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Ohio History Center Exhibits

The flagship museum in Columbus features over 60,000 square feet of exhibit galleries.

1950s: Building the American Dream 

July 2013 - 2018
Experience the 1950s through the eyes of a family living in central Ohio with a hands-on, walk through of their Lustron home. Step back in time as you explore the nooks and crannies, cupboards and drawers of the family's real, full-size Lustron house, built right inside our museum!

Reflections of an Artist: Emerson Burkhart 

Sept. 3, 2014 - May 31, 2015
See work by Ohio artist Emerson Burkhart (1905–1969) who was born on a farm in Union Township near Kalida, Ohio, attended Ohio Wesleyan University and spent most of his professional career in Columbus. This exhibit in the third-floor Library Gallery and first-floor Spotlight Gallery features a selection of Burkhart portraits, self-portraits, prints and mural studies from throughout his career.

Buildings, Places & Spaces

Historic preservation is about protecting, promoting, and using historic places. It is also about the power of place, places that matter because they help tell the story of our state and our nation, of who we are and where we come from. Learn the history of the preservation movement in the U.S. and Ohio, and how the State Historic Preservation Office works with people throughout the state to identify and protect Ohio’s historic places.

Connecting to Your History

History is made up of all the ideas and things that comprise our everyday lives, from the important to the inconsequential. Our attics are filled with the individual stories and belongings of our ancestors. These family heirlooms become the information in our history books. What we do today will become tomorrow's history. This exhibit helps you explore your past, connect to your history, and share your story.

Follow the Flag

Battle flags are a source of pride, fellowship and identity for soldiers and civilians alike. By learning about the battle flags we can draw inspiration from those who carried them. Preserving the flags is one way to show our gratitude for the sacrifices soldiers made on our behalf.

Following in Ancient Footsteps

Explore more than 15,000 years of Ohio’s ancient Native American heritage. Some of the Society’s most significant archaeological artifacts, such as the Adena Pipe, the mica hand, and the Wray figurine, as well as many animal effigy pipes from Tremper Mound are centrally featured in tower cases. Fiber optic lighting enhances visitors’ almost 360- degree view of these, and other, unique and beautiful artifacts. Visitors can open multiple artifact drawers to see what the ancient people used on a daily basis, as well as for special purposes.

To Have and To Hold: Treasures of the Christopher Collection

This exhibition features a selection of ordinary and extraordinary objects from the Tom and Agnes Christopher Collection of largely 19th-century American furniture, ceramics, decorative arts, woodenware, and metal ware—each created and designed to hold something else. The exhibition provides an unparalleled opportunity to consider the whys and hows of material culture in 1800s America.

The Nature of Ohio

In this exhibit gallery, visitors can explore five themes of Ohio’s natural history: plants, animals, geology, geography and climate. The space opens with the giant Conway mastodon greeting guests as they begin a tour of Ohio’s unique natural history from the ice age to the present.


Ohio: Centuries of Change

This exhibit gallery chronicles Ohio history from frontier days to the 1970s, focusing on agricultural and industrial progress, leadership and the effect of major changes on the lives of ordinary people. Within the gallery is the popular section, Ohio And The Civil War, which describes Ohio’s key role in the conflict. Artifacts include weapons, uniforms, medical and camp equipment and battle flags from the Society’s collections. There is also a children’s activities area where young people can try on pioneer clothes, operate a spinning wheel and “cook” pioneer food.

The Ohio History Center turns 40

The Ohio History Center, headquarters of the Ohio History Connection, is celebrating its 40th anniversary. The building is a great example of the architectural style known as “Brutalism,” a rational, structuralist, monumental style exported by French and British architects in the mid-20th century. Upon its opening in 1970, the American Institute of Architects applauded the Ohio History Center as a “bold, imaginative, almost startling structure.”

White Castle: The History You Crave

The history of White Castle, America’s first hamburger chain, is celebrated in this panel exhibit. Visitors get a taste of artifacts and images from White Castle’s 85-year history, nearly all of it as a Columbus-based company. Items on display include plates and mugs, fountain glassware, posters, burger boxes, matchbooks, employee recognition pins, paper caps for men and women, sacks and a White Castle “clock” that has no hands because “we’re open all day and all night.”