Grant helps Holmes Historical Society recover from COVID

MILERSBURG – The Holmes County Historical Society has received a $ 20,000 grant for entertainment venues from the Ohio Development Service Agency and plans to hold onto the money in case another coronavirus shutdown occurs.

The grants were awarded based on the loss of tourism dollar revenue due to COVID-19. Museums and historic sites have been included. Each county has received up to $ 150,000 in grants.

Holmes County Historical Society executive director Mark Boley said the company weathered the COVID storm fairly well with multiple revenue streams, but lost nearly 50% of its tourism revenue from 2019 to 2020.

“The criterion for the grant we requested was to replace lost revenue from tourism revenue we had from the previous year,” Boley said. “We had to show where we lost and how bad it was. Basically we would have had this money in our general fund, covering basic general expenses like mortgages, rent, utilities, and salaries. There are all kinds of things you can use this grant for. “

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Hanging on to dollars for fear of another COVID crisis

Boley said there were no immediate plans to spend the grant funds other than an IT upgrade.

“We’re so nervous about everything that’s happened over the last couple of years, now that we have it, we kind of want to keep that money for as long as we can, anticipating other crises.” that will come out of the COVID woodwork. Who would have thought that now we would still have to worry about it. “

The director reports that this summer has been an excellent year for the Historical Society and its tours.

“We cannot ask for better than what we have had so far,” he said. “Hopefully this will continue until the holidays, when we increase it for the winter.”

Boley said despite COVID in 2020, the holiday season with all of its restrictions, was still an average year.

“We hope for a further rise following our summer,” he said. “It really depends on how long this thing persists. Some bus groups have been canceled for October. Tourist activity by bus has been declining since it all started. This will be the last thing to remember.

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Towards 2022 and a certain normality

“Hopefully next year we’ll get back to pretty much normal,” Boley said. “Overall, throughout the COVID period, we have actually been very successful, in terms of other sources of income, like donation support and PPE loans. Also, the little tourism we had last year really helped.

He added that the grant essentially replaces what has been lost.

The Holmes County Historical Society has fared well compared to other historical societies and museums in the state.

Some of the larger organizations have been hit harder than the smaller ones because they have more stakes, with paid staff and the logistics of trying to run a home museum.

“Now they have staff issues, like so many other places, unlike us small companies, which depend on volunteers. We don’t have as many paid staff, ”Boley said. “All in all, I think we weathered the storm pretty well. “

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The Millersburg Glass Museum is part of the Holmes County Historical Society, which received a grant to help recoup some of the lost income from 2020.

The Holmes County Historical Society, 484 Wooster Road, Millersburg, includes the Victorian House Museum and the Millersburg Glass Museum.

For more information, visit www.holmeshistory.com or call 330-674-0022.

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