Road Trippin’ with Truda: Campus Martius and the Ohio River Museum
Posted June 29, 2022

Join Truda Shinker, our membership manager, as she visit the sites in the Ohio History Connection network! This month's road trip took her to Campus Martius and the Ohio River Museum in Marietta.

Campus Martius and the Ohio River Museum are both located in Marietta, which is in southeastern Ohio. If you've read The Pioneers by David McCullough, you know this area of the state is steeped in history. These museums do a great job of bringing that history to life and giving visitors a feel for life in a river town.

Campus Martius was a civilian stockade built in 1788 when Marietta was founded as the first organized American settlement in the Northwest Territory. Visitors can explore the Ohio Company Land Office, reportedly the oldest building in Ohio, and the Rufus Putnam House, once part of the Campus Martius stockade. Exhibits trace the early settlement of Ohio, as well as later migrations of rural Ohioans to cities and industrial centers.

The Ohio River Museum consists of three exhibit buildings, the first chronicling the origins and natural history of the Ohio River. The history of the steamboat on the Ohio River system is featured in the second building, along with a video presentation on river steamboats. The last building features displays about boat building, mussels in the Ohio River system and tools and equipment from the steamboat era.

Address: Campus Martius is located at 601 2nd Street. The Ohio River Museum is located at 601 Front Street. The two museums are within easy walking distance from each other. Parking is free at both museums. I would recommend parking at one museum and then walking to the other.

How much time: I would plan to spend a half-day exploring the two museums together.

My favorites: At Campus Martius, I especially enjoyed the Ohio Land Company Office and the Rufus Putnam House, as well as the Appalachian migration exhibit in the basement. At the Ohio River Museum, I loved getting to climb around the W.P. Snyder Jr. towboat. It was fun to imagine being a crewmember and the view was quite lovely.

Truda's Tips: Plan to make a day of it! The city of Marietta is worth a visit too. I had a great lunch at the Marietta Brewing Co.–they brew their own root beer!–and grabbed a Marietta Mocha at Jeremiah's Coffee House, both located on Front Street. Continue down the street to the Ohio Riverfront Park to see the confluence of the Muskingum and Ohio Rivers and watch the barges float by.

Don't Miss: While you're visiting the Ohio River Museum, be sure to tour the outside exhibits. The W.P. Snyder Jr. towboat, the Tell City Pilot House, a flatboat reproduction, a restored shanty boat and a series of poles showing the heights of some of the worst floods in recorded history to hit the Marietta area are all on the museum grounds.

For more information: Visit our web pages for Campus Martius and the Ohio River Museum or the Marietta Museums website. Become an Ohio History Connection member and visit both museums for free!

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