The UT Urban Affairs Center


Exploring the Public Value of Ohio's History

The object of this report is to explore this question: What is the public value of history and historic preservation in Ohio? From the report's Executive Summary:

History plays a defining role in the formation of our personal and democratic ideologies, and how we internalize, interpret, and use that history speaks volumes about who we are. However, like the study of geography, the emphasis on the study of history has waned. In the face of aggressive STEM-focused curriculum, what is the role, or necessity, of teaching history or social studies?

Measuring an abstract concept like public value is no simple task. This project used four surveys in an attempt to capture the multitude of benefits of employment and tourism, but also the civic enrichment of educated, engaged citizens. We also found evidence of of the worth of Ohio's history on a personal level; these historic sites and museums give people a sense of pride, conjure fond memories, and offer a place for family and time and special events.

The results of our research, along with associated materials, are available below (all are PDF documents):