The Ohio State University at Lima

Learning while serving in AmeriCorps

July 29, 2022

Alexis Butterworth visits Ohio State Lima

Alexis Butterworth (BA 2019) got a taste of telling the stories of local communities while earning a history degree at The Ohio State University at Lima.

“Small places have a lot of history. I feel like a lot of people grow up and don't realize that,” Butterworth said. “We shouldn’t push aside the small historical societies in our communities. They have a lot of interesting things to share.”

When the time came to finish her thesis for a masters program in public history, Butterworth chose to further her skills and become a member of AmeriCorps and take an assignment with the Ohio History Service Corps.

“I saw an opportunity to gain more professional and practical skills through the Local History Corps,” Butterworth said. “The goals of the Local History Corps initiative are focused on generating sustainable resources for local historical societies, museums and other organizations in the region.”

When Butterworth started her service with the Logan County Historical Society, she was not sure what to expect, but was excited. She soon had many projects to assist with and met with other historical organizations. With her background in public history, Butterworth was able to provide insight to the proper practices of the public history field while the leaders of the organizations took these practices to enhance their mission and goals.

AmeriCorps is the equivalent of a domestic Peace Corps. It gives members a chance to build communities and resources while gaining valuable skills, connections and knowledge. Butterworth hopes to pair the experiences she has gained both as a history student and an AmeriCorps member to start her career either in a museum or the National Park Service.

Butterworth’s main project has been to help organize the storage of the Logan County Historical Society’s agriculture and household items, but that is far from the only thing she has accomplished. She has explored topics from Native American history to local lore to stories that make Logan County unique in the nation. Finding those stories has drawn her into the communities.

“Working with the people at the Logan County Historical Society and all the other groups has been really, really rewarding,” Butterworth said. “Everybody has been so kind and flexible.”

Another main project Butterworth helped research is on display in the Fun, Funky and Fascinating Finds of Logan County exhibit. She encourages visitors to stop by and learn about the interesting stories presented in the exhibit and guarantees you could spend an entire day there!

While serving, Butterworth spent half her time assisting her host site in Bellefontaine and the other half doing outreach with other local history organizations. As an undergrad at Ohio State Lima, she completed an internship with the Hancock County Historical Society in her hometown of Findlay. She was able to return for more projects during her time in AmeriCorps.

Butterworth finishes her yearlong Ohio AmeriCorps service assignment in August and will immediately transition to an American Conservation Experience at the Shenandoah National Park in Virginia. She will be working with their unique collections, including bird specimens, in the park’s archives as well as the historic buildings inside the park.

As her time in Logan County comes to a close, Butterworth feels this experience has built upon her graduate school education and allowed her to gain more professional skills.

“While this service is only temporary, I was able to make some good connections while practicing what I learned in graduate school in the ‘real world.’ Not only did this experience provide me with some good references for the future job hunt, but also friendships and a lot of good memories,” Butterworth said. “I definitely plan on visiting in the future and encourage anyone who is thinking about getting into the history field, but is unsure, to try the Ohio History Service Corps.”

More about AmeriCorps

More about the Ohio History Service Corps