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“Two Museums in One!”

Ohio History Center
Ranked #29 of 157 things to do in Columbus
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: The history of Ohio from the Ice Age to the present is chronicled inside this architecturally interesting concrete and glass structure, housing a vast collection of artifacts, exhibits on everything from ancient Indian cultures to industrial progress and archives documenting early settlers' daily lives.
Reviewed 15 August 2013

There are really two aspects to the Ohio History Center. The first is the indoor museum that is very impressive, educational, informative and fun. The second is the Ohio Village located outside the museum that is a collection of nearly 20 buildings resembling a typical Ohio town during the Civil War period in the 1860’s. The museum currently has a unique display depicting lifestyles and history during the 1950’s. The centerpiece of this display is a full-size Lustron home that is completely furnished and stocked with everything you would expect to see in someone’s actual home during the 1950’s. The museum encourages you to open up drawers, look in closets, check storage cabinets to see objects from that time period. It is as though you are rummaging through a family’s home. This is a neat exhibit. Actually, everything that is on display in the museum is terrific and well worth your time.
The outdoor Ohio Village, on the other hand, was rather disappointing. While most of the buildings were open to walk through or at least to gaze inside from the entryway, three buildings were completely closed. They advertise that the village has costumed interpreters to provide a “history lesson” to village visitors. We only encountered one interpreter during our entire visit. Understandably, this is not Williamsburg with costumed characters everywhere, but only one interpreter was disappointing. Nonetheless, we did enjoy strolling through the village on a beautiful sunny day. Overall, the Ohio History Center is highly recommended. A $10 ($9 Seniors) admission fee is charged per person.
Here is a money saving tip . . . join the Ohio Historical Society for $35 ($30 Seniors) and you receive free admission to the Museum for the member and one companion. Your membership then provides free admission for the two of you to all 58 historic sites in the State of Ohio. Not only that, but you get free or discounted admission at nearly 200 other historic venues throughout America. It cost us nothing to visit the Ohio River Museum and Campus Martius Museum in Marietta, OH. We have already more than recovered the cost of membership in the Ohio Historical Society and will continue saving. Definitely a bargain!

2  Thank BionicOne
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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141 - 145 of 194 reviews

Reviewed 11 August 2013

As you drive by you think the three story brick block on a hill is the museum. You would be wrong. The museum is three times that size, pretty much one level, and underground. That kind of illustrates my feelings on the whole place. Just never quite what you expect. There is a very impressive formal entrance up a slope, past a stature and flag and into the first level of the visible structure, but that is not the way you enter. Instead you are brought into the underground level though a standard set of double doors that would be more fitting as a staff entrance. After our visit, we discussed this and decided it had to be done to facilitate wheel chair access. Once inside you say WOW, as the welcome area now feels like a major museum. To our surprise, it was teacher appreciation day, so we entry was free. Would have cost us almost $50. The museum space is a huge triangle with a square atrium in the middle, which is also the "basement" for the aboveground block. We did not have time to visit all the galleries, but really enjoyed the "1950s" and "Buildings, Places and Spaces" exhibits. The Ohio village was nice and we especially liked the activities highlighted in each building for children to do. There were costumed interpreters in several of the buildings, but in most you simply observed at your own pace. As such, it could have used a lot more signage. My guess is that they really are activity based, and that late afternoon was their slow time. The primary exhibit "Ohio: Centuries of Change" had a number of interesting artifacts, but it seemed to miss a cohesive story line, and many of the items were half hidden by thigh high concrete walls six inches from the object. The natural history section was primarily signage and computers. A little odd when you think about it. If you took the time to go up to the "main" level, there were several vehicles and aircraft on display as well as an excellent exhibit on the building itself. Once again I thought to myself, "why in the world don't they bring you in on this level." There was an very cool exhibit of glass photographic negs on second floor as well as the research library, but I only found them by wandering. Didn't seem to be any effort to encourage visitors to these spaces. I fully expected to be stopped by a security guard. They had a very nice gift shop. We came away having enjoyed our experience, but thinking that it could be so much more.

Thank youthtripplanner
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 August 2013

We really enjoyed our visit to the Ohio Historical Society. There is so much to see and do here. The kids loved it and we bought a family membership to enjoy again and again.

Thank snpkelley
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 31 July 2013

I visited the genealogy library. The staff is very helpful. I didn't go into the gift shop but it looks wonderful. They also have very interesting exhibits. This was one of my son's favorite places as a child.

Thank Patsy D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 25 July 2013

What fun. Delicious dinner and fun entertainment can be arranged. Sits right next to the State Fair so a great opportunity to have a change of pace.

Thank kansasrod
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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