In early 2015, we were approached by Ohio Humanities to bring a one-of-a-kind interactive website to life. Their primary goal was to create an experience that encouraged and increased cultural tourism throughout the state. We’re talking a custom, highly interactive website with a searchable database, curated driving tours and multi-media features packaged to be visually appealing and functional for travelers.
Unfortunately, while this project was a brilliant idea, Ohio Humanities was faced with the reality of a limited budget and resources and couldn’t take on such an immense undertaking without help. So Ohio Humanities hired us to help them design a sample site so they could go after the Digital Projects for the Public: Prototyping Grant provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities.
This $100,000 grant program is incredibly sought after, and not just by humanities and historical groups. Countless academic institutions from across the nation apply for this grant every single year, year after year – making it unbelievably competitive.
We collaborated with Ohio Humanities staff, developers, database experts and scholars to design a series of desktop and mobile sample pages for the site to submit with the grant application. Even though the site wasn’t actually going into production, it was vital to consider every feature in the design and how that would scale with an infinite amount of possible content. Rounds of feedback, new ideas, adjustments and retouching over the course of three months resulted in a product for which we were all incredibly passionate, and proud, and one ready for submission.
Fast forward to December of 2015 when we received an email from Pat Williamsen, the Executive Director of Ohio Humanities …
“Late this morning, the NEH Division of Public Programs called to inform us that our proposal submitted to its Digital Projects
for the Public initiative has been awarded full funding.”
This is where you can cue the collective jaw-drop, and giddy jumping up and down in our office. Pat went on to write…
“Our NEH program officer cited the intellectual depth of our proposal, the sophisticated design document, and the impressive range of our planning partners. He further stated that Ohio Humanities is the first state council to win a digital grant from NEH and that…
What started as a big idea, paired with the right partners, along with energy and passion for the concept resulted in highly sought-after national backing to create a fully-functional cultural heritage tourism resource – the first of its kind.
As we start to gear up, one year later, to continue work on this first-of-its-kind website, we wanted to take the time to give a shout out to the big dreamers at the Ohio Humanities who selected us to be a partner in this incredible project!