The McDowell House Museum is the home and apothecary shop where Dr. Ephraim McDowell lived and worked between 1795 and 1830. In 1809, Dr. McDowell performed history's first successful ovariotomy on a Mrs. Jane Todd Crawford, cementing his role in medical history as "The Father of Abdominal Surgery".
A longtime collaborator of Frank Lloyd Wright hailed for his innovative and organic structures, architect William Wesley Peters designed the 85,000-square-foot Norton Center for the Arts as a space where performance and visual art could commingle. Since its opening in 1973, the Center has championed both innovative and classical works and artists, with a world-renowned roster of talent appearing over the years, including James Earl Jones and the Vienna Boys’ Choir. Before entering its theater spaces, patrons' eyes catch the vibrant walls of the Grand Foyer that hold the Center’s collection of contemporary artwork displayed alongside a rotating lineup of secretly sentient statues and special exhibitions. Echoing with the memory of almost 40 years’ worth of show-stopping musical numbers and heart-rending violin solos, Newlin Hall’s plush red seats and cochleae-tickling acoustics contribute to the space’s renown as a setting for awe-inspiring performances. The smaller stage of the Weisiger Theatre captivates crowds with intimate performances where audience members in any seat of the house can hear the last-meal request of a tree on stage as it falls.
The Great American Dollhouse Museum houses hundreds of miniature buildings and citizens in a newly renovated 6,000-square-foot historical building, with high arched ceilings and an immense skylight. Curator Lori Kagan-Moore's vision for the museum is that each piece and scene be as authentic as possible. The exhibit begins with a timeline of U.S. history rendered in miniatures and moves to a village set in the early 1900s. The mini-land features a Shaker settlement, gypsy caravan, orphanage, and more, filled with characters wearing period-accurate clothing and interacting with period-accurate cell phones. The dollhouses are kind enough to leave their backs open so museum-goers can peek at the décor, dolls, and salivating grizzly bears. The museum concludes with a fantasy forest, complete with fairies, centaurs, and dragons.
A rustle of wind whips through the dark forest rising up behind the deserted building, increasing the sense of foreboding that has settled over the clearing for much of the afternoon. The silence is broken by a bird’s shrill call from a distant tree and, as if on queue, a masked figure steps out from inside the weathered structure and aims his marker at his opponent hiding behind the small trailer in front of him. Suddenly finding herself splattered with vibrant purple paint, the targeted adversary takes off across the green field, firing off a polychromatic round of pellets in her wake.
Founded with the hopes of granting its guests the chance to experience adrenaline-laced interactions such as these, Band of Brother Paintball offers acres of play space for pigment-slinging snipers. Before sending patrons out for rounds of fast-paced play, the knowledgeable staff outfits them with an arsenal of rental equipment and paintballs. Once armed, shooters take to obstacle-laden fields, bobbing and weaving between metal cylinders as they try to create passable forgeries of Impressionist paintings on the backs of fellow combatants.
Beer Engine Microbrewery & Tap's resident beer buffs conjure signature batches of oat sodas that are brewed in-house. Sip on a quartet of samples from Beer Engine's five microbrews, which range from Freedom Ranger pale and King George's nut brown ale to Kirkner's amber––a quintessentially American brew made purely from waves of grain. Souvenir pint glasses hold aloft foamy fermentations such as virtue porter or czechvar, and half-gallon growlers allow sippers to tote their two favorite potables home and may be returned and refilled later for a fee of $11.