Southern Lorain County Historical Society receives $17,000 Ohio History Fund grant

The Southern Lorain County Historical Society (SLCHS), located in Wellington, has been awarded a $17,419 a grant through the Ohio History Connection’s History Fund for Phase 2 of its Willard Initiative. This grant money will help professionally preserve the second of three large, Masonic-themed murals painted by Archibald Willard that were donated to the Spirit of ’76 Museum in 2017. 

“All of our museum trustees are so grateful to the Ohio History Fund for this opportunity,” said SLCHS Board President Tim Rolfe. “These one-of-a-kind murals are remarkable works of art that really showcase the talent of Willard and drive home the importance of preserving the history that comes from small communities like ours.”    

The historical society previously received an $18,000 grant through the Ohio History Fund to preserve the first of the murals in 2019, which is now on display in the Willard collection on the first floor of the museum. Once restored, the second mural will join this collection, along with 48 other paintings Willard created throughout his life, including the famous Spirit of ’76.   

The Ohio History Connection granted over $185,000 through the Ohio History Fund in 2023. Now in its tenth year, the competitive matching grants program is one of six “tax check-off” funds found on Ohio’s income tax forms. It is funded entirely though contributions made by Ohio taxpayers and is a way for Ohioans to support local history and preservation projects around the state.

Rolfe, along with fellow Trustee Scott Markel, attended the Statehood Day celebrations at the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus on March 2 for the announcement of grant recipients.

The Spirit of ’76 Museum is open to the public on weekends, April through October, but tours can be scheduled year-round. To find out more information, visit the museum’s website at or call 440-647-4367.

Southern Lorain County Historical Society is funded in part by the Ohio History Fund, a grant program of the Ohio History Connection. Your donations to the Ohio History Fund make this program possible. @ohiohistory #HistoryFund #OhioHistoryConnection

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