Two-hour Trips From the MOV: Columbus offers Ohio history museum, German village

Photo by Amy Phelps The Conway mastodon welcomes visitors to the Ohio History Center museum.

A visitor to Columbus can find many different destinations to visit within the city limits. Two of such destinations are the Ohio History Center and German Village.

“The Ohio History Center is the perfect place to combine learning with family fun,” said Beth Ervin of ExperienceColumbus.com. “Each time I go, I get a deeper understanding and appreciation of the people, native species and natural and cultural forces that have shaped Ohio.

Visiting in the summer is extra special, because you can walk down the streets of Ohio Village, tour its homes and buildings and hear fascinating stories from the ‘villagers’ about 19th century life in Ohio.”

The museum has two floors of exhibits — the first floor and the plaza level.

The first floor hosts most of the exhibits, as well as the Discovery Theatre and a gift shop. The plaza level has an Argo biplane and a Aeronca plane as well as several cars and a White Castle history exhibit.

Photo by Amy Phelps The Ohio Village is a replica 1800s village in which townspeople interact with tourists.

On the first floor, visitors can see exhibits on the Nature of Ohio, starting with the Conway mastodon and see the animals and plants native to the area, from Ice Age to present. In the Follow the Flag exhibit, there are Civil War battle flags to see.

In the 1950s exhibit, visitors can see interactive displays of life in the 1950s, including popular music, movies, childhood, toys and iconic events. There is also a Lustron home to visit and explore.

In the Ancient Footsteps exhibit, there are artifacts of ancient people in Ohio to see, and the mounds of Marietta are also mentioned.

The Ohio Through Time exhibit looks at the history of the state from frontier days to World War II, and there are special exhibits for each county.

There are three galleries devoted to collections, whether its kitchen utensils through the ages, furniture, artwork or even a two-headed calf.

Photo by Amy Phelps The bicycle shop in Ohio Village has many types of historical bicycles.

Gallery four is a special exhibit that changes, and through Sept. 2 it is the Poindexter Village: A Portrait in Stories, which speaks on the African American migration to Ohio pre-World War II, and especially those that lived in Columbus’ Poindexter Village — a New Deal housing complex.

There are many different places that feature interactivity throughout the museum, that can help bring history to life to families.

One of the most interactive places is the Ohio Village, outside on the grounds of the museum. There, in a series of buildings, visitors can see 19th century life upclose and interact with storekeepers, teachers and townsfolk, as well as see artifacts of the time.

About 5 miles away from the museum is another historic area, German Village. With brick streets and historic buildings, the area may seem reminiscent to the Marietta area. Several of the shops are in their 1800s buildings, like Hausfraus Haven, now a wine store, Franklin Art Glass which was built in 1922 as an armory, The Red Stable which was a horse livery in 1872 and now is a gift shop and studio for Ohio-made products and art or the Golden Hobby Shop, selling crafts made by seniors, which is housed in a former German immigrant school building built in 1864. Schmidt’s is the oldest continually operating business, starting in 1886 by J. Fred Schmidt, and is run by the 5th generation of the family.

For those interested, the German Village Society offers resident-led tours of the area.

Photo by Amy Phelps A quilt representing secret signs of the Underground Railroad is part of a special exhibit that looks at the history of African Americans in Ohio.


Hitting the Road: Ohio History Center Museum is Worth the Trip

Getting there: The Ohio History Center Museum is 143 miles from Parkersburg. That’s a little over a 2 hour drive via 1-77N.

Eating: Columbus is full of local and chain eateries. The museum is 5 miles away from the Historic German Village area, which has more than 30 restaurants, including the famous Schmidt’s Restaurant und Sausage Haus.

Shopping: There are several local shops in the German Village area, including The Book Loft and The Red Stable.

Photo by Amy Phelps A board display offers visitors a chance to reflect and interact with the exhibit.

Outdoors: There are several parks in German Village to visit and you can also tour the village.


Find It Online

Columbus: experiencecolumbus.com

Ohio History Center Museum: ohiohistory.org

Photo by Amy Phelps A pork schnitzel meal is served at Schmidt’s Restaurant.

German Village: germanvillage.com


Events in Columbus

* July 20-22: Jazz and Rib Fest, Scioto Mile

* July 25-Aug. 5: Ohio State Fair, Ohio Expo Center

* Aug. 3-5: Dublin Irish Festival, Coffman Park

* Aug. 4: Pelotonia

* Aug. 17-18: The Columbus Food Truck Festival, Scioto Mile

* Aug. 31-Sept. 3: Greek Festival, Greek Orthodox Cathedral

* Sept. 3: Labor Day Arts Festival, Northam Park

* Sept. 7-9: Columbus Oktoberfest

Photo by Amy Phelps An airplane hangs at the Ohio History Center.

Photo by Amy Phelps A performer sings and plays during a dinner service at Schmidt’s Restaurant und Sausage Haus in German Village.

Photo by Amy Phelps One of the stained-glass panels at the restaurant in German Village.


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