Ohio River Museum plans get financial windfall

New museum will replace old one on Front Street

Plans for a new Ohio River Museum are moving forward after officials received $950,000 which was allocated through the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. (Photo by Michele Newbanks)

Plans for a new Ohio River Museum are moving forward thanks to $950,000 which was allocated through the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

Jean Yost, Friends of the Museum board member, said they found out about the funding around Christmastime.

He said the project was first announced four years ago. In 2011, they decided to put an addition on the river museum, but that plan was scrapped.

“The flood plains had changed since the construction of the original building,” he said, adding they are now planning to build a new museum, which will be constructed in front of the present museum on Front Street.

They hope to use parts of the old building in the new one, he said.

Naomi Schock, customer service and volunteer coordinator at Campus Martius Museum, examines a gun exhibit Monday afternoon at the museum. (Photo by Michele Newbanks)

“(The current museum) will stay open until the new museum and plans are complete for new exhibits,” Yost said. “We’ve had three years or planning for what type of exhibits and what the public wants to see.”

The $950,000 will be added to about $2 million the board has accumulated for the project.

Yost said they will be releasing more information in the next month or so.

In other museum news:

¯ A Foundations of Freemasonry Lecture will be held at 2 p.m. Feb. 2 at Campus Martius.

The cost is $10 per person and there is limited seating, so reservations are required. The lecture is also available through Zoom.

Bill Reynolds, museum historian and exhibit specialist, will be the lecturer for the hour-long program, which was also held last November.

“It’s about how (Freemasons) came here after the Revolutionary War to the Northwest Territory and how it influenced early life in Marietta,” Reynolds explained. “The origins of freemasonry.”

He said the lecture will also cover the role of the American Union Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons, which is the oldest Masonic lodge in Ohio.

Rufus Putnam was a member of the lodge and became the first grandmaster of masons in Ohio, Reynolds said. He will discuss how Putnam became a member and how the meetings are unusual or of note.

“It’s not limited to people who are freemasons,” he added. “Everybody will find something interesting.”

¯ The Contemporary Gunmakers & Allied Artists Show will be held from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Feb. 13 at Campus Martius. The cost is regular museum admission of $7.

According to the museum, Campus Martius will feature the work of several dozen traditional gunmakers from around the Ohio Valley, as well as several other craftsmen who work in the manner of the 18th and 19th century.

Reynolds said there will be other things besides makers of flintlock and percussion guns.

“Along with the firearms, you can see the accouterments that went along with them,” he said, including horn makers, hunting bag makers, leather workers, tinsmiths and cabinet makers.

This is a show they’ve done several years, he added.

“We’re going to have some really good folks here, and some new people,” he added.

He said during the show, social distancing will be observed and everyone is required to wear a mask.


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