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History Studios colorizing Ohio's past for the present and future

Vicki Heilshorn started her home business selling artwork commissions and later historic photography prints 15 years ago. Her Defiance storefront opened last summer.

DEFIANCE, Ohio — A business specializing in historical photographs is gaining new momentum for the future by colorizing our past.

Vicki Heilshorn started her home business of selling artwork commissions and later historic photography prints 15 years ago.

After years of success, she decided to move into a downtown Defiance storefront to open History Studios last summer.

Now along with a large variety of fun, historical items and gifts, patrons can choose from a large number of popular historic photograph prints from local, national and international history.

"National archives or the Library of Congress will have them. If it's from out of the country like the royal collection or whatever, I try to keep it public domain," Heilshorn said.

She also offers personal photo restoration and all prints can be made in a variety of sizes.

Recently, Heilshorn has found a new passion: restoring and colorizing local history photos.

The final product is stunning, helping to bridge the gap between our modern world with our regional past by bringing these photos into full color.

"It brings it to life. Everybody says 'Wow, you just don't think about it.' Because that's the thing with history," Helshorn said, "everything seems like it was in black and white and then all of a sudden you see it and know this stuff really happened. And that's what's cool about it, I think."

Credit: Jon Monk
History Studios offers prints in various sizes.

Heilshorn says she has begun to work with Andrew l. Tuttle Memorial Museum to hopefully create a full collection and database of colorized photos from Defiance's history. 

"People are coming in all the time giving me pictures and stuff like that. But, I am going to start working with the Tuttle [Museum] and hopefully just trying to amass a huge collection and kind of put it all under one umbrella so that way people can access it," Heilshorn said.

History Studios is taking part in a special fundraising event called "A Century of Weddings" that will showcase wedding dress styles throughout the years on May 7 at the Valentine Theater in Defiance.

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