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Graphic design alumna co-publishes book on history of Milan

April—Berlin Heights native and Ohio Northern University alumna Ashley Hale Moran (BFA/graphic design ’08) will publish a book called “Images of America: Milan” featuring the history of Milan, Ohio. The book will be available on May 25 by Arcadia Press.

“Images of America: Milan” is authored by two staffers at The Milan Historical Museum: Ashley, who serves as the registrar, and executive director Ann Basilone-Jones. The sales of the book benefit the museum.

“Ann and I decided to contact Arcadia Publishing about the book on Milan because of the museum’s vast collection of photographs,” said Ashley. “Plus, there has not been a book on Milan since the 1970s.”

Visitors to the seven-building museum campus learn a history rich in progress and creativity. The important contributions made in Milan, milestones in invention, inventors, and transportation are displayed throughout the many historical buildings, artifacts, and exhibits. Visitors can even see the birthplace of Thomas Alva Edison, inventor of the phonograph, the incandescent light bulb, and many other devices that make our lives fuller and simpler.

The new book has about 186 historic photos, including Edison and other residents, maps, and architecture, that trace the village’s history from its founding. “Most people have never seen many of the photos,” said Ashley. “We hope this book sparks renewed interest within the community to make a connection with Milan’s rich history.”

The entire project took about a year to complete. Ashley went through hundreds of museum photographs to make the selections for the book. All of the book’s photos came from the museum’s collection, except for two.

“Research was done using materials within the museum,” explained Ashley, “including books, historical documents, and previous research completed by past museum staff and historians. We also tried to connect many of the village’s past residents to people who live in the town today.

Milan is an old town. It was platted in 1816, and before that, it was the site of a Moravian Indian mission.

In its early days, Milan was an industrial powerhouse and a port city that connected Ohio to the rest of the world.

“They called it the Port of Milan,” said Ashley, who said a three-mile canal connected Milan to a navigable part of the Huron River. 

Schooners were built in Milan and towed down the canal to the river. 

Milan’s heyday as a shipbuilder center passed when railroads came to Ohio and ships in Lake Erie became too big for Milan to build.

“They couldn’t get them through the canal and to the river,” Ashley said.

The Milan Museum began in 1929 in the basement of the library but moved to its current location in 1955. It draws about 5,000 visitors a year.

The museum is still under its winter hours, 1-5 p.m. Friday through Sunday, but in June through August will be open six days a week, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 1-5 p.m. Sunday.

As a student, Ashley completed an internship at The Milan Historical Museum. “I felt that I was well prepared for that internship. I worked on many design projects and a few photographic tasks as well. I had to discuss my work with the director who had to present the final designs to the board members, printers, and trustees. It was an awesome experience… And now I work full-time as the museum’s registrar!”

The mission of the Ohio Northern graphic design program is to prepare undergraduate students to become socially and environmentally aware leaders in the field of visual communication. Focusing on development and mastery of conceptual and technical skills in graphic design, illustration, and advertising as well as studio electives, cross disciplinary courses and collaborative experiences prepare students for the convergence of the design fields and for positions as creative directors across a broad spectrum of increasingly media-based careers. Graduates from the program have gone on to work at companies such as Wunderman Design, Foothold Design, Smithsonian Institution, Orange Barrel Media, NiSource, and Bubbles Academy.

Originally designated as the School of Fine Arts and later the College of Fine Arts, the art & design program was first established as an independent academic unit at Ohio Northern in 1878, largely as an outgrowth of course work in engineering and architectural drawing. Today, Ohio Northern offers both the Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees with majors in advertising design, art education, graphic design and studio arts with concentrations in two-dimensional, three-dimensional and pre-art therapy. The department of A&D holds memberships in national organizations such as the National Art Education Association, College Art Association, Foundations in Art: Theory and Education, AIGA: The Professional Association for Design, and the National Council on Education of Ceramic Arts. The department is recognized in the “Creative Colleges: A Guide for Student Actors, Artists, Dancers, Musicians and Writers” as one of the best creative programs nationwide. For additional information about the department of art & design or the University’s 2014–15 Arts Exhibition Season, contact the department at 419.772.2160.

image: Ann Basilone-Jones and Ashley Moran