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Summer Adventures into Central Ohio History image

By Amber Ginter, ‘19

Every summer, Ohio Christian University offers monthly on-campus and online courses ranging from Math Systems to Music Fundamentals, Psychology, and Ohio History. The courses carry college credit and exciting field adventures.

In teaching central Ohio history, Professor Michael Burchett provides hands-on activities. Most students are teacher education majors, interested in local history for creating more effective and interactive lessons.

Trips to Logan's Elm, Adena Mansion and Gardens, The Ohio History Connection, and Tecumseh bring the subject to life, and the course lectures highlight distinguishing between errors in folklore compared to historical events that robustly reference sources.

Students visit Logan’s Elm in Logan Elm Village, Ohio, that preserves the memory of Chief Logan. Honoring American Indians and settlers during the late 18th century, the memorial marks where Logan delivered his 1774 ‘Logan’s Lament’ as negotiations to end Lord Dunmore’s War was taking place at Camp Charlotte.

Touring Adena Mansion and Gardens in Chillicothe and The Ohio History Connection Museum in Columbus, students glimpsed the life of Thomas Worthington, “Father of Ohio Statehood.” Books, artifacts, pictures, and recreations of scenes revealed stories behind these prominent families and political figures.

Exploring Ohio History Connection, students saw its archives. Burchett explains, “Though teachers of history have lecture and reading courses, many never visit an archive and have little idea how historians work. Perusing Thomas Worthington’s papers on microfilm and touching a box of early canal records brings lessons to life, creates lasting impressions.”

Senior Dakota Famer, discovering a handwritten receipt of goods that passed through the canal at Circleville in 1856, is mesmerized by the document. Sophomore Caley Uhrig exclaims, “I shuddered, thinking how old these documents are as I held them, instead of viewing them through glass. It’s awesome.” 

After exploring from St. Claire to Tecumseh, this course ends with The Tecumseh Outdoor Drama. Students learn of Tecumseh’s ascension, gaining an understanding of Ohio’s early development. Through the boom of cannons, smoke fire explosions, and Native Tribe rituals, audiences held onto their seats from start to finish during the two-and-a-half-hour performance. Located in the Sugarloaf Mountain Amphitheatre, Tecumseh portrays a breathtaking dramatic event of Ohio’s path to freedom, political leadership, and bravery.

Presented by acclaimed actors from all over the world, Tecumseh has sold over 4 million seats, hosted 45 summer seasons, and revealed its beauty to over 5,000 artists since 1973.  Depicting life during the late 1700’s, Tecumseh narrates the ancient events of a legendary Shawnee leader’s struggles to defend his sacred homelands.  The first act describes “Natives vs. Pioneers” acted out in small skirmishes. The second is packed full of action of “Military vs. Natives” in the Battles of Tippecanoe, Thames, and the War of 1812. British and Americans admired Tecumseh. As a Shawnee leader and war chief, Tecumseh led a multi-tribe confederacy during the early 19th century. 

Saying “We had a blast,” several students ended the course with this fun, informative program. Former student Justin Hamilton remarks, “It is amazing to know these sites lie within an hour of my own home. The course opened my eyes to the resources I overlooked in my home state.”

This course whetted appetites for learning through exploring the history of central Ohio.  

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