SeeOhioFirst.org is about to expand, thanks to a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. The award of $100,000 from the NEH Division of Public Programs will be used to redesign the Ohio Humanities’ heritage tourism website, adding interpretive content supported by a custom-designed web infrastructure. The project will engage scholars, community stakeholders, and technicians to present stories of Ohio’s heritage and culture.
SeeOhioFirst.org was first launched in 2012 as a repository for The New Ohio Guide, a series of driving tours narrated by humanities professionals. Created under a grant from the Ohio Department of Transportation, The New Ohio Guide has served as a template for additional tours of cultural heritage sites.
“The NEH grant will provide opportunities to expand our service to program partners, as well as to the travelling public. SeeOhioFirst.org will be redesigned to let cultural heritage organizations quickly and easily post information about their sites. It will be another tool to promote cultural heritage attractions to larger audiences,” said executive director Pat Williamsen. “For the heritage traveler, SeeOhioFirst.org will offer more than point-to-point itineraries across the state. With a digital platform, we can share endless stories about Ohio’s rich history and vibrant cultural scene. SeeOhioFirst.org will explain why people should visit Ohio and why they should linger here.”
Work on the project is underway. “We anticipate that the new site will be available for beta-testing and evaluation sometime next summer.” In the meantime, Ohio Humanities is crafting a request for proposals from organizations with cultural heritage material that might be repackaged as cultural heritage tourism products. Projects might include updating a walking tour or a historic district map, all of which can be added to SeeOhioFirst.org.
“After supporting heritage tourism in Ohio for many years and seeking to secure additional funding for SeeOhioFirst.org, the grant announcement from NEH was just about the best holiday gift I could have imagined,” said Williamsen.