Housed in the stately 19th-century mansion of former governor Reuben E. Fenton, the Fenton History Center connects visitors of all ages to the rich history of the Jamestown area with museum tours, archeological outings, and children's programs. Visitors unearth mysteries about their family past through the genealogical and local history research center, or study their hometown's place in America's story with a wealth of exhibits. The museum's mementos include everything from a funeral card for Prince Louis Napoléon to letters from soldiers serving in the Civil War and World War II to photos of Lucille Ball, who was born in the city in 1911.
The Erie County Historical Society doesn't preside over just one museum—it maintains five of them. Of course, four of the museums are relatively small-scale, seeing that they're housed in former homes. Two homes from the Civil War era, known as the Battles Museums of Rural Life, feature historical gems as well as gardens and outdoor trails. Alternatively, the Cashier's House showcases relics related to the CFO of Erie's federal bank branch, who built the townhouse in 1839. At Watson-Curtze Mansion, the resplendence of the industrial era in Erie shines. And the Museum of Erie County History, exhibits pay homage to local history from pre-settlement to present day.
Glass Growers Gallery covers its walls and pedestals with works by more than 100 regional artists and hosts regular art exhibits and other events. Functional pieces include pottery, jewelry, and lamps ($5+); prints ($5+) provide inquisitive onlookers with windows into worlds in which people and animals move in slower-than-slow motion. Glass Growers Gallery also creates commemorative wall reliefs, sculptures, and personalized awards to help illustrate customers' appreciation for coworkers, teammates, and fellow award enthusiasts.