Megan Shaeffer, Ph.D., Cultural Resource Coordinator
Summit Metro Parks is unique in that it is the only county-level park district in Ohio with its own cultural resources staff. These staff members protect and conserve the historic and archaeological sites within the park district — work which would not have been possible without the efforts of Dr. Lynn Metzger.
Dr. Metzger, a professor of anthropology and archaeology at The University of Akron (UA), was a tireless advocate for local history. In 2000, she helped create the Community Archaeology Program, allowing UA students to work on archaeological evaluations for local organizations such as Summit Metro Parks.
Dr. Metzger’s legacy remains strong in Summit Metro Parks, as all of the cultural resources staff, past and present, came to the parks or to community archaeology through her influence. Dr. Metzger passed away in 2015, and the cultural resources division became a permanent part of the park district’s conservation department in 2016. Chief of Conservation Mike Johnson was inspired to include cultural resources in his department’s mission by Dr. Metzger, who helped him “understand the value of the past and how it is part of my own life and the human condition.” And, cultural resources work helps SMP honor and conserve land in respectful ways and allows us to interpret a site’s past with our visitors.
Beyond her archaeological work, Dr. Metzger inspired awareness of local history within the community through several published writings and her active participation in historical and cultural groups. We are grateful to Dr. Metzger for her contributions to the park district and her stewardship of the history and heritage of Summit County.