Greater Midwest Programmers Retreat

 July 25-27, 2019

Columbus, Ohio


Greater Midwest Programmers Retreat – Conference and Hopewell Ceremonial Earthworks Site Visit


Conference Schedule

July 25, 2019

1. Sheraton Conference Center, Ground Floor, House Room

9:00 – 10:00 a.m.: Registration and Breakfast

10:00 – 10:30 a.m.: Welcome and Introductions

10:30 – 11:30 a.m.: Community-Engaged Projects Open Forum

Humanities councils do community-based projects in many different ways. This session will give participants an opportunity to share their experiences planning, executing, and evaluating strategic community-based initiatives and learn from others’ successes and challenges.

Facilitated by Robert Colby, Ohio Humanities program officer.

11:45 am – 12:30 p.m.: Brain Trust: Concurrent Breakout Sessions, Grants/Programs

Bring your program challenges, opportunities, questions, and struggles to the group and ask for friendly advice and feedback on all manner of grantmaking and programming work.

Grants facilitated by David Merkowitz, Ohio Humanities assistant director. Programs facilitated by Samantha Chase, Ohio Humanities program coordinator.

12:30 – 2:00 p.m.:  Lunch

2. Ohio Statehouse, Governor Thomas Worthington Center

2:00 – 4:00 p.m.: Active Planning for Thinkin’ and Drinkin’

Consider this challenge: You and your colleagues are program staff at a Midwest state humanities council that has large cities, wealthy suburbs, and expansive post-industrial rural areas. Your new strategic plan includes addressing the urban/rural divide. You have been tasked by your Executive Director to plan and execute a single statewide “Thinking & Drinking” program addressing the urban/rural divide using the theme of civics/civility/civil discourse. It must: a) include compelling texts that speak to the topic of civics/civility/civil discourse; b) have an intentional facilitation protocol; c) be fun! A pilot version of the program will be held in the evening (see below).

Facilitated by Matt Meacham, Illinois Humanities program manager.

4:00 – 5:00 p.m.: Optional self-guided visit to Ohio Statehouse Museum and Salmon P. Chase Education Center.

6:00 – 7:30 p.m.: Dinner


3. Landgrant Brewing Company, Kickstarter Room

8:00 – 9:30 p.m.: Thinkin’ and Drinkin’

Join colleagues for a night of buy-your-own beer and humanities-rich, civically minded conversation at one of Columbus’ favorite local brewpubs in the Franklinton Arts District.


July 26, 2019

8:00 a.m.: Meet Sam Chase for a .7 mile, 15-minute walk to German Village Society (free bus available or scooter/rideshare)


4. German Village Society, Fest Hall

8:30 – 9:30 a.m.: Breakfast

9:30 – 10:30 a.m.: Professional Development: Leading from the Middle + Looking Towards the Future

What does leadership look like as program staff? This session will examine how program staff lead, and how to prepares for future leadership roles. Participants will share their experiences and start to map out a set of guiding concepts for leadership at all levels.

Facilitated by Jennifer Rupp, Michigan Humanities Council director of federal and state grants. 

10:45 – 12:00 p.m. : Heritage Now.

Heritage means different things to different people. For some, it has unsavory nationalistic undertones. For others, it has the social justice implications of Critical Heritage Studies. This session will look at council-conducted and grant-funded projects to explore the practices, principles, and politics of heritage.

Facilitated by Paul Durica, Illinois Humanities director of programs.

German Village, Brick Line

12:15 – 12:30 p.m.: Presentation on Ohio Humanities-funded Brick Line project by Nancy Kotting, German Village Society Historic Preservation Advocate

12:30 – 1:00 p.m.: Walk .1 miles to lunch along GVS’s Brick Line.

5. Lindey’s

1:00 – 2:30 p.m.: Lunch hosted by Ohio Humanities at “The Mohawk Room” at Lindey’s

2:30 – 3:30 p.m.: Free time to explore German Village

German Village Society, Fest Hall

3:30 – 5:00 p.m.: Midwest Collaboration: Themes, Ideas, Possibilities, Pitfalls

Midwest councils have collaborated in the past on shared projects. In light of upcoming Federation conferences in Indianapolis (2020) and Detroit (2021), should we consider Midwest collaboration opportunities? What other ways can we capitalize on this opportunity?

Facilitated by Leah Nahmias, Indiana Humanities director of programs and community engagement and Katie Wittenauer, Michigan Humanities Council director of programs.


Field trip – Contested Heritage: Hopewell Ceremonial Earthworks site visit and UNESCO World Heritage list inscription

July 27, 2019

6. Hopewell Ceremonial Earthworks, Newark 

8:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.: Site Visit

Who owns heritage? Who owns the interpretation of the past? These are some of the important questions we will raise during the visit to the ancient American Indian Hopewell Ceremonial Earthworks, the largest geometric earthworks complex in the world and now a candidate for UNESCO World Heritage List inscription. The visit will include guided tours of the Great Circle Earthworks and the Octagon Earthworks with Brad Lepper, Curator of Archaeology for the Ohio History Connection, and Jennifer Aultman, World Heritage Director for the Ohio History Connection. Jen and Brad will discuss the current state of research and interpretation at this important pre-Colombian complex, including geometry and lunar alignments, as well as recent attempts to secure greater access to the Octagon Earthworks.


Robbins Hunter Museum, Granville

1:00 – 2:30 p.m.: Lunch and Tour

Following the Hopewell Ceremonial Earthworks visit, we will stop for a gourmet box lunch and tour of the Robbins Hunter Museum in nearby Granville. The Robbins Hunter Museum is housed in the Avery-Downer House, one of the finest examples of Greek Revival architecture in the United States. The visit will include a tour of the home, the whimsical addition added by antique dealer Robbins Hunter and the Victoria Woodhull clock-tower. 

Home to Denison University, Granville was founded in 1805 by a group from Granville, Massachusetts, and bears an indelible New England stamp.


[Note: the bus will leave the Sheraton at 8:00 a.m. for the 45-minute trip to Newark. Attendees are welcome to bring their luggage on the secure bus, which will make a stop-off at the John Glenn International Airport on the way back to Columbus, by 3:30 p.m.]