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Ohio Sites & Museums

Archaeology and History Sites in Ohio

Arms Family Museum

The Arms Family Museum in Youngstown occupies an Arts and Crafts style mansion that was built in 1905. The mansion initially served as the home of the Arms family, who collected a wealth of interesting decorative artworks with which to furnish their home. The museum also contains a range of temporary exhibits. The entry ticket to the museum includes additional entry to the nearby Tyler History Museum. Website

Fort Ancient Earthworks

Ohio is famous for its prehistoric earthworks. Some of the finest examples are the Fort Ancient Earthworks near Lebanon. Archaeologists identify the people who built this site with the Hopewell culture, arguing that they inhabited the area between 200 BCE and 400 CE. In 1891, the land on which the earthworks stand became Ohio’s first state park. Visitors can make use of the hiking trails through the local woodland or visit the museum. Website

Fort Meigs

Fort Meigs near Perrysburg was built by the U.S. Army in the early 19th century. In the War of 1812, the U.S. clashed with British forces and the fort became an area of contention. In April-May 1813 British troops, assisted by the indigenous Tecumseh’s Confederacy, laid siege to the fort but were ultimately unsuccessful. Now reconstructed, special events take place here throughout the year, including re-enactments of the battle that took place. Website

James A. Garfield National Historic Site

James A. Garfield was the 20th President of the United States. Garfield moved into this mansion in Mentor in 1876 and it was from here that he ran much of his successful 1880 presidential campaign. After Garfield’s assassination, his wife added a Memorial Library to the house, the first of the country’s presidential libraries. It remained in Garfield’s family until the 1930s, when it was converted into a heritage attraction. Website

Hopewell Culture National Historical Park

The Hopewell Culture National Historical Park encompasses a series of prehistoric earthworks. These were constructed by communities who lived here between 200 BCE and 500 CE. Archaeologists refer to them as members of the Hopewell culture. Excavation took place in the 19th century, with some of the artefacts now on display in London’s British Museum. Closer to the mounds themselves, a visitor’s centre explains the significance of the site and its history. Website

Lanterman’s Mill

One of the great picturesque sites of Ohio, Lanterman’s Mill in Youngstown looms above Mill Creek. Two men, German Lanterman and Samuel Kimberly, built the mill in the 1840s, after which it was used to grind buckwheat, wheat, and corn. During the 1980s the mill was restored to its former glory and continues to operate as a working mill. An ideal site for photographs, particularly in the autumn months. Website

Miamisburg Mound

The Miamisburg Mound in Montgomery County is one of the two largest conical earthen mounds in the eastern half of North America. 65 feet tall and 800 feet in circumference, its location in the landscape allows it to be seen for miles around. Excavations have taken part since the mid-19th century. Archaeologists link the construction of the site to the Adena culture, which lasted from 800 BCE and 100 CE. Website

Newark Earthworks

The Newark Earthworks represent the world’s largest set of geometric earthen enclosures. They were created by members of what archaeologists term the Hopewell culture between 100 BCE and 500 CE. It is possible that the earthworks had deliberate lunar alignments. Although much has been destroyed by urban development, importance portions of the earthwork remain. Since 2006, they have been recognised as the state’s official prehistoric monument. A museum is located on site. Website

SunWatch Village

In the 1970s, archaeologists undertook a salvage operation along the banks of the Great Miami River ahead of planned construction work. Their discovery of a prehistoric settlement, inhabited during the 13th century, led the plans to be changed, allowing excavation to continue for many years. A reconstruction of the original settlement followed, leading to the SunWatch Village that visitors encounter today. The site also hosts an interpretative center and events throughout the year. Website

USS Cod Submarine Memorial

A Gato-class submarine, the USS Cod launched in 1943, in the midst of the Second World War. In 1959, the US Navy decommissioned the vessel and used it as a training submarine. In 1976 it was converted for use as a heritage attraction; the submarine is now docked in Cleveland and is open for visitors throughout much of the year. A range of special events take place here. Website

Museums in Ohio

Allen County Museum

The Allen County Museum in Lima draws attention to the heritage of this part of western Ohio. Established by the Allen County Historical Society in 1950s, the museum includes not only a space for displays of its collection but also a local archive library, a children’s discovery center, a railway display, a historic house, and a preserved 19th century mansion. The museum hosts a range of special events throughout the year. Website

Amish and Mennonite Heritage Center

The Amish and Mennonite Heritage Center in Berlin explores the world of the Amish and the Mennonites, two Protestant communities from Europe who settled north-eastern parts of the United States in the 19th century. This museum opened in 1981 as the Mennonite Information Center before later taking on its current name. Among its features are a large circular mural titled Behalt, a 19th century schoolhouse, and a range of farm equipment and vehicles. Website

Central Ohio Fire Museum

Located in Columbus, the Central Ohio Fire Museum devotes its attentions to the history of the fire service. Housed in a 1908 engine house, the museum opened in 2002, since when it has displayed a range of historical firefighting vehicles and outfits. As well as displaying this range of historical material, the museum focuses on educating visitors all about fire safety issues – it includes a display of items destroyed in house fires. Website

Cincinnati History Museum

At Cincinnati History Museum, visitors can explore the heritage of this famous city. Located within the Cincinnati Museum Centre, an impressive art-deco structure, the museum is replete with reconstructions of urban scenes as they might have appeared in the 19th and 20th centuries, allowing visitors an immersive experience in the past. Other museums in the complex include the Museum of Natural History and Science and the Duke Energy Children’s Museum. Website

Heritage Village Museum

Recreating rural Ohio life as it might have appeared in the 19th century, the Heritage Village Museum in Sharonville takes visitors back into the past. 13 historic buildings from around the Cincinnati area have been brought here for preservation, including domestic dwellings, a church, a schoolhouse, a general store, and a barn. Various re-enactors in period costume, including as soldiers from the Civil War era, help contribute to the immersive visitor experience. Website

Historic Kirtland

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, whose members are commonly known as Mormons, is one of the most famous Christian denominations to have arisen in the United States. Run by the Church, Historic Kirtland brings together six historic buildings connected to the history of the Mormon movement. Opened to the public in 2003, the museum is run by Church members, whose beliefs inform their presentation of the built heritage. Website

Johnson-Humrickhouse Museum

Established in 1931, the Johnson-Humrickhouse Museum stands in Roscoe Village. Its eclectic collection comprises over 17,000 objects and includes a range of prehistoric and historic Native American material, objects pertaining to the broader history of Ohio, a selection of 19th and 20th century decorative arts, and an array of Japanese and Chinese artefacts. It is also home to the controversial Newark Holy Stones. Each year the museum hosts a temporary exhibition. Website

Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage

The Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage in Cleveland focuses on the Jewish community that has lived in this city and the surrounding area of Ohio since the 19th century. Opened in 2005, the museum juxtaposes historical artefacts with a range of interactive exhibits to enable the visitor to gain a better appreciation of Jewish American life and culture in the Buckeye State. Various special exhibitions supplement the main collection. Website

New Indian Ridge Museum

Established in 2000, the New Indian Ridge Museum in Amherst brings together a range of archaeological objects from different periods of this region’s past. Its focus is on the history of Amherst and its ‘founding father’, Jacob Shupe, as well as on the work of those who created the original Indian Ridge Museum. The museum is not generally open to the public although is open to enquiries. Website

Ohio History Center

Run by the Ohio History Connection, the Ohio History Center is the state’s heritage museum. Displays cover a broad swathe of time, from prehistory through to the Civil War and onto the First World War and then the 1950s. Material also deals with the history of Ohio sport. The Ohio History Center also includes the Ohio Village, a reconstructed 19th century town; two baseball teams play here, using the 19th century rules of the game. Website