OH – The richness of artistic abilities and talents from Ohio will be showcased August 31 at the 4th Annual Made in Ohio Art & Craft Festival at Hale Farm & Village, a living history museum of the Western Reserve Historical Society. Over 100 vendors with Ohio-made, Ohio-grown, and Ohio-produced arts, crafts, and foods will be in tents throughout the grounds.  The annual celebration of the arts and history of Northeast Ohio will be Saturday, August 31st from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Hale Farm & Village, located at 2686 Oak Hill Road, Bath. Due to bridge construction, please see the website for driving instructions and a map.

The Made in Ohio Art & Craft Festival is an outdoor event featuring Ohio artists and craftspeople, as well as local restaurants, all nestled in the history and idyllic scenery of Hale Farm & Village and the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Attendance has climbed to 1,500 – 2,500 visitors.  Admission to Hale Farm & Village is typically $10/adult. The specially discounted $5 admission fee for this event includes admission to the Festival as well the entire museum.

“The $5 discounted admission is a great value. It allows you to plan on this event as Labor Day weekend tradition. It truly is a family-friendly day that can accommodate as many guests as you want to bring—at a great price. We have 90 acres at Hale Farm & Village. There is plenty of room to visit the artists, take a stroll, enjoy the farm animals and gardens, and relax with refreshments from our vendors,” said Kelly Falcone, Senior Vice President of Interpretation and COO (WRHS).  “Join us for the Made in Ohio Art and Craft Festival and post your favorite photos on our Facebook page. We’d love to see what you enjoyed most about the festival.”

Vendors include jewelry artists, potters, carvers, glass artists, soap and lotions makers, quilters, painters, and a variety of craft artists. Musical entertainment and food vendors will be available.  Beer and wine may be purchased by adults.

Renee Flynn, independent artist, event founder and coordinator, says, “It’s exciting to promote Ohio artists and craftspeople. The talent coming from Ohio is amazing. Hale Farm & Village is a great venue to highlight their creations.”

Hale Farm & Village, a museum of the Western Reserve Historical Society, is Northeast Ohio’s premier outdoor living history museum depicting daily life for mid-19th century residents of the Western Reserve area.  Located in Bath, Ohio, Hale Farm & Village features dozens of historic structures, farm animals, heritage gardens and demonstrations such as glassblowing, candle-making, blacksmithing, and hearth cooking, bringing history to life for visitors of all ages. For more information on the Made in Ohio Festival, please visit the WRHS website or the Made in Ohio website and Facebook page.

Media contact: Renee Flynn, rflynn@wrhs.org

Young Historians Living Histories Video to Debut at CAAMFest

Contact: Alyssa Purvis, apurvis@wrhs.org
(216) 721-5722 ext. 1407

CLEVELAND, OH — In Fall of 2013, the Western Reserve Historical Society and the locally founded Asian Indian Heritage Project which serves Northeast Ohio, embarked on Young Historians, Living Histories. The project, funded through a grant from the Smithsonian Institution’s Youth Access Program, is a national project engaging under-served Asian Pacific American youth to deepen their understanding and appreciation of their history by conduction oral histories and film documentaries. The Western Reserve Historical Society brought together six local students in an effort to capture and record the oral histories of members of the Cleveland Asian Indian community. Over the course of three months, the students interviewed individuals and couples from the community and in January 2014, completed the creation of a six-minute video from the interview footage.

The video, which the students created and edited themselves, will premiere nationally on March 15 at CAAMFest 2014, a film festival produced by the Center for Asian American Media (CAAM).

“The students who worked on this project did an outstanding job capturing the oral histories of those in their community,” says Dr. John Grabowski, Senior VP for Research and Publications at WRHS, who led the project at WRHS. “The experience was enlightening for all involved, and I couldn’t be more proud of the team we assembled. The premiere at CAAMFest is a great celebration of the hard work that was done.”

The festival, which will take place in San Francisco, is the nation’s largest showcase for new Asian American and Asian films, annually presenting about 130 works. Since 1982, the CAAMFest has been an important launching point for Asian American independent filmmakers as well as a vital source for new Asian cinema. The Cleveland film is one of nine produced by those who worked on the Young Historians, Living Histories program at sites throughout the United States.

WRHS began its involvement in the program after being chosen as one of nine Smithsonian Affiliate partners for the project. With those funds, WRHS was able to purchase video equipment used for the project and provide modest stipends to the students involved in the project. The selection process for both the students and interviewees began shortly after, with constructive and insightful input from AIHP and the Asian Indian community. The student videographers/Interviewers were: Aekta Chowksey, Debolina Ghosh, Pranav Idnany, Krish Lamba, Trisha Roy, and Shivani Yerigeri. The video editors were: Debolina Ghosh and Krish Lamba. The Interviewees were: Dr. Ranajit Datta, Dr. Ivan Tewarson, R. Balasubramaniam, Dr. Elizabeth Balraj and Mr. Winfred Balraj, Dr. Shanta Kampani and Mr. Surinder Kampani, and Dr. Saroj Aggarwal and Mr. Shiv Aggarwal. Two students and one AIHP representative will represent the group and introduce the final video for its world premiere at CAAMFest.

The Smithsonian Institution’s Office of the Assistant Secretary for Education and Access manages the Youth Access Grants program. The project is a collaboration between the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center, Smithsonian Affiliations, and the Center for Asian American Media. The goal of the program is to encourage young historians to explore and better understand the history and culture of the Asian American experience while at the same time, learning to utilize new technologies.

What’s it worth? Find out at Antiques Appraisal Day with Wes Cowan

CLEVELAND, OH – From Bakelite jewelry, to dusty bikes or political posters, every day, regular people are discovering value in something they found around the house. On Saturday, April 26, The Western Reserve Historical Society presents Antique Appraisal Day with Wes Cowan. As experts in American antiques and collectibles, the Ohio-based team of appraisers from Cowan’s Auctions will evaluate books, manuscripts, photographs, decorative arts, paintings, political ephemera, and jewelry.

“Sometimes the value of an object can exceed expectations. The anticipation is part of the fun. When you come to Antiques Appraisal Day on April 26, you not only get an appraisal, but admission to the History Center. So whether you end up thrilled with the value of your item or not, you are welcome to tour our other exhibits, or to shop in our beautiful Museum Store,” said Kelly Falcone-Hall, Interim CEO, Western Reserve Historical Society.

Appraisals for WRHS Members begin at 9:00 a.m., with $5 for first item and $10 for the second. For the general public, appraisals will start at 10:00 a.m. with $15 for first item and $10 for second. There is a limit of two hand-carried items per person. Appraisals will take place on a first-come, first-served basis so guests are advised to arrive as early as possible. Admission can be secured online in advance of the April 26 event.

Wes Cowan, founder, owner, and principal auctioneer of Cowan’s Auctions, Inc. in Cincinnati, Ohio, travels all over the country appraising heirlooms on the PBS show Antiques Roadshow and digging up clues on the hit show History Detectives, also on PBS. Appraisers from Cowan’s Auctions will also be present at the event, and include Diane Wachs, Graydon Sikes, and Brad Wanstrath.

“Trends change as to what we see at appraisal events,” said Wes Cowan. “There is a renewed interest in ‘mid-century’ items. We see more decorative arts, posters, and jewelry now from that period than we have in the past. There is a market for it.” He continued, “We are in the process of opening an office in the Cleveland area. This is a big step for us. This will be our first office beyond our Cincinnati office. We are looking forward to this Antique Appraisal Day event to reacquaint ourselves with many friends and clients in the Cleveland-area. And, if you haven’t met our team yet, we encourage you to bring a couple of items of yours that you are curious about to the History Center on Saturday, April 26.”

Schedule and pricing:
9:00 am – 10:00 am
Exclusively for WRHS Members:
$5 for first item; $10 for second item. Limit two items

10:00 am – 4:00 pm.
General Admission, including members:
$15 for first item; $10 for second item. Limit two items

Parking is available in the lot off Magnolia Drive. A Special Event parking fee of $8.00 is in effect. There is additional limited street parking.

The Western Reserve Historical Society History Center is located in Cleveland’s University Circle at 10825 East Boulevard. Museum hours are Tuesday – Saturday 10:00am – 5:00pm and Sunday, Noon – 5:00pm. Western Reserve Historical Society members and children two and under are free of charge. The research library is open Thursday – Saturday 10:00 am to 5:00 pm. Admission is $10 for adults, $10 and $5 for children 3-12. Group rates are available. Parking lot fees are paid at the admission desk during museum hours.