COLUMBUS — America 250-Ohio, the official state commission responsible for spearheading Ohio’s celebrations around America’s semiquincentennial in 2026, recently unveiled the Fourth Grade History Pass.
Beginning today, every fourth-grade student in Ohio will have the opportunity to visit participating history-related museums and sites free of charge when accompanied by a paying adult. The program aims to cultivate curiosity in young minds in anticipation of the 250th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence.
“We believe that this opportunity will inspire fourth-grade students to explore and appreciate Ohio’s history, fostering a sense of pride and connection to their roots,” said Todd Kleismit, the executive director of America 250-Ohio. “We hope this program brings enthusiasm to many families and students who are interested in learning more about Ohio’s contributions to the nation’s history for 250+ years.”
Fourth-grade students can use the pass at more than 10 institutions throughout Ohio, including the Ohio History Center, Cincinnati Museum Center, Western Reserve Historical Society/Cleveland History Center, Campus Martius Museum and Fort Meigs Historic Site. A comprehensive list of participating locations where the pass can be redeemed is available at www.America250-Ohio.org/fourth-grade-pass. To participate, a pass can be acquired from the America 250-Ohio website where there is an option to select a printed or digital version for download. Regular admission fees apply for accompanying family members, and passes are not valid for field trips or group visits. Other restrictions may apply.
“We are incredibly thankful to our history-related museums and site partners for opening their doors and participating in this important initiative,” said Doug Preisse, the America 250-Ohio commission co-chair. “Through this program, we aim to teach young minds that history is not a lesson on the past, but a guiding force for the future.”
According to the Ohio Department of Education, fourth-grade curriculum centers on the initial stages of Ohio and U.S. development. Students in this grade study the historical, geographical, governmental, and economic aspects of their state and nation. The foundational elements of U.S. history are introduced through the study of prehistoric Ohio cultures, early American life, the U.S. Constitution, and the evolution of Ohio and the United States. This educational journey helps students grasp the influence of historical ideas and events on the present-day shaping of Ohio and the United States.
“As an educator, I am thrilled about the America 250-Ohio initiative offering free access to participating history museums for fourth-grade students. This program aligns with our curriculum, providing an immersive experience that goes beyond the classroom,” said Shawn Kaeser, an eighth-grade social studies teacher in Ohio and father of nine children.
One pass per fourth-grade student per transaction for free general admission. Must be accompanied by paid adult general admission. The pass must be presented at the time of purchase, either as a digital version on a smartphone or a printed version. The program is for fourth-grade students for the 2023-2024 school year. The pass is valid through Aug. 31, 2024. Each school year on Sept. 1 the pass for the fourth-grade students of that school year will be available and valid through the following August. The program will end on Dec. 31, 2026.
Materials supporting the program and images from Fourth Grade History Pass launch events throughout the state can be found at http://tinyurl.com/2pdd89k4.
About America 250-Ohio
In 2026, the United States will celebrate its semiquincentennial, which is the 250th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence. Each state has been encouraged to create a celebration and commemoration of this anniversary to reflect the unique character and contributions of each state to the nation over the past 250 years. Ohio is fully embracing this opportunity. The Ohio Commission for the Semiquincentennial (aka America 250-Ohio Commission or AM250-OH) was created by the Ohio legislature and launched on March 1, 2022. The charge of the AM250-OH Commission is “…to plan, encourage, develop, and coordinate the commemoration of the two-hundred-fiftieth anniversary of the founding of the United States and the impact of Ohioans on the nation’s past, present, and future.” — Ohio Revised Code (149.309). More information can be found at www.America250-Ohio.org.