Motorcycles have long played a crucial role in the American mythos. The vroom of a twin-cylinder engine conjures images of Evel Knievel soaring through the sky on a daredevil jump or James Dean perched astride his 1955 Triumph Trophy, clad in a black leather jacket and brimming with smoldering angst. Even those who haven't felt their hands on the throttle can appreciate the motorcycle as an all-American icon of freedom, rebellion, and individuality.
The Motorcycle Hall of Fame Museum celebrates this iconography with exhibits that pay tribute to every aspect of motorcycling history. The museum's permanent collection is chock-full of memorabilia and ephemera from the early days of motorcycling, such as a 1885 Daimler Reitwagen and a turbo-powered penny-farthing from the same era. Visitors can also tour the Hall of Fame itself, a main-floor exhibition that celebrates the heroes of the racetrack and blacktop.
Whether defending the country at home or abroad, the American military has been responsible for some of the greatest achievements in human history. Motts Military Museum provides a permanent home for military artifacts, personally donated by many of the men and women who have served our country protecting our freedom and liberty, from the past two centuries of hard-fought battles.
Size: More than 10,000 square feet of exhibits on a four-acre parcel of land.
Eye Catcher: The Civil War exhibit features Union uniforms, a life-mask of President Lincoln, and belt buckles with bullets embedded in them.
Permanent Mainstay: A 36-foot Higgins Boat, one of very few left in the world. This one participated in seven landings in the South Pacific.
Don't Miss: A corn cob pipe that belonged to General Douglas MacArthur.
The headquarters of the nonprofit Ohio Historical Society, the Ohio Historical Center abounds with exhibits and activities that showcase the state's diverse social, natural, and archeological history.
Built in 1970, the museum's towering Brutalist edifice is a piece of history itself, lauded as "bold" and "imaginative” by the American Institute of Architects. Inside, a 15,000-square-foot gallery explores pivotal moments in the Buckeye State’s past, examining everything from Ohio’s role in the Civil War to Boomer Esiason’s stint as Secretary of State. A natural-history exhibit regales guests with interactive displays of animals, plants, and geography. In addition to its permanent exhibits, the center hosts an ever-changing selection of featured exhibits and special events.
Outside the museum sits Ohio Village, a re-creation of a Civil War–era town. Costumed villagers bustle about the square, performing chores and activities of the era, such as churning butter and checking wooden PalmPilots. The town's 15 buildings showcase the height of 19th-century architecture and include a Gothic-revival church, a large town hall, and an open market. The village is also the home of the renowned Ohio Village Muffins, who regularly compete in games of baseball played by 19th-century rules.
Called "a thrill of a lifetime" by GolfOhio.com, the 24,000-square-foot Jack Nicklaus Museum gives visitors an educated look at the history of golf while focusing on one of the sport's most well-known icons. Peruse the museum's Legends of Golf gallery, where links-lovers can discover the sport's Scottish roots and trace the evolution of essential equipment, from wooden clubs to titanium drivers. The mementos found within the Major Championships galleries tell the story of Nicklaus and his 18 major professional titles, including six Masters trophies, five PGA Championships, and four U.S. Open wins. Follow the legend's lifelong golf journey in the Decades of Nicklaus gallery, where each 10-year segment of Nicklaus' life—from his boyhood days in the '40s to his modern-day stardom—is embodied through a collection of memorable artifacts, including clubs, trophies, scorecards, and more.
Staff Size: 2?10 people
Average Duration of Services: 30?60 minutes
Parking: Parking lot
Handicap Accessible: Yes
Recommended Age Group: All ages
Pro Tip: Allow sufficient time for a full tour.
The Kelton House Museum & Garden is a window that looks out onto another time, presenting a glimpse of Victorian life through the lens of a family that lived it. The home features possessions that the family actually used, from woven hair brooches to an intricate grandfather clock built in 1790. Each item's place within the home tells its own story about the family's lifestyle, and tour guides add to the experience by costuming themselves in period garb. But guided tours aren't the only way to experience the museum. The museum also offers an audio tour enhanced with a musical score and period-appropriate sound effects, such as clocks chiming and bells ringing to call the family to dinner.
Depending on when you visit, the Ohio Craft Museum may be home to a fine assortment of pottery, metal work, wood carvings, jewelry, and just about anything else that can be considered a “craft”. The museum hosts five exhibits each year, and also hosts many workshops throughout the year, some of which are free to attend.