The Ohio University experience inspired Wilfred Konneker (BS ’43, MS ’47, HON ’80)—to act, to give back and, ultimately, to impact all who share that experience. His belief in the promising future that an OHIO education affords students, faculty, community and society is the guiding force behind the Konneker Fund for Learning and Discovery.
Today, the Konneker Fund is breathing new life into The Ridges, fueling the start of a long dreamed-of OHIO Museum Complex.
Developed in partnership with the Kennedy Museum of Art, the OHIO Museum Complex is transforming a storied piece of Athens history into an indoor-outdoor learning laboratory to foster interdisciplinary connection, collaboration and education that highlights Ohio University’s natural history, creative activity and innovation.
“We’re creating a place for exploration and reflection—a place to learn, connect, imagine and be inspired,” says Nancy Stevens, professor in the Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine who is spearheading University-wide efforts to develop the OHIO Museum Complex. “The Konneker Fund gave us our start.”
With an award from the Konneker Fund, renovations on Lin Hall 210 have resulted in a dynamic gallery and learning laboratory space where individuals can present and engage with research, collections and ideas. The gallery’s first exhibit is being planned, blending art, natural history collections and environmental and education. The space has already hosted a student theater performance, award-winning authors, researchers from the International Geoscience Programme, and hundreds of elementary school pupils.
Planning is underway for further development. University funding has resulted in mAppAthens, offering interactive online maps for exploration of the area’s sustainability efforts, art, geology and opportunities for kid-friendly adventure around The Ridges. Efforts are underway to develop directional and interpretative signage along The Ridges trail system—creating a museum without walls, with boundless opportunities for learning.