When Christie Weininger started taking history classes in the Mohawk school system, she could connect with what her family members were doing in some of the periods she was studying.
The daugher of David and Lynda Weininger, their family lore includes a great-grandmother's account of her first ride in an automobile and the story of how her maternal granparents met while working summer jobs at Toft's Dairy in Sandusky. Her interest kept building on that foundation.
In college at Otterbein College, one of the history professors became a mentor to Weininger. The instructor had connections at the Ohio Historical Society and helped her student to obtain an internship with that organization. Recently, Weininger joined the executive council of the Ohio Academy of History and was delighted to discover her former professor also is on the council.
Another opportunity presented itself when Otterbein's college archivist was looking for volunteers. Weininger said that project taught her much about the work of a professional historian. The two women became friends and have continued to stay in touch.
"I would absolutely not be where I am today without those two people," Weininger said.
As an undergraduate, Weininger worked for a motorcycle museum in Columbus and at the Ohio Historical Society. After graduation in 1995, she took a job in financial planning for two years at a Toledo company. That turned out to be a valuable experience for someone who would be the administrator of non-profit organizations.
To get her professional career started, Weininger took a severe pay cut to become the part-time, seasonal curator of the Wyandot County Museum. She worked up to part-time, year-round status and then to full-time director, staying seven years.
"It was local stuff. We had a small staff and we had lots of enthusiastic volunteers. It was great. I really enjoyed being there. We had the first Indian reservation in Ohio, Indian Mill, the Mission Church and lots of historic sites in town. I really loved being in Upper Sandusky," Weininger said.
In 2003, Weininger became director of the Wood County Historical Center and Museum in Bowling Green. She said she loved that facility so much, she became a lifetime member.
Situated in a former Wood County Home with 50 acres surrounding it, the historic building has a compelling story of sheltering the poor, the mentally ill and others on the fringes of society.
"To tell that story was an honor for me. We had people who just loved that museum in Bowling Green. We had so much support from the community. One of the things I tried to do there was to elevate our standing in the community," Weininger said.
The place had fallen into disrepair because of budget constraints in Wood County. Weininger said it probably would have been demolished if funds had been available. It had been vacant for 14 years and was in "sad shape." She made it her mission to network with other organizations to secure volunteers and funding.
"We did a $430,000 restoration of the porches. The floor boards and posts were rotting and paint was peeling," Weininger said.
Although she did not complete every project she had hoped to do during her nine-year tenure, Weininger said it was time for someone else with new ideas to take charge. Weininger said she tried to leave the facilty in better shape than when she arrived.