Ashtabula County History Museum

Admission to the Ashtabula County History Museum is $4/adults and $2/child.  

  • Open: Summer months on Wednesday from 12pm – 7pm, Sunday from 1pm – 5pm; The rest of the year on Wednesday from 10am – 4pm
  • Location: (Map It) 5685 Lake Rd. in Geneva-On-The-Lake, Ohio
  • Phone: 866-533-3277
  • Web: click here

Ashtabula County History Museum / Jennie Munger Gregory Memorial Museum. An 1823 farmhouse furnished with all kinds of collectibles and antiques. The reference library for researchers is free. There’s also the Blakeslee 1810 Log Cabin and grounds of primitive surroundings located at 441 Seven Hills Rd. in Ashtabula which is open by appointment. Log Cabin Days are the first weekend after Labor Day. In addition, there’s the Joshua Giddings Law Office, built in1823, furnished with his office furnishings (North Chestnut and Jefferson). It is also free and open by appointment.

Campus Martius Museum

Admission to the Campus Martius Museum in Marietta is $7/adult, $4/student (from K-college with valid ID), and children 5 and under free.

  • Open: Monday and Wednesday – Saturday from 9:30am – 5pm, Sunday and holidays from 12pm – 5pm
  • Location: (Map it) 601 Second St. in Marietta, Ohio
  • Phone: 740-373-3750
  • Web:

Campus Martius Museum in Marietta focuses on migration in Ohio’s history.  The museum is located on the site of the first organized American settlement in the Northwest Territory.  The first floor of the museum is dedicated to the early settlement and even has part of the original fort enclosed in a wing of the building.  Other exhibits deal with the history of the local Indian tribes and their relations with the early white settlers, life in early 18th century Marietta and how it evolved throughout the years and features many artifacts recovered from early life in Marietta.  Other exhibits go on to explore two more waves of migration to Ohio and how it affected life in the entire state.  The museum also features 90 pieces from the Ohio Historical Society’s collection.

Cleveland History Center

Admission to the Cleveland History Center of the Western Reserve Historical Society is $12/adult, $10/senior, $9/veteran, $6-10/student. Parking is $8-15.

  • Open: Thursday from 12-8pm, and Friday – Sunday from 10am – 8pm
  • Location: (Map It) 10825 E. Blvd. in Cleveland, Ohio
  • Phone: 216-721-5722
  • Web: click here

Cleveland History Center of the Western Reserve Historical Society in downtown Cleveland houses a Library and two Museums. The History Museum features tours of a mansion built in 1911. You’ll discover the lifestyles of the rich and famous, and also of the servants (whose lives differed dramatically from the main house glamour). The Chisholm Halle Costume Wing is one of the top-ranked costume collections in the nation, showcasing garments from the late 1700s to the present.

The Crawford Auto Aviation Museum showcases antique, vintage, and classic automobiles and aircraft ranging from model T’s to modern-day Jaguars. In both Museums, special exhibitions focus on the many different chapters of life in the Western Reserve.

The Library is a principal repository for histories, records, and papers relating to the growth and development of Cleveland and the Western Reserve. Patrons visit to learn about their family’s history; and important archival collections include urban, African American, ethnic, Jewish, and Labor histories.

Clinton County History Center

Admission to the Clinton County History Center is $5/person.

  • Open: March 1 – the 3rd week in December on Wednesday – Friday from 1pm – 4pm (and by appointment)
  • Location: (Map It) 149 E. Locust St. in Wilmington, Ohio
  • Phone: 937-382-4684
  • Web: click here

The Clinton County History Center highlights General James W. Denver (for whom Denver, Colorado was named), Eli Harvey (artist and sculptor), and Carl Moon (photographer of the Southwest).

James Denver moved to Wilmington, Ohio in 1831. His personal library and military artifacts are on display. Eli Harvey was an internationally known artist. His works are on display. And Carl Moon’s photos of Southwest Indians are on display. He was one of the first to photograph native-Americans in their natural habitat. The museum’s Quaker Room is dedicated to items demonstrating the simple living of Clinton County’s earlier settlers. In addition, there are many Victorian artifacts, furniture and clothing to see as well.

Fort Ancient Earthworks

Admission to Fort Ancient Earthworks is $7/adult, $6/senior, and free for kids younger than 6 years old.

  • Open: Wednesday- Saturday from 10am – 5pm and Sunday from noon – 5pm (other days by appointment).
  • Location: (Map It) 6123 SR 350 in Oregonia, Ohio
  • Phone: 513-932-4421
  • Web: click here

Fort Ancient Earthworks and Nature Preserve provide a rich history of the Hopewell and Fort Ancient cultures as you discover the largest and best-preserved prehistoric hilltop enclosure in the United States. Situated on a wooded bluff 235 feet above the Little Miami River in Oregonia, Ohio this 2,000-year-old site features man-made earthworks, miles of trails that showcase the natural and archaeological features of the land, and a Museum that encompasses 15,000 years of Ohio history and pre-history.

Fort Meigs

Admission to Fort Meigs is $10/adult, $8/senior (ages 60+), $5/student, and children five and younger enter for free. Rates may vary for special events. Reduced admission is available from November – March.

  • Open: Wednesday – Saturday from 9:30am – 5pm, Sunday from 12pm – 5pm, Closed Monday & Tuesday
  • Location: (Map It) 29100 W. River Rd. in Perrysburg, Ohio
  • Phone: 419-874-4121 or 800-283-8916
  • Web:

Fort Meigs 1813, Ohio’s War of 1812 Battlefield, is a historical site with one of the largest reconstructed, wooden-walled forts in the United States. It sits in its original location along the Maumee River. The seven blockhouses, five artillery batteries, and numerous earthworks appear much as they did during the summer of 1813. Exhibits in the fort’s blockhouses present the life of a soldier, the building of the fort, and dramatic accounts of the two sieges against the fort in 1813.

The Visitor Center houses classrooms, a museum store, and a museum. The exhibits focus on the themes of Era, Conflict, Understanding, and Remembrance. The exhibit also explores how historians and archaeologists learned what happened at the fort. Important artifacts are featured in the museum exhibits, including War of 1812 weapons, accouterments, uniforms, and soldiers’ items.

Historical interpreters, dressed in 1812-era clothing, present demonstrations of camp life, weapons, and other activities throughout the summer. Reenactments and special events further highlight America’s rich military history.

Fort Recovery State Museum

Admission to Fort Recovery is $5/adult, $2/child (ages 5-12), and children 5 and under free.

  • Open: June – August Daily from 12pm – 5pm, May & September on weekends, Memorial Day, and Labor Day from 12pm to 5pm
  • Location: (Map It) One Fort Site St. in Fort Recovery, Ohio
  • Phone: 419-375-4649 or 800-283-8920
  • Web: click here

Fort Recovery and St. Clair’s Massacre: On a small triangle of land on the banks of the Wabash River in the late 1700s, the course of United States history was changed forever. It was on this plot of land that two significant battles took place.  The first battle (1791), “The Battle on the Banks of The Wabash” or “The St. Clair Massacre,” was the largest confrontation ever to take place between Native Americans and the U.S. Army.  Even to this day, that battle stands as the greatest loss ever suffered by the United States Army!  Nine hundred of the 1200 soldiers were killed or mortally wounded.  Nearly 100 camp followers suffered the same fate at the hands of nearly 1500 warriors under the command of Little Turtle of the Miami’s and Blue Jacket of the Shawnee’s.

First Congressional Investigation: The first congressional investigation in U.S. history took place after that battle. When, in the course of the investigation, the “evidence” began to implicate members of President Washington’s own cabinet, the investigation was called off.

Anthony Wayne’s Legion: Fortunately the 1791 massacre and incredible embarrassment of the United States Army was not the end of the story. President Washington called Revolutionary War leader, Anthony Wayne back into service. He was given broad authority to raise and equip a “real” army.  Wayne modeled it after the old Roman Legions.  This army, The Legion of the United States, became well equipped, trained, and disciplined.

The fort of “Recovery”:  In 1793, Wayne ordered soldiers to construct a fort on the site of the disastrous ‘91 massacre.  Choosing this land, Wayne was sending a psychological message to the natives that the army and the United States were back!  Unlike the previous forts which were named for war heroes, he ordered that this fort be called “Recovery!”

The Battle of Fort Recovery: The second conflagration (1794), “The Battle of Fort Recovery,” took place on the same triangle of land as St. Clair’s Massacre.  However, with the protection of the fort, nearly 250 soldiers were able to resist a two-day relentless attack by 2500 warriors again under the command of Little Turtle and Blue Jacket.  After the defeat of the natives, Little Turtle said he would never again fight the American Army.  He said, “To do so would be suicide to my people.”  It was this battle that ultimately broke the back of Indian resistance, led to the signing of the Treaty of Greenville (August 1795), and opened up the lands of the Northwest Territory for settlement by the colonists.  The success of the US Legion at Fort Recovery proved that the United States had a viable army, that it was in control of its territories, and that the survival of the United States was at last assured!

Visitors to present-day Fort Recovery will be impressed with how much of that watershed military history comes alive today through:

  1. The clearly evident “Wabash hillside and triangle of land” where over a thousand lives were lost and the river flowed bloody.  Where a surviving St. Clair soldier described the scene as “A pumpkin field, a steaming pumpkin field!” (scalped heads on that cold snowy November morning)
  2. The reconstructed Anthony Wayne fort with the two-story blockhouses and connecting stockade, the well, the flagpole!
  3. A totally renovated (2010) museum that houses such detailed and accurate figures of Wayne’s Legion that students sometimes step back thinking they are real.  Even a dragoon and his horse!  Plus of course the stories of Josiah Harmar, Arthur St. Clair, Anthony Wayne, William Wells!
  4. The prehistoric and historic Native American history, models and artifacts, all of which tell the stories of those proud people!  Blue Jacket of the Shawnees, Little Turtle of the Miami’s!
  5. The obelisk monument stands over 100 feet high in honor of the soldiers who died in both battles, and whose remains are buried under that monument!
  6. The Greenville Treaty Line Marker on the fort ground designated this point as the northwest corner of the land that could be settled by “white men.”
  7. The pioneer cemetery where the remains of soldiers and their families who stayed to make their homes near the fort are buried.
  8. Two log cabins depicting early colonial homes and tools.

Garst Museum & Annie Oakley Center

Admission to Garst Museum & National Annie Oakley Center in Greenville is $10/adult, $9/senior (ages 60+), $7/youth (ages 6-17), and children 5 and under free.

  • Open: Tuesday – Saturday from 10am – 4pm, Sunday from 1pm – 4pm, Closed Monday and major holidays
  • Location: (Map It) 205 N. Broadway in Greenville, Ohio
  • Phone: 937-548-5250
  • Web:

The Garst Museum & National Annie Oakley Center in Greenville, Ohio is the former site of Fort Greene Ville and the Treaty of Greenville. Garst Museum, which includes the Annie Oakley Center, is a large museum encompassing seven different wings. Visitors enter through the Garst House, which was built in 1852 as an inn. The first floor of the Garst House is home to Native American Artifacts and items pertaining to the Treaty of Greenville signed in 1795. It opened the Northwest Territory for settlement. Located in the upstairs of the Garst House is a military exhibit, which ranges from 1812 to the current conflict in Iraq.  Attached to the Garst House is the Annie Oakley Center, which was opened on July 29, 2005, and contains the largest display of Annie Oakley items in the world. The Lowell Thomas Exhibit is housed in the next wing and includes items from his career as the most famous broadcaster of his time. The museum also houses an antique gallery, a village of old shops, a pioneer wing, a collection of Currier and Ives, and a genealogy center.

Heritage Hall in Marion, Ohio

Admission to Heritage Hall in Marion, Ohio is $6/adult, $5/senior, $3/child, and children under 5 free.

  • Open:  May – October on Wednesday – Sunday from 1pm – 4pm, November – December on weekends from 1pm – 4pm
  • Location: (Map It) 169 E. Church St. in Marion, Ohio
  • Phone: 740-387-4255
  • Web:

Heritage Hall and the Marion County Historical Society & Museum in Marion, Ohio features the historical museum and Warren G. Harding collections, a gift shop, and the Rinker/Howser Resource Center for genealogical research. While at Heritage Hall you may also visit the Wyandot Popcorn Museum with over 50 antique poppers. Also operated by the Marion County Historical Society is the restored 1897 Linn School, located on State Route 4 north of Marion. The building is open for walk-in visitors from 1-4 pm on the first and third Sundays, May through October. At Linn School, visitors find McGuffy readers, tin lunch pails, desks with fold-up seats, and more. Heritage Hall is the headquarters of The Marion County Historical Society and is located at the corner of Church and State Streets in Marion, Ohio.

Historic Fort Steuben

Admission to Historic Fort Steuben is $10/adult, $9/senior (ages 60+), $7/child (ages 6-12), and children 5 and under free.

  • Open:  May – October on Monday – Saturday from 10am – 4pm, and Sunday from 11am – 4pm
  • Location: (Map It) 120 S. Third St. in Steubenville, Ohio
  • Phone: 740-283-1787
  • Web: click here

Historic Fort Steuben in Steubenville, Ohio is a fully reconstructed 18th-century fort on its original site overlooking the Ohio River. With eight buildings, artifacts, displays, and an archaeologic dig, it recreates the life of the soldiers who were assigned to protect the surveyors of the newly opened Northwest Territory, the gateway to the west. Adjacent to the Fort is The First Federal Land Office, an original 1801 structure with antiques and documents. Ohio Valley Frontier Days with reenactors, crafters, music, and food is held the first weekend in June. Fort Steuben Park is home to the Fort Steuben Visitor Center and the Berkman Amphitheater where summer concerts are held on Thursday evenings.

McKinley Presidential Library & Museum

Admission to the McKinley Presidential Library & Museum is $10/adult, $9/senior (ages 60+), $8/child (ages 3 – 18), and children 2 and under free.

  • Open: Tuesday – Saturday from 9am – 4pm (closed noon to 1pm)
  • Location: (Map It) 800 McKinley Monument Dr. NW in Canton, Ohio
  • Phone: 330-455-7043
  • Web:

The William McKinley Presidential Library & Museum is a family-friendly history and science museum. The Museum includes the McKinley Gallery, the Street of Shops, the Keller Gallery, Discover World, the Hoover-Price Planetarium, and the Ramsayer Research Library. The McKinley National Memorial, which is the burial site of President William McKinley and his family, is also on the Museum grounds.

Buckeye Lake Historical Society Museum

Admission to Buckeye Lake Historical Society Museum is $4/adult, $2/senior, and $1/child.

  • Open: Tuesday – Sunday from 1pm – 4pm, Closed Monday and during February
  • Location: (Map It) 4729 Walnut Rd. in Buckeye Lake, Ohio
  • Phone: 740-929-1998
  • Web: click here

The Greater Buckeye Lake Historical Society Museum is a complete history of the famous amusement park during the ’30s, 40’s and ’50s. Photographs, restored rides, and 100’s of artifacts depicting the days of big bands and “The Playground of Ohio.” Other areas of interest are the Ohio Canal, Interurban display, local artists, and the history of the 5 regions surrounding the lake. Guided Boat tours of Buckeye Lake and Historic Cranberry Bog are available May-September by appointment. The museum is a non-profit that operates under the guidance of The Greater Buckeye Lake Historical Society.

National Road – Zane Grey Museum

Admission to the National Road – Zane Grey Museum is $7/adult, $6/senior, and $3 /student.

  • Open: May 1 – October 31 on Wednesday – Saturday from 10am – 4pm and Sunday from 1pm – 4pm
  • Location: (Map It) 8850 E. Pike in Norwich, Ohio
  • Phone: 740-826-3305
  • Web: click here

The Zane Grey National Road Museum
This excerpt is from a past edition of OhioTraveler

There’s an anecdote about Zanesville recalled from far back in childhood: A tourist in town asked for directions and was told to go to the middle of the bridge and turn left. He was also informed that he could cross the bridge and still be on the same side of the river. Each statement is preposterous as the other, yet both true. As well as the only Y-bridge in the world, Zanesville is also known as the center of the pottery industry. At one time there were 41 potteries in Muskingum County producing millions of artifacts, a few of which show up on Antiques Roadshow and fetch exorbitant prices.

But those anomalies pale in comparison to the literary accomplishments of the city’s favorite son. Zane Grey’s book sales have exceeded forty million copies of nearly ninety novels; too many to be published in his lifetime.  Twenty-five were produced posthumously and reprints of his work continue to this day, seventy years after his death.

Born Pearl Zane Gray in 1872, he grew up in Zanesville, a town founded by his maternal ancestors. His father, a dentist, disapproved of nearly everything his son found rewarding.  The fourth of five children, Pearl Zane was acknowledged in early childhood as complex.  He was never inclined toward academics, yet was a voracious reader, especially of Revolutionary and Western history.

A gifted athlete, his other interests were baseball, fishing, and brawling—the latter intensified by a testy personality and a short fuse. Of course, with a name like Pearl, a boy had better be able to fight.

Grey wrote his first story at age fifteen, but his father ripped it to shreds and beat him severely. It was his mentor, an old gent named Muddy Miser who encouraged him to pursue his natural instincts while his father insisted he learns dentistry—which he detested, though the training was prescient in an odd way.

In 1889 the Grays suffered a financial setback that hastened a move to Columbus and a change of the last name to Grey. Assisting monetarily, Pearl Zane made unlicensed house calls extracting teeth—until the state board caught up with him. Fortunately, he also caught the attention of a baseball scout, resulting in numerous college scholarship offers.

His study habits at the University of Pennsylvania were reflective of earlier patterns, spending most of his time at baseball, creative writing, and womanizing, all of which had priority over curriculum. With the minimal scholastic accomplishment, he graduated in 1896 and opened a dental practice in New York City—at once and permanently dropping his first name.

The location was a poor choice in view of the competition, but New York was the publishing capital and writing had become his passion—tempered with offers from professional baseball. Dentistry was merely a means to an end.

Nine years later and still foundering, he married Lina Roth whom he called Dolly. Eleven years his junior, she became his greatest asset. Her confidence and natural ability as an editor, along with an inheritance, allowed him to abandon the dental charade forever.

His first book, Betty Zane, a thinly disguised biography of a direct aunt and Revolutionary War heroine, was turned down by numerous publishers but won acclaim after being self-published with Dolly’s endowment. Three of his first four books were Indian-fighting pioneer stories of the Ohio Valley, but Zane Grey became best known for his Western fables that were first serialized in Harper’s Magazine.

His style generated a huge network of fans that eagerly awaited new publications that appeared like clockwork. But due to envy no doubt, the critics were as ravenous as his admirers. They alleged his depictions of the West were too fanciful as well as overly violent—his characters unrealistically larger than life. But in truth Grey relied on personal experience, scrupulous note taking, and photography. All of his works were categorized as fiction, yet were based on people and situations he had experienced first-hand, punctuated with authentic dialogue.

Unknown and unfathomable to his devotees was the fact that Grey fought serious bouts of depression all his life, with long unproductive spells. “Realism,” he said “is death to me. I cannot stand life as it is.” He often left his wife and three children for weeks or months to go on adventurous excursions, and spend time with mistresses that calmed his demons.

When he returned he would have a new story and frequently pounded out a complete book is two or three months. Attesting to his versatility and proficiency he interspersed the Westerns with two hunting books, two baseball books, and eight fishing books.

The road to success had been excruciatingly long and convoluted, but the deferred arrival seemed to contain momentum that once freed was unstoppable. Grey became one of the first millionaire authors, and Hollywood developed a lust for his flair that exceeded book publishers.  In 1918 he moved his family to Altadena, California to be closer to the movie industry.

At one time Grey owned his own motion picture company which allowed faithfulness to his books to the degree of filming on the authentic locations he had described. Eventually, he sold the company and remained as a consultant, but became disillusioned with the film industry over the dilution of his stories and characters. It was no doubt charitable to his conscience that many of Hollywood’s adaptations came after his death.

Even so, he is credited with 110 films, one TV episode, The Zane Grey Show, and a series, Dick Powell’s Zane Grey Theater, which ran for five years based on his novels and short stories.

Zane Grey died in 1939 perfecting an exercise he loved as much as writing—the casting of his fly rod—off the porch of his California home.

It’s not surprising that several domains sought to declare him as their own. Of course, the city named as a derivative of his ancestral surname, and known more for Zane Grey than he for it, will always pay tribute. Curiously the archives are not in Zanesville but in Norwich, ten miles east on Rt. 40. The National Road Zane Grey Museum honors not only the author but also the area’s pottery industry and the forging of the “Main Street to the West” that shares Grey’s famous theme.

Whether coming or going, you will want to traverse Zanesville’s legendary Y-bridge located on the Rt. 40 main thoroughfare, but vigilance is required at the middle—where the unexpected has been known to alter and sometimes add a new dimension to the journey.

By Robert Carpenter

National Veterans Memorial and Museum

Admission to the National Veterans Memorial and Museum is $17/adult, $15/senior, $10-12/student, and Free for veterans, Gold Star Families, and members.

  • Open: Wednesday to Sunday from 10am – 5pm.
  • Location: (Map it) 300 West Broad Street in Columbus, Ohio
  • Phone: 614-362-2800
  • Web:

National Veterans Memorial and Museum is here today because of John Glenn, former Ohio Senator and Marine Colonel. Through his leadership, this site now honors the men and women who served. In addition to the significant names and dates of soldiers and battles, the museum shares intimate belongings and pain that so many veterans carry.

National Voice of America Museum

Admission to the National Voice of America Museum is $10/adult and $5/child ages 5-12.

  • Open: Saturday and Sunday from 1 – 4pm
  • Location: (Map It) 8070 Tylersville Rd. (GPS use Crosley Blvd.) in West Chester, Ohio
  • Phone: 513-777-0027
  • Web:

The National Voice of America Museum of Broadcasting showcases the story behind the world’s first “superpower.” That power came in the force of 500,000 watts. But today the FCC requires it to operate at far less capacity. This “Voice of America” helped win WWII. Hitler referred to the world-wide broadcasts as “Those Cincinnati liars!” Today, the complete story is available by touring the historic landmark and museum.

The story begins with President Roosevelt (FDR) turning to Powel Crosley, Jr. and his corps of pioneering engineers. They in turn created transmitters and antennas that reached millions of listeners in Europe, Africa, and South America. The innovation in technology that took place in the building during the war was groundbreaking. The rest, as they say, is history.

Oberlin Heritage Center

Oberlin Heritage Center tours range from about $3-6/adult.

  • Open: Tours on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday at 10:30am and 1:30pm. Museum open Tuesday through Saturday, 10am – 3pm.
  • Location: (Map It) 20 W. Vine St. in Oberlin, Ohio
  • Phone: 440-774-1700
  • Web: click here

The Oberlin Heritage Center, accredited by the American Association of Museums, is the history museum, historical society and historic preservation organization of Oberlin, Ohio. It offers tours of three historic buildings focusing on Oberlin history, including abolition and the Underground Railroad, African-American history, women’s history, and the history of aluminum. It also features a “hands-on” one-room schoolhouse, which school-age visitors particularly enjoy.  The Oberlin Heritage Center also organizes educational programs and events on a variety of topics for audiences of all ages.  Please contact the Oberlin Heritage Center for more information on its tours and educational programs, Oberlin’s history, and in-house research facilities and resources.”

Ohio History Center

Welcome to the Ohio History Center featuring the Museum, Archives, and Library of Ohio History Connection in Columbus

Admission to the Ohio History Center is $13/adult, $11/senior (ages 60+), $11/student (with college ID), $7/youth (ages 4 – 12),  and children 3 and under free.

  • Open: Wednesday – Sunday from 10am – 5pm, Closed Monday & Tuesday
  • Location: (Map It) 800 E. 17th Ave.  in Columbus, Ohio
  • Phone: 614-297-2300 or 800-686-6124
  • Web: click here

The Ohio History Center in Columbus, Ohio depicts Ohio history from the Ice Age to 1970. The museum’s interesting architecture is made up of three stories, 250,000 square feet, supported at the base by a glass-enclosed entryway anchored by four stunning columns. It houses the museum, library, and state archives of Ohio, gift shop 280 seat auditorium, and offices. The library preserves and collects written and graphic information concerning Ohio’s history. The museum store offers publications, posters, ceramics, and historical reproductions, educational games, and toys. Teachers and members receive a 10% discount. In addition to its permanent collection, the center offers a rotating schedule of temporary exhibits. The Center’s newly renovated, permanent natural history exhibit features Ohio’s plants, animals, geology, geography, and climate and weather.

Excerpt from a past edition of OhioTraveler


Ohio’s history is filled with truths stranger than fiction.

The Buckeye State is home to an inordinate number of nationally acclaimed comedians, former Presidents and flyboys. It birthed “rock n roll” and Rockefeller. It fielded the first professional baseball team and houses the professional football hall of fame.

The 17th state of the union is as diverse as its landscape which features the north coast, Ohio River and Appalachia regions. It bridged the original states of the union to the rest of what would later become the lower 48 as “The Gateway State.”

Welcome to the wonderful world of Ohio history. It’s as unique as the building that contains it. In the capital city of Columbus, Ohio’s past is presented in all its glory at the Ohio History Center.

Its permanent collections, traveling exhibitions and special events deliver a new experience every visit. Many innovative and interactive displays engage the minds of young and old in impactful settings.

Ohio’s ancient past explores more than 15,000 years of Ohio’s prehistoric and historic Native American heritage. Interesting discoveries are revealed here including the Adena Pipe, the mica hand, and the Wray figurine. Not only are visitors able to see life as it was thousands of years ago in these lands, but computer stations allow for even deeper exploration for information.  Try the Ohio Historical Society’s Archaeology blog and tour the First Ohioans on-line exhibit.

Venture from the ancients to frontier days to the 1970s, focusing on agricultural and industrial progress. One of the most popular sections of this exhibit is Ohio and its role during the Civil War. Artifacts include weapons, uniforms, medical and camp equipment among other notable items. The highlights continue with 1920s newsreels, an operating carriage shop, vintage automobiles and children’s activities, including a log cabin and pioneer kitchen, where young people may dress in pioneer clothes and operate a spinning wheel for starters.

The Ohio History Center leaves no stone unturned and even preserves the history of nature in Ohio.  Here, visitors can explore five themes of Ohio’s natural history: plants, animals, geology, geography and climate. Greeting all those who enter is the enormous Conway mastodon. Beyond its grasp is a tour spanning the ice age presented in a highly interactive manner designed for young people to touch specimens and play with computer displays and other hands-on stations.  Highlights include Battelle Discovery Park and Theatre.

Located on the third floor of the Ohio History Center is the Archives/Library. It is there that researchers, historians and otherwise curious minds gather to delve into every nook and cranny of Ohio’s documented history. It also houses the State Archives of Ohio. Genealogists are one of the most popular patrons of the Archives/Library.

Adjacent to the Ohio History Center is Ohio Village. Ohio Village is designed to recreate the typical county-seat town in Ohio during the mid 19th century. The buildings are fully operational and complete, not just merely facades. The village is only open to the public for special events, school groups and private events.

More to explore:

The Center offers educational programs for school groups with a wide range of subject-focused field trips. Group tours may be arranged for seniors, church groups, large families, students and youth groups. Private events and parties may be planned in the Center or Ohio Village for meetings, weddings and banquets of all kinds. The Ohio History Store offers books and magazines, posters, ceramics, historical reproductions and much more.

Ohio River Museum

Admission to the Ohio River Museum in Marietta is $7/adult, $4/student (K-college with ID), and children 5 and under free. 

  • Open: April – Labor Day on Monday & Wednesday – Saturday from 9:30am – 5pm, Sunday & holidays from 12pm – 5pm, Closed Tuesday; September – October on Saturday from 9:30am – 5pm, Sunday & holidays from from 12pm – 5pm; Closed Easter & November – March
  • Location: (Map It) 601 Front St. in Marietta, Ohio
  • Phone: 740-373-3750
  • Web: click here

The Ohio River Museum in Marietta gives a detailed description of the golden age of the steamboat.  It also gives an educational program about the ecology of the Ohio River system.  The museum features three buildings, the first one offers displays about the origins and natural history of the Ohio River.  The steamboat is the main focus in the second building which offers many steamboat displays along with and educational video on steamboats.  The third building houses displays on the art of boat building along with displays about mussels in the Ohio River and tools and equipment from the steamboat era.

Old Courthouse Museum

Admission to the Old Courthouse Museum in Dayton is $5/person

  • Open: Tours are provided by request (prefer 2 weeks notice)
  • Location: (Map It) 7 N. Main St. in Dayton, Ohio
  • Phone: 937-293-2841
  • Web: Click here

The Old Courthouse Museum in Dayton has exhibits that are displayed by the Montgomery County Historical Society and feature the history of the area. The museum features items from the Wright Brothers to the National Cash Register Company and its founder, John Patterson. This old courthouse and the courthouse square have been witness to speeches by Presidents from Lincoln to Reagan. And as a national historical monument, the structure is one of the finest Classical revivals in the country.

Portage County Historical Museum

Admission to the Portage County Historical Museum is free with a requested donation of $5/person (for a tour of the facility) and $3/person (for just the museum).

  • Open: Saturday from 9:30am – 12pm
  • Location: (Map It) 6549 N. Chestnut St. in Ravenna, Ohio
  • Phone: 330-296-3523
  • Web: click here

The Portage County Historical Museum is a 12-acre museum site that includes the John Lowrie & Mary Helen Beatty Museum, a pioneer homestead, a land grant office, an 1810 New England barn, the Ford Seed Company museum, a steam traction engine, and a distinctive clock tower with an 1882 clock and bell. The museum itself has a vast collection of artifacts including native-American tools, pottery, casting tools, Riddle Hearse, military items, farm tools, saddles, household fixtures, kids’ clothes and toys, and women’s clothing and jewelry. Visitors should be sure to see the cathedral-style stained glass window, which originally came from the courthouse built in 1882.

Southeast Ohio History Center

Admission to the Southeast Ohio History Center $5/adult, $3/senior or student, and free for children 12 and younger.

  • Open: Wednesday – Saturday from 12:30 – 3:30pm
  • Location: (Map It) 24 W. State St. in Athens, Ohio
  • Phone: 740-592-2280
  • Web:

The Southeast Ohio History Center showcases the history of Athens County. The collection features permanent and changing exhibits that explore the region’s history. Genealogists are available to assist visitors with researching family history. In addition, there are lectures and special events planned throughout the year.

Strongsville Historical Society Village

Admission to the Strongsville Historical Society and Village is $5/adult, $4/senior, and $3/child (ages 6 – 10). 

  • Open: June through August (Tours on Wednesday at 1pm)
  • Location: (Map It) 13305 Pearl Rd. in Strongsville, Ohio
  • Phone: 440-572-0057
  • Web: click here

The Strongsville Historical Society and Village allows visitors to see what it was like to stroll through a 19th-century village, complete with a general store. Additional buildings include a log cabin and a millinery. All of the buildings at this quaint recreated village are original structures, either in their original places or moved to the village from other locations throughout Strongsville.

Warren County Historical Museum

Admission to the Harmon Museum and Warren County Historical Society is $10/adult, $6/student (ages 5 – 18), and $25/family (consisting of 2 adults and up to 4 children).

  • Open: Tuesday – Saturday from 10am – 4pm
  • Location: (Map It) 105 S. Broadway in Lebanon, Ohio
  • Phone:  513-932-1817 
  • Web: click here

Harmon Museum and Warren County Historical Society is located in historic downtown Lebanon, Ohio (just two doors south of the Golden Lamb Inn) and is acclaimed as one of the nation’s most outstanding county museums.  Inside is a host of exhibits ranging from prehistoric times through the Victorian age and beyond.  Most notable are the museum’s extensive paleontology and archaeology collections, its Village Green exhibit (that has charming arrangements of antique toys, clocks, guns, and clothing), and its Shaker Gallery (which features one of the largest collections of Shaker artifacts found anywhere).  Other noteworthy exhibits include a pioneer cabin, unique collections of horse-drawn vehicles, early farming tools, and folk art.  There is also local history and genealogy library that houses a vast quantity of manuscripts and reference material.  The museum store, The Rocking Horse, sells Shaker reproductions, decorative accessories, and books.

The historical society also owns and operates Glendower Historic Mansion at 105 Cincinnati Ave. in Lebanon, Ohio. Admission is the same. The mansion is open Thursday – Sunday from 12pm – 4pm during summer and December.

Wood County Museum

Admission to the Wood County Museum is $7/person 13-64 years old, $6/senior, $3/youth, age 5 and under free.

  • Open: (Museum) December – January on Monday – Friday from 10am – 4pm, February – December on Monday – Friday from 10am – 4pm and Saturday – Sunday from 1pm – 4pm; (Grounds) Daily from 8am to 30 minutes after sunset
  • Location: (Map It) 13660 County Home Rd. in Bowling Green, Ohio
  • Phone: 419-352-0967
  • Web:

Click to read:
The County Poor House

The Wood County Museum in Bowling Green is located on the grounds of the former Wood County Infirmary. This unique site is one of the last county infirmaries where nearly all of the original structures still stand. The Museum includes the large, Victorian Era building, now a museum with over thirty exhibit rooms dedicated to showcasing the history of the Home and of Wood County. The outdoor park, maintained by the Wood County Park District, offers an herb garden, nature trails, and numerous outdoor points of interest including a working oil derrick and an extensive collection of farm implements. The Museum hosts a variety of public education programs and events including Living History Day, Power of Yesteryear Tractor Show, Gala Fundraiser, monthly curatorial programs and social teas, and self-guided or guided group tours for schools and organizations. The site was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1979.

More Things to do This Month in Ohio

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