We advance our mission of collecting, preserving, and sharing Southeast Ohio’s unique cultural and natural heritage. We seek to use history as a powerful tool to help Southeast Ohioans celebrate their identities, develop critical thinking skills, and inspire them to lead and leave a legacy for their families and communities. We serve educators and students, researchers, regional history organizations, public policymakers, and members of the general public through relevant programs that challenge, inspire, and engage our communities.
The story of southeast Ohio, who we have been, who we are, and where we are going, cannot be told in its entirety without acknowledgment that diverse groups and individuals have made history here and have called this beautiful place home. We at the Southeast Ohio History Center find it vital to tell all parts of this history. We encourage learning about new histories and taking on new perspectives with our visitors as well as among ourselves. In our collections, we acknowledge that we lack artifacts that encourage these perspectives, and want to promote our acceptance of these stories and artifacts. Our goal is to create a space where everyone is heard, respected, and valued.
Jessica has served as the curator of the Southeast Ohio History Center since June, 2011, before stepping into her current role in April, 2019. During her time with the History Center, she has worked to preserve and catalog the materials in the Center’s collection, as well as designing exhibits and conducting educational outreach for students of all ages.
Jessica’s love for museums started as a child visiting the dinosaurs at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History and the planetarium at the Houston Museum of Natural History. She is a passionate believer in the power of museums to transform their communities.
Jessica’s background is in history and communications. She may not have followed the usual path to a museum career, but she is grateful every day that she gets to do what she loves.
Tom O’Grady sailed as a deck worker on an ore carrier on the Great Lakes aboard a sister-ship of the fated Edmund Fitzgerald, surveyed for the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, launched the first comprehensive curbside recycling program in the state of Ohio and has been promoting waste reduction and sustainable economy for thirty years. Tom has also been an instructor of Observational Astronomy in the evenings at Ohio University for thirty years. He has spent a good deal of the past twenty-five years as a student of Ohio history researching its geography and settlement, the moundbuilders, Ohio canals, and several of its interesting characters and their stories.
Tom’s interest in history was awakened by working to clean up roadways and streams and stumbled into the remnants of the Hocking Valley Canal while running the Athens County Recycling and Litter Control program. He also had the unique experience of living at the Athens Asylum during his college years which gives him a valuable perspective on one of the biggest historical sites in Southeastern Ohio.
Tom served as a board member for the History Center between 1999 and 2014. He served as Executive Director from 2014 to 2019, and he is looking forward to continuing to be a leading advocate for local history and the History Center.
Dominique took the position of Patron Experience Manager in the fall of 2020. She graduated from Mount Vernon Nazarene University where she earned her Bachelor’s degree in English.
As a Scioto County native, Dominique has been influenced by a deeply-rooted love of Southern Ohio’s history and an unwavering desire to share this wealth of heritage with others. Dominique fervently believes in an intrinsic link between literature and history; the stewardship of both is her dearest and most ambitious goal. She plans to obtain a Masters in Library and Information Sciences in order to further pursue her passion to best serve her community and the patrons of the Southeastern Ohio History Center.