AN AFFILIATION agreement recently signed between the Ohio Historical Society and the Smithsonian Institution gives the Buckeye State potential access to some of the 136 million items held by the Smithsonian.
In addition, it will provide greater exposure for Ohio, because some of the state's historical treasures may be displayed at the Smithsonian.
The two-way agreement will permit some of the Smithsonian's collection to be exhibited temporarily in Ohio. Just think, residents will be able to see some of these unusual items without traveling to Washington, D.C.
Being able to display Smithsonian items also will help the state's historical society which in recent years has been adjusting to funding cuts.
This affiliation also will provide training opportunities for OHS staff members.
KNOWN as the world's largest museum and research complex, the Smithsonian Institution is the result of a $500,000 estate left by James Smithson, an Englishman, in 1829. The money was "to found at Washington, under the name of the Smithsonian Institution, an establishment for the increase and diffusion of knowledge among men."
No one knows why Smithson made this bequest, because he never traveled to the Untied States, and it appears he had no correspondence with anyone in this country.
Although it appears his motives will remain a mystery, the United States owes a great debt to this Englishman who never set foot on our shores. The institution itself was created in 1846.
It now includes 19 museums plus the National Zoological Park and nine research facilities.
The OHS, founded 39 years later, administers 58 historic sites and is one of the largest statewide networks of historic sites and museums in the nation with 300 buildings and almost 5,000 acres of land.
In October, the OHS received three Awards of Merit from the American Association of State and Local History, and this is more Leadership in History awards than any organization this year.
THE NEW partnership between the Smithsonian and OHS appears to be a situation in which everybody wins.