Ohio History Connection is a non-profit organization incorporated in 1885 as The Ohio State Archaeological and Historical Society "to promote a knowledge of archaeology and history, especially in Ohio". Until May 24, 2014, the organization was known as the Ohio Historical Society. Ohio History Connection exists to interpret, preserve, collect, and make available evidence of the past, and to provide leadership on furthering knowledge, understanding, and appreciation of the prehistory and history of Ohio and of the broader cultural and natural environments of which Ohio is a part. Its predecessor was founded by Brig. Gen. Roeliff Brinkerhoff in 1875. That society became dormant, and was revived at the urging of Governor George Hoadly in 1885.
Ohio History Connection operates dozens of state historic sites across Ohio. Its headquarters is the 250,000-square-foot (23,000 m²) Ohio History Center in Columbus, Ohio, a Brutalist concrete structure. Extensive exhibits cover Ohio's history from the Ice Age to the present. The Center includes state archives and library spaces, a gift shop, and administrative and educational facilities. The 1989 Smithsonian Guide to Historic America described the Center as "probably the finest museum in America devoted to pre-European history."
The Ohio History Connection has appointed a Curator of Archaeology, to oversee the museum's archaeological collection, since 1894:
Ohio Village, a reconstructed 1890s-era town, is a living museum on the grounds of the Ohio History Center. In 2002, budget cuts forced the Ohio Village to close except for special events, school and tour groups. Since 2012, it is open to visitors from Memorial Day to Labor Day and for special events such as the Country Living Fair, All Hallows Eve, and Dickens of a Christmas.
The village houses the renowned Ohio Village Muffins, a vintage base ball club. Since 1981, the Muffins have promoted the preservation of the game as it was played in 1860. Competitions are played every year.
Ohio History Connection also provides educators with resources for the state's schools. Field trips, outreach programs, and educational kit trunks are available to assist teachers with supplemental learning in their classrooms. Also offered are distance learning courses. Affiliated with the Ohio History Connection is the Ohio Educational Resources Center, which loans materials to assist teachers with their lessons. The society also provides public programs that include speakers, theatrical productions, conferences, workshops, holiday gatherings, and presentations. The topics of these programs range from the Underground Railroad to the role of the state in other historical events.
Ohio History Connection publishes Ohio History Central, an extensive online encyclopedia of Ohio history. Ohio History Central consists of over 3,000 entries about Ohio's natural history, prehistory, and history. The entries are complemented by nearly 2,000 images. The site is fully searchable, and users may browse entries by category, topic, media, time period, or geographic region within the state. Special features include image galleries, Ohio Quick Facts, Ohio Across Time (a time line of events that occurred in Ohio or that impacted Ohio's history), and Useful Links (to Ohio History Connection websites; Ohio county and local history websites; and other state, municipal, and regional encyclopedias). Registered users can also create personal scrapbooks using any of the encyclopedia's entries and images.
Ohio History Connection operates a statewide network of historical, archaeological and natural history sites. Admission is free for members. In some cases, Ohio History Connection has contracted with other organizations for management (viz. Serpent Mound)