YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – This week’s Hometown Heroes work tirelessly to preserve our area’s history for generations to come.
In total, the Mahoning Valley Historical Society has 60 staff members and volunteers, all dedicated to telling the stories of our past, present and future.
“We have been around for a very long time,” said Historical Society Director Bill Lawson.
For more than 140 years, the Historical Society has been driven by a mission to collect, preserve and teach the history of the people of the Mahoning Valley.
“The ‘people’ I think is the most important word in there because it’s about the many generations that have lived here,” Lawson said.
The Historical Society had their first public museum donated to them in 1961, which became the Arms Family Museum.
They also operate the Tyler Mahoning Valley History Center.
“Which is our newest and biggest expansion project over the last 10 years. We have our archives, which is located in the Tyler History Center, and we have the business and media archives, which is collecting and celebrating our region’s very rich radio and television broadcasting history,” Lawson said.
Lawson says without the tireless work of the staff and volunteers, none of this would be possible.
“These are the people that make it happen day after day in all aspects of what we do — education, curating and managing our collection, reaching out to the community and seeking funds in the community to keep our operations going,” Lawson said.
As a non-profit, the Historical Society relies heavily on income from endowment funds and the generosity of the public, among other things.
“We wouldn’t be here if we didn’t have an audience,” Lawson said.
One that keeps growing! Just this past weekend, over $20,000 was raised for the Historical Society at their 8th annual Cookie Table and Cocktails event — their biggest fundraiser of the year.
“That will support capital improvements here at the Tyler History Center and Arms Family Museum in the coming year,” Lawson said.
On behalf of everyone at the Historical Society, Lawson said he and those who spend so much time creating this ever-changing time capsule are truly honored to be recognized for the work they do.
“It means to us that it’s all worth it,” he said.
As you can imagine, the Historical Society has an enormous collection.
Lawson says over the next few years, they’ll be working to do more with the Arms Family Museum in terms of exhibits and education.
They’re also working to better safeguard their artifacts with high-quality storage and more space as they continue to grow.