Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Campaign for the Mahoning Valley History Center

The Mahoning Valley Historical Society is pleased to announce the completion of the plans for the restoration and renovation of the historic Harry Burt/Ross Radio building to create the new Mahoning Valley History Center in downtown Youngstown. To date, the Historical Society’s Campaign for the Mahoning Valley History Center has raised $4,346,190, which is 72% of the campaign goal of $6 million.

Founding donors include the Frank and Pearl Gelbman Foundation, Mr. and Mrs. Paul J. Thomas, and Jeanne D. Tyler. Other lead gifts include contributions from the John S. and Doris M. Andrews Memorial Fund, the Ward Beecher Foundation, the John and Loretta Hynes Foundation, the City of Youngstown, Roberta Marsteller Hannay, the Pollock Personal and Company Foundations, and Mary Alice B. Schaff.

The Campaign is introducing its public phase to incorporate broad-based community support. In celebration of local entrepreneurship and the creation of the Good Humor® brand, the Historical Society is launching the Harry Burt Donor Bar campaign. The public is invited to purchase a metal plaque imprinted with an ice cream bar—inspired by Harry Burt’s invention of the Good Humor® ice cream bar on a stick—to be produced by Wendell August Forge in Grove City, Pennsylvania. The plaques will include an engraving of the donor’s choosing, and be permanently displayed in the History Center.

“The partnership between the Historical Society and Wendell August Forge is perfect," says Campaign Director Carol Potter, "these two historic entities both have a tradition in hand-crafted materials. These tiles will be a great addition to the architecture of the historic History Center building.”

Donor Bars will be available in three giving levels: $125 for aluminum, $250 for bronze, and $500 for copper. For more information, please contact the Historical Society at 330-743-2589.

Renovation work will begin at the end of September. The new History Center is expected to be completed in the first half of 2012.

The Historical Society also is unveiling a new logo showing the two historic sites now under their operation. The Arms Family Museum will continue to operate as a historic home and museum, with a new focus on decorative arts and the Arts & Crafts design movement. The new History Center will feature exhibits on the history and heritage of the Mahoning Valley as well as provide new educational and meeting space.

"The History Center will be much more than a museum," says Executive Director Bill Lawson, "this will be a community center based the region's history that can be used to celebrate the life events that create a family's history. We hope that the wonderful ballroom and exhibit spaces become the backdrop for weddings, graduations, reunions, and dances. We want the community to feel at home in our building, and see their story told."