52 Free Ohio Museums to Visit on National Museum Day
By Roxy Reminick

52 Free Ohio Museums to Visit on National Museum Day

The Cincinnati Museum Center

Smithsonian Magazine is hosting annual Museum Day, offering free entry to participating museums on Saturday, September 21, 2019. Be sure to print off your Museum Day ticket, which includes admission for two guests. Take a trip and visit one of the 52 participating Ohio museums!

North West:

  1. Bicycle Museum of America offers an eye-opening tour through the evolution of the bicycle and its contribution to society.
  2. Delphos Canal Commission Museum is dedicated to the area’s history with an emphasis on the Miami and Erie Canal that runs through town.
  3. Visit a 1906 mansion-turned-museum at Logan County History Center where local history of automotive manufacturing and music is on full display.
  4. One may be surprised by the extensive collection of Civil War era artifacts at Museum of Fulton County, OH, including a map to learn who was living in each township during the war.
  5. National Museum of the Great Lakes is dedicated to the lakes, vessels, and people who operated on them. Kid-friendly interactive activities and the real Tugboat are visitor favorites.
  6. See special exhibits “Women of Spiegel Grove” and “Demon Rum & Cold Water: The Two Sides of Temperance” during Museum Day at the Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Library & Museums.
  7. This Museum Day marks the last day of “Apple Week” at Sauder Village where visitors can press their own cider.
  8. Relive rock and roll concerts from the last 50 years, on exhibit at the Toledo History Museum.
  9. The “Everything Is Rhythm” exhibit at Toledo Museum of Art features a selection of 20th–century abstract paintings, each paired with a curated musical composition that resonates with it in some way.
  10. All of Ohio’s 88 counties are represented in the exhibit, “For Comfort and Convenience” at Wood County Historical Center and Museum.

North East:

  1. View the unmatched collection of American watercolors and ceramics at the Canton Museum of Art.
  2. Old cars, historic mansions, and heritage of the Western Reserve are all on display at the Cleveland History Center.
  3. One of the top comprehensive art museums in the nation, the Cleveland Museum of Art is free year-round with phenomenal masterpieces in its main collection.
  4. Anyone interested in Maritime Art and wood carving should visit David Warther Carvings, and take home a knife from the gift shop!
  5. Children have the opportunity to learn about history and trains at the Dennison Railroad Depot Museum.
  6. Delve into Ohio’s role in the fight for independence at Fort Laurens Museum, the site of the only Revolutionary War fort in Ohio.
  7. Hundreds of War of 1812 artifacts are on display at Fort Meigs: Ohio’s War of 1812 Battlefield, where history buffs thrive.
  8. Experience the first settlement, church, schoolhouse, and code of laws in Ohio; restored at Historic Schoenbrunn Village.
  9. Enlighten all your senses with the “Sense of Zoar” art exhibit which pairs paintings of locations throughout Historic Zoar Village with different scents for the visitor to smell.
  10. Get inspired to reach new heights at the International Women’s Air & Space Museum.
  11. Celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the Ohio Farm Bureau at Johnson-Humrickhouse Museum.
  12. The Kent State University Museum has an impressive range of themed collections. Be sure to check out the Culture-Counterculture collection for a look back at Ohio’s role in shifting American culture.
  13. The Lorain County History Center is located in a 1857 mansion recently threatened by demolition but saved by the community. See tons of local history under one roof.
  14. The Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage is for anyone interested in the history of Cleveland, the role diversity plays in America, and the connection of the human experience.
  15. The Keller Gallery at McKinley Presidential Library & Museum displays “Stark County Food: From Early Farming to Modern Meals” based on a book by Kimberly Kenney and Barbara Abbott.
  16. See the first tools and pipes from what was once regarded the Clay Capital of the World at Museum of Clay Industry and Folk Art.
  17. The National Museum of Psychology opened in 2018 at The University of Akron and made it on Ohio Magazine’s “Best of 2019” list.
  18. The Oberlin Heritage Center is honoring Museum Day with free “Music in the Home” tours at 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. with the Museum Day Ticket.
  19. A handsome, historical home, the Reeves Museum offers a look into life during the Victorian era.
  20. The Hickories is named for the orchards that once surrounded this 1896 mansion-turned-museum depicting the lifestyle of a wealthy Lorain County family in the early 1900s.
  21. The Salem Historical Society* focuses on all phases of Salem’s history in industry, transportation, Underground Railroad, Civil War, Women’s Rights, entertainment and education.


  1. Art lovers, kids, and everyone in-between will enjoy an interactive experience at Columbus Museum of Art.
  2. If you are a barber, stylist, or you just like to sit in the chair, you’ll enjoy the National Barber Museum, dedicated to the art of barbering from ancient times to now.
  3. The Ohio Glass Museum offers a fabulous display of all the steps to producing fine glass pieces, from blueprint sketches to the final product.
  4. Ohio History Center is celebrating Hockey day, including the Civil War roots of the Columbus Blue Jackets, hockey trivia, and Ohio’s national sports history.
  5. View thirty art pieces of Jim Hodges, whose work incorporates themes of love and loss, at the Pizzuti Collection of the Columbus Museum of Art.
  6. Preserving Licking County’s industrial past was the original vision for The Works: Ohio Center for History, Art & Technology which is now an interactive learning center for all ages.
  7. Zanesville Museum of Art boasts a beautiful permanent collection, as well as substantial temporary exhibits that are notable for a museum of its size.

South West:

  1. Rail fans of all ages will enjoy the Bradford Ohio Railroad Museum for a look back at one of America’s greatest industries.
  2. Lose track of time at the Cincinnati Art Museum, a must visit for everyone living or visiting in the area.
  3. Learn about the first modern airport in the country at the Cincinnati Aviation Heritage Society & Museum.
  4. Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame and Museum chronicles the oldest franchise in professional baseball.
  5. Scale-down your museum day with local history at Clinton County Historical Society where one can immerse themselves in the Quaker history of the area.
  6. Discover Darke County’s significant past and historic personalities at Garst Museum & The National Annie Oakley Center.
  7. Visit for Civil War Encampment Weekend at Glendower Historic Mansion and Garden to see a real cannon fired and tours of the home belonging to a wealthy lawyer from 1845-1865.
  8. Harmon Museum of History, Art & Culture holds more than 30 exhibits and the largest collection of Shaker artifacts in the United States.
  9. The Harriet Beecher Stowe House is putting on a special free screening of the film Becoming Harriet Beecher Stowe at the Kennedy Auditorium at Xavier University.
  10. The National Afro-American Museum and Cultural Center has four powerful exhibits dedicated to the significance of African American history and culture.
  11. The Skirball Museum* has a long history as one of the oldest repositories of Jewish cultural artifacts in America.
  12. Discover art of Ohioans at Springfield Museum of Art and be sure to check out the outdoor sculpture trail!

South East:

  1. Get to know life on the Ohio frontier at Historic Fort Steuben and the exhibit, “Celebrate the Constitution.”

*Not open on Saturday, September 21. Museum Day Ticket will be valid on Sunday, September 22.

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