UTOPIA

A Visual Storytelling of Our Home

  • Celebrating the 200th anniversary of the formal creation of Wood County, Taylor Houpt Ayres created a 35-piece gallery style photography exhibit titled Utopia: A Visual Storytelling of Our Home, documenting elements of the county that inspire her as a young professional.
  • ARTIST STATEMENT ON MOSER FARMS, WESTON OHIO (photo left)
    “When I was a child my father would ask, 'what do you think they’re harvesting this year?' I would always guess and he would tell me about the different crops cultivated in Wood County. Each year I sought out the combines. When it came time to photograph Wood County for this exhibit, I was incredibly excited to plan, schedule, and photography a local farmer. Their challenging hard work has such an impact on our community. I love being able to capture different aspects of the process."

  • Taylor knew the purpose of the exhibit was not to view this anniversary milestone as an exercise in looking backwards. These photos are a symbol of the many possibilities waiting for young people just beginning their adult lives. Capturing more than 6,000 photographs over a three-year period, her journey showcases a visual storytelling of our home and highlights its beautiful landscapes, vibrant cityscapes, and a multitude of back road barns and farm fields.
  • Traditionally, anniversary milestones are deeply rooted in memory. Historic photos often lend themselves to conversation among groups of people well acquainted with their community surroundings. Current interpretive methods used by museum professionals seek to include the perspectives of younger generations. Over time, the way a landscape has developed or how people navigate their homeland evolves. While the progress of our community is celebrated at the Wood County Historical Museum through historical interpretation, we also seek to celebrate fresh ideas and modern thinking. Anniversaries are not stopping points. We honor the past, but are also incredibly excited for the future.
  • Taylor’s insight and knowledge related to the technical process of taking a photo captures the ingenuity, passion, and beauty of both rural and urban Wood County. Unbeknownst to Taylor, photos grouped themselves organically, furthering the emotional impact and colorful representation of our community. This modern take on agriculture, industry, and leisure time activities across the county is partnered with Taylor’s own words in the form of a caption for an even more meaningful experience.
  • Utopia: A Visual Storytelling of Our Home is on exhibit until December 11, 2020. The museum is open Monday – Friday 10AM - 4PM and weekends from 1PM - 4PM. We are closed on federal holidays.
    Support for this exhibit came from American Frame.


  • ALSO ON EXHIBIT IN 2020:

    For Comfort & Convenience: Public Charity in Ohio By Way of the Poor Farm continues to be on exhibit at the Wood County Historical Museum. This look at the public charity system in Ohio is an inclusive experience and showcases the necessity of county managed care for the elderly and disabled throughout Ohio. This exhibit received two awards: the Ohio Local History Alliance History Outreach Award and the Ohio State Historic Preservation Office Public Education and Awareness Award.
  • In early May, we will rededicate the Carl & Mary Bach exhibit. In recent years, the accouterments surrounding the Carl Bach Trial have developed into a folklore story of their own. Modern interpretation and professional standards challenged curatorial staff to develop a poignant and educational story for modern audiences.


  • 2020 EVENTS THAT TELL OUR STORY:

    In conjunction with opening of Utopia, an exciting and informative set of programs will enrich and inspire audiences of all ages. Beginning in April, our popular 10-month Tea & Talk Series draws from the Wood County Historical Society’s very own archival collections featuring stories related to people, places, and things that happened over the past 200 years in Wood County. Topics include the life and times of Magician Duke Labey, letters from Vaudeville performer Nellie Brown Powell, and stories about crime in Wood County.
  • The 17th annual Living History Day in August will be held on the grounds of the Wood County Historical Museum presenting a journalistic perspective by former Sentinel Editors Charles Sumner Van Tassel and Charles W. Evers.
  • As always, our Demonstration Days and First Fridays offer free admission to experience and enjoy all we have to offer.


  • TELLING YOUR STORY - LEAVING YOUR LEGACY:

    The success of the Wood County Historical Museum and the Historical Society comes from collaboration and partnerships within our community and support through monetary and physical donations. Objects from the collection tell the story of our past with hopes of providing inspiration for the future. We encourage you to leave your legacy by donating items that fit within the mission of the Historical Society. The process begins with a conversation with the museum’s curator Holly A. Kirkendall, at curator@woodcountyhistory.org.
  • The Historical Society can also continue that legacy with financial support through memberships, sponsorships, or planned giving. For details on how you can support the Historical Society, contact the museum’s director, Kelli M. Kling, at museum@woodcountyhistory.org.