Organization Information:

Organization Name:
Americana Magazine, Inc.
City & State:
Organization Website:
Organization's Mission Statement

To improve the public image and financial stability of local historical preservation organizations through the publication and distribution of local history for the education of the local public about the supported organization and the local heritage. This support will include the raising of funds, distribution of a written publication, sale of advertising, events and general promotion of the organizations involved and the publication.

Submission Information

Impact Essay

The $1 Dollar Miracle

Americana Magazine has been able to help local historical societies and museums remain open by providing a professional publication about local history to the general public. The beginnings of the magazine were not in a board office or behind the gates of a mansion. It was in a garage sale in Kenton, Ohio.

I happened to go to a garage sale in 2004 and came upon a copy of Microsoft Publisher and Office 97. The gentleman selling the software did not know how to use the desktop publisher program and was selling the Microsoft Office since he had a newer version. I bought them both for a one dollar.

The goal of helping museums came from a show about a museum in Dayton, Ohio closing because they could not afford to pay for lights. I wanted to do something; my wife suggested I use my degree in journalism and the software to publish a newsletter. I formulated a plan and approached the Hardin County Historical Museum about my idea. I never thought they would agree.

It took me until April of the following year to be finally ready to publish. I wasn’t completely sure of what I was doing or how much time would be involved. At first, there were only a few being printed, maybe fifty. I couple stores allowed me space to sell the newsletter and a few people had subscribed. With the help of the Print Shop in Forest, I was able to get the first issue out.

Each month I worked to make the next issue, sometimes I got behind trying to juggle work, family, and the newsletter. My learning curve was pretty severe and I have found that it is never going to get better. I always find more things I do not know. I also find people to help me with those things. My wife, Jennifer, has been one of the best helps, pushing me to work, editing what I write, and listening to me dream of what will be. I owe a lot to her.

In the second year of publishing, the Hardin County Historical Museum provided me as a partner to them a copy of Microsoft Office and Publisher 2003. They had received the program from Tech Soup. The difference was immediate. I could do things that Quark could without the price. Circulation grew and the effect on the museums was quick to see.

I was no longer publishing 50 issues a month; I was up to 400 and growing. The cost of postage was still dragging on the magazine, but the software was allowing so much to be done. The effect at the museum was obvious in the number of people visiting the museum for the first time. I heard many people saying they had lived here all their life and never been to the museum. I also heard the question of how I knew so much about Hardin County history. I always confessed that I just read about it and reported what I read. Not an issue goes by, that I don’t here a positive response.

In 2006, I added a program to the magazine to help local students learn to write. I got a small $100 grant from Wal-Mart. The My Turn Writing Incentive Program was to be a simple program of asking students to read Americana, write an essay on local history, and possibly get published in the magazine. I never thought I would ever hear students request the program to return next year or that they liked writing essays. All the promotional items for My Turn and the magazine were made with Microsoft programs.

When the 2007 version was available, the museum once again offered a license to Americana as a partner. The change is even better. The Excel program has made tracking circulation even easier. With over 750 in circulation and closing in on 1000, the need for accurate tracking is obvious. Picture tools in Microsoft Word have allowed a magazine image to be placed online at So much has changed since I began the publication for $1 dollar, but it is still the same grass roots publication trying to help local historical societies and museums remain open.

Submission Category
Optimize Mission Delivery
Supporting Work Files