AAA Editor Notes
Ohio History Center, off I-71 exit 111 at 800 E. 17th Ave., houses the Ohio History Connection's administrative offices, the state history museum, a historical research library and the state archives. Exhibits at the 271,000-square-foot museum include items related to Ohio's archeological, agricultural, industrial, social and natural history. Galleries feature the state's plants, animals, geology, geography and climate plus a history timeline stretching from the Ice Age through modern times. Touring exhibits also are featured.
Open since 1970, the center is designed in the mid-20th-century-modern Brutalist style and resembles a huge, concrete box floating in the air. As visitors enter the museum, a massive, life-size skeleton of the Conway mastodon welcomes them.
A large portion of the museum chronicles Ohio's role in wars in which the United States took part, from the War of 1812 through World War II, with an emphasis on the Civil War. Displays contain weapons, medical equipment, and uniforms and civilian clothing worn by men, women and children. Restored but well-worn Civil War battle flags are paired with narratives written by soldiers who survived the war. This 15,000-square-foot gallery also provides details about Ohio's progress in agriculture and industry with a collection of more than 5,000 artifacts, including newsreels from the 1920s and vintage 20th-century automobiles.
Ohio's Ancient Past delves into the history of the First Ohioans through displays of arrowheads, pottery, beads and animal effigy pipes. Visitors are invited to handle some of the pieces used regularly by the Native Americans.
Kids can fire up their imaginations through the museum's hands-on activities, such as using computers to learn about Ohio's natural history. A replica of a log cabin with a pioneer kitchen allows children to play dress-up with pioneer clothes and make yarn on a spinning wheel.
Ohio's natural history is preserved through a display of mounted animals which includes such specimens as a bear, wolf, cougar, bison, ivory-billed woodpecker and the world's last documented passenger pigeon. Other exhibits devoted to natural history explore Ohio's plant life, geology, geography and climate.
Time: Allow 1 hour, 30 minutes minimum.