The Ohio Origins of National Coming Out Day (October 11th)
Did you know one of the founders of National Coming Out Day (October 11th) is an Ohioan? Read her story and about the origins of NCOD!
Join me as I visit the sites in the Ohio History Connection network! This month's road trip took me to the National Road & Zane Grey Museum in Norwich and the John & Annie Glenn Museum in New Concord.
Muskingum County is home to two Ohio History Connection sites which are just perfect for a road trip. The National Road & Zane Grey Museum in Norwich is about five minutes away from the John & Annie Glenn Museum in New Concord. I would highly recommend making a day of it and visiting both when you’re in the area.
The National Road & Zane Grey Museum, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, has three different exhibit areas dedicated to three subjects which have all played an important part in eastern Ohio history. The first is dedicated to the National Road, which was America’s first federally funded highway and opened the door to the West. The second area features Zane Grey, a locally born author who wrote more than 80 novels and lived a life of adventure. (On a personal note, I was extremely excited to learn more about Zane Grey—my grandfather was a prolific Zane Grey reader and always had dog-eared paperbacks sitting by his chair.) And the third exhibit area covers Art Pottery, Ceramics and Tile. This area of Ohio is sometimes called the “Pottery Capital of the World” because of the rich clay deposits which resulted in a proliferation of pottery manufacturers.
The John & Annie Glenn Museum is housed in John Glenn’s boyhood home and has been restored as it was when he lived there until his enlistment in WWII. Through exhibits and living history presentations, visitors learn about American history through the lens of the Glenns’ lives.
Address: The National Road & Zane Grey Museum is located at 8850 East Pike, Norwich, OH. There’s plenty of parking right next to the museum.
The John & Annie Glenn Museum is located at 72 West Main Street, New Concord, OH. Parking is right behind the home. You enter the museum from the back.
How much time: I would plan about 60-90 minutes at the National Road & Zane Grey Museum. There are so many things to take in. And the gift shop is a lot of fun to poke around. When you get to the museum, you can choose to have a guided tour or explore on your own.
The Glenn Museum experience takes about 90 minutes. There’s a 20-minute video when you arrive that helps put the museum in context. Then there’s a guided tour that takes about an hour, depending on how many questions you ask.
A nice touch at both museums are the chairs that the staff has strategically placed around the exhibit areas. They are perfect for a little breather as you explore the museums. Although, be sure you don’t sit on the chairs in the living history area of the Glenn Museum—those are not meant to be touched.
My favorites: Now that I’m a person who visits a lot of museums, I really love noticing the different methods museums use to convey information. The National Road & Zane Grey Museum chronicles the history of Route 40 from 1806 to the 1920s through a huge diorama, which I thought was an incredibly effective way to tell the story. Visitors can see the conditions of the road, the types of vehicles used, the styles of the inns and taverns and the clothing of the people from eras before photography. The diorama builders also clearly had a sense of humor. Look closely and you’ll get a chuckle out of some of the scenes.
At the John & Annie Glenn Museum, the staff uses costumed interpreters to immerse visitors in the Glenns’ lives. They do a wonderful job of bringing history to life and making visitors feel like they are being welcomed into the Glenns’ home. I won’t tell you too much about how they do this because part of the fun is experiencing it for yourself.
Truda's Tips: Don’t miss the Dolly Grey exhibit in the classroom of the National Road & Zane Grey Museum. Dolly was Zane Grey’s wife, manager, financial advisor and editor. Without Dolly, Grey probably would not have achieved the success he did and he most definitely would have gone bankrupt. The exhibit brings her to life through stories, photos and letters. Also, be sure to leave time to explore the exhibits outside of the museum.
My tip for the Glenn Museum is to plan to visit again in two years. Every two years, the museum staff changes the interpretation year. Right now, the home is staged as it would have been in 1944. In two years, it will be set up as it was in 1962. In two more years, it will look as it did in 1937. I love that visitors can experience the Glenn home over multiple decades.
Kid Friendly? Definitely: The National Road & Zane Grey Museum would definitely appeal to kids. The giant diorama, outdoor exhibits and cars would all be interesting and engaging for children. I know my kids would have loved looking at the little vignettes in the diorama.
The Glenn Home would be great fun for elementary school-aged kids. I think they would really enjoy interacting with the costumed interpreter, exploring a home from a different era and seeing the items from John Glenn’s space flights. Because the home is staged to look like the Glenn family just stepped away, there are a lot of objects sitting within reach of little hands that shouldn’t be touched, so it could be a challenge to visit with very small children.
Lunch: I asked the staff at the Glenn Home for a lunch recommendation and they pointed us toward Scott’s Diner, which is within walking distance of the museum. Scott’s was packed with local residents when we arrived at 11:30 a.m. on a Friday and we were seated at the counter. One look at the menu and it was easy to see why it was so crowded. Scott’s is a traditional diner with a twist. Think breakfast all day, burgers and salads but with super fresh ingredients and some unusual additions. I was in the mood for breakfast, so I got the Western omelet, which came with a side of hashbrowns. I was a proud member of the Clean Plate Club by the end of the meal. My coworkers get the biscuits and gravy, the stacked ham & cheese sandwich and the Diner Breakfast. As we were leaving, my coworker said, “That was amazing.” We would all highly recommend Scott’s Diner.
And if you’ve read any of my past Road Trip articles, you know that stopping at a coffee shop on the way out of town is a tradition. Luckily, Chapman’s Coffee House shares a parking lot with the Glenn Museum! It’s a cozy, welcoming shop with some unique drink options, baked goods, sandwiches, salads and wraps. I had the Open Meadow flavored iced latte, which is a seasonal flavor blend of lavender, vanilla and honey. Delish! My coworkers had the salted caramel and the honeycomb flavored iced lattes and raved about them. This is definitely a place I would frequent if I lived in the area.
If you’d like to bring your own lunch, the National Road & Zane Grey Museum has several picnic tables available just behind the parking lot. There’s also a lot of space to spread out a picnic blanket if that’s more your speed.
For more information: To learn more about the National Road & Zane Grey Museum, you can visit our website or the site’s website. Find more information about the John & Annie Glenn Museum on our website or on the site’s website.
Want to make a day of your trip? Check out everything Muskingum County has to offer at the Zanesville-Muskingum County Chamber of Commerce & Convention and Visitor Bureau website.
Ohio History Connection members get free general admission to both of these wonderful sites. For more information or to join today, visit www.ohiohistory.org/join!