GREENVILLE – Darke County’s favorite native daughter Annie Oakley has received several national honors and distinctions in recent years, ensuring that she stays fresh in the modern history.
Most recently, many readers will remember Annie Oakley as being selected as a Great Ohioan in January of 2014.
The Great Ohioan Award annually commemorates Ohioans who have played a significant role in a series of events of lasting significance in World, American or Ohio history.
Oakley was selected due to her extraordinary accomplishments using her unique set of skills and determination, eventually allowing her to blaze a path for many other women of the period.
Since 2003, 30 other Great Ohioans have been recognized with the award including Orville and Wilbur Wright and John Glenn in the inception year.
In January of 2012, the Ohio Supercomputer Center honored the famous sharpshooter by naming an energy-efficient, GPU-accelerated supercomputer system “The Oakley Cluster.” The computer performs 88 trillion calculations per second, and provided researchers with one and a half times the performance of their last supercomputer system entitled “The Glenn Cluster,” named after Ohio astronaut John Glenn.
And within the last year, with the help of members of the Darke County Historical Society, the Annie Oakley Center Foundation was also formed as part of a new initiative to help future generations become accustomed to Oakley’s legacy.
The non-profit organizations was formed to help support The National Annie Oakley Center Foundation at Garst Museum, where Annie Oakley’s legacy still lives on through historical items she left behind.
In addition, the foundation also seeks to rectify some of the inaccuracies and tall tales that have grown up around this remarkable woman.
Perhaps most notably, back in 2011 famous American portrait photographer Annie Leibovitz used Oakley’s unique history in one of her newest exhibitions, entitled “Pilgrimage.”
For her assignment, Leibovtiz paid a very special visit to Darke County’s Garst Museum, in an effort to get to take photos of objects related to iconic figures, including Eleanor Roosevelt, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Louisa May Alcott, Pete Seeger and Elvis Presley and at places such as Niagara Falls, Gettysburg and the Yosemite Valley.
And while these events serve to greatly familiarize an audience with Oakley, she’s also been featured by several television shows in recent years, including the CBS “Sunday Morning Show”, WBGU’s “Scenic Stops,” the Travel Channel’s “Mysteries at the Museum,” PBS’s “American Experience,” the History Channel’s “Swamp People and Sharpshooter’s,” PBS’s “History Detectives.”
And on another level, the Garst Museum also garnered several book credits from its work with other authors, including “Annie Oakley” by Shirl Kasper, “Bull’s Eye: A Photobiography of Annie Oakley” by Sue Macy, “Annie Oakley and Buffalo Bill’s Wild West” by Isabelle Sayers and “Eiffel’s Tower” by Jill Jonnes.
Many of these accomplishments and more will be celebrated during Annie’s Star Spangled Gala on Saturday, June 14, which is the annual fundraiser for The Garst Museum and The National Annie Oakley Center.
And by highlighting Oakley’s interesting life, the Darke County Historical Society and The National Annie Oakley Center hope to spread awareness and boost community pride, as her legacy is truly unique to the region.