Ohio and American originals: Exhibits gear up for Ohio bicentennial


COLUMBUS – Ohio Originals, open now at the Ohio Historical Center, gives a unique look at one-of-a-kind items connected to Ohio’s history. It serves as an unofficial kickoff to celebrating Ohio’s bicentennial, which officially begins March 1 (Statehood Day), 2003.

The exhibit was also created as a local backdrop for a traveling exhibit of rare documents from the National Archives, American Originals: Treasures from the National Archives, which opens May 24. Ohio is one of only eight stops for the national exhibit. The national exhibit continues through Sept. 2.

Emancipation Proclamation. In conjunction with American Originals, the National Archives will also share one of its greatest treasures with the American people by sending the original, signed Emancipation Proclamation to each of the sites.

This landmark document will be on special display for four days at each venue. It will be exhibited in Ohio June 20-23.

National gems. American Originals showcases original documents that have charted the course of American history. The exhibition is drawn from the vast holdings of the National Archives, which preserves and makes available to the public those records of the United States government that have been identified as having permanent value.

These original documents are physical links to the past. While some of the documents announce their own importance with flourished signatures and wax seals, others are deceptively routine in appearance. All of them have passed through the hands of the most notable figures in our nation’s history, and hold messages beyond their years.

Ohio’s early years. Ohio Originals features more than 100 artifacts and manuscripts spanning prehistoric times to the 1970s.

“The display is based on objects with special connections to Ohio – those that are the one and only of their kind or that are associated with an interesting and unusual story about an Ohioan,” said Ohio Historical Society exhibit coordinator Cynthia Ghering.

A Northwest Territory journal, Tecumseh’s ceremonial pipe and early Ohio maps give testimony to Ohio’s formative years in the exhibit. The original state of Ohio flag from 1902 is included in Ohio Originals, which covers Ohio’s environment, politics, industry, arts and literature, and aviation heritage.

Some selections depict Ohio firsts, such as serving pieces from the nation’s first hamburger restaurant chain, White Castle, and an Etch-a-Sketch.

Other exhibits. Other recently completed sections of the center’s revised history mall include Ohio and the Civil War, a children’s corner and a display of Ohio-made quilts.

Historical transportation models and agricultural implements from the previous exhibit remain on display.

The Civil War exhibit pays tribute to the contributions of the 346,326 Ohioans who served as Union soldiers with a display including five newly restored battle flags, weapons, medical and camp equipment and uniforms.

The center’s textile gallery, which regularly features a rotating array of the Society’s extensive collections, now showcases varied 19th- and 20th-century quilts including an 1880 piece made with an image of James A. Garfield and his family.

Details. The Ohio Historical Center, located at Interstate 71 and 17th Avenue in Columbus, is the headquarters of the Ohio Historical Society.

Hours through May 23 are Tuesday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday noon to 5 p.m. During the run of American Originals (May 24 through Sept. 2), the center will open on Mondays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

For more information, call 614-297-2300 or 800-686-6124, or visit www.ohiohistory.org.


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