Collections from Ohio National Parks

National Park Service, Centennial One Object Exhibit

In celebration of the National Park Service Centennial in 2016, this exhibit showcases one object from every national park museum collection in Ohio. We invite you to explore museum collections from Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park, First Ladies National Historic Site, Hopewell Culture National Historical Park, and James A. Garfield National Historic Site and Perry's Victory and International Peace Memorial.

This reproduction was created in 1996 by a cooperative agreement between Harpers Ferry Center of the National Park Service and the Western Reserve Historical Society. The artist was the former carpenter at Hale Farm & Village, William Collins. Two full ribs, part of a third. Side planking on all, with caulk. White painted top planking on half. Green and white painted tiller with metal reinforcement. Open/cutaway section so that interior is visible. Stern plate painted “Sterling/Peninsula” with image of horse and rider.The story of the Cuyahoga Valley National Park can be told through its people and landscapes. The Cuyahoga Valley is a 22-mile river valley in Northeast Ohio, nestled between Akron and Cleveland, on land once known as the Connecticut Western Reserve. The valley's landscape has evolved greatly over time. Starting as a wilderness inhabited by nomadic people, the valley transformed into scattered agrarian townships and hamlets during the 1800s. Starting in 1805, when the lands west were opened up for expansion, settlers had “Ohio Fever”� and traveled many miles from their well-established homes in the northeast to this dense wilderness to build new lives. Although these farmers progressed, they faced three economic problems: the scarcity of labor, the lack of capital, and isolation to the eastern markets. To get goods from this interior, a transportation system was needed to link it to the outside world. In 1825, the Ohio Legislature authorized the construction of the Ohio & Erie Canal from Cleveland to Portsmouth and today it is one of our most important cultural resources. As the rural landscape adopted a more“suburban” atmosphere, the valley became a center for recreational activities and was preserved as a National Park.This item sits in Boston Visitor Center, linking the suburban and recreational uses of the area today with the wilderness and early settlers of the past. It is also a reminder that during the mid-1800s the canal boat-building industry thrived in Boston. It has been said that the villages of Boston and Peninsula monopolized the canal boat building trade in the state of Ohio.

Cuyahoga Valley National Park, CUVA 20732

This dresser was built by Wilbur and Orville Wright as a Christmas present for their mother, Susan Koerner Wright, in the late 1880s. The dresser is decorated with saw tooth trim on both sides of the top drawer. In 1914, Orville, Katharine, and Milton Wright moved out of the Wright family home in west Dayton to Hawthorn Hill in Oakwood, Ohio. At this time the dresser was given to the Wrights' brother, Lorin. Lorin passed the dresser on to his eldest son, Milton Jr., who gave it to his second son, Wilkinson. After Wilkinson's death in 1999, he bequeathed the object to his children, Stephen Wright and Amanda Wright Lane, who donated the dresser to the National Park Service in 2013. Retaining excellent provenance within the Wright family, this object represents Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park's mission to interpret and preserve the Wright brothers' story from youths to famous aviators.

Dayton Aviation National Historic Park, DAAV 00064/1187

In 1869, Ida Saxton and her sister Mary embarked on a six month long Grand Tour of Europe. Ida wrote home to her parents in Canton, Ohio, that a traveling companion had “bought a very nice music box that plays 6 Airs for 90. Francs… (but) the case was not very nice. I think I will get one in Geneva.” She purchased the rosewood music box at the Ducommun & Cie store on the corner of Rue du Mont Blanc and Rue Kléburg in downtown Geneva, Switzerland in late September. This particular music box has a shifting eleven inch cylinder that provides the same eight tunes it has played since 1869. Every song is pinned to emphasize the treble-soprano keys, and the eight melodies are strummed through the delicate teeth for a little over 30 seconds each.

First Ladies National Historic Park, FILA 2009.07.01 (Accession #)

Ancient Monuments of the Mississippi Valley was the first publication of the Smithsonian Institution. The publication describes the explorations of Squire and Davis and contains surveys and illustrations of ancient mounds and earthworks that were still visible on the landscape in the mid-nineteenth century1800s. Plate XVI shows High Bank Works, a large geometric earthwork constructed ca 100 AD. to 200 CEAD. by prehistoric Native American peoples known today as the Hopewell Culture. High Bank Works is one of five mound and earthwork sites managed by Hopewell Culture National Historical Park.

Hopewell Culture National Historical Park, HOCU 5745

Born in a log cabin in Ohio, Garfield rose from abject poverty through education and odd jobs to become a teacher, minister, Civil War general, and politician. These drapery rings symbolize the wealth and status achieved by James A. Garfield in his purchase of “Lawnfield,” a modest farmhouse that the family would expand to fit their growing needs and would become the headquarters of his 1880 presidential campaign.

In 1990, archeological investigations uncovered these drapery rings at James A. Garfield NHS.

James A. Garfield National Historic Site, JAGA 95

This silver tumbler was part of a silver presentation set given to Oliver Hazard Perry to congratulation him for his victory in the Battle of Lake Erie by the Citizens of Boston.

“The news of the fresh success of our gallant officers and seamen upon Lake Erie has cheered every American heart, whatever opinion an individual may entertain of the principles which originated the war.

On Sunday and elegant salute was fired on board the Constitution after divine [service] in the forenoon, under the direction of Capt. Stewart, in honor of the victory. After the salute the men ascended the shrowds [sic] and gave three cheers, which were cordially returned by thousands of our citizens from the wharves and Copp's hill. Our brave and experienced tars have averted our fears; and more than realized our hopes, in single combat with the most brave, experienced, and powerful nation on earth; but we still entertain fears for them when they should fight in squadrons or fleets. Com. Perry wears the first garland which the history of our nation will claim in this complicated system of engagement. ”This piece provides a direct link between us today and the excitement felt by people as far away as Boston to the events that happened on Lake Erie on September 10, 1813. The tumbler was donated to Perry's Victory and International Peace Memorial by James Storrow, a direct descendant of Oliver Hazard Perry. Other pieces have been donated to the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, USS Constitution Museum, and other institutions. This tumbler is one of only 4 that are known to still exist. However, much of the set was stolen from Perry descendants.

Perry's Victory and International Peace Memorial, PEVI 143

President William Howard Taft was inaugurated on March 4, 1909, and this bible was used in the ceremony. It was used again on October 3, 1921, when Taft was administered the oath of chief justice of the United States. William Howard Taft and Chief Justice Melville Weston Fuller signed the inside of the bible, testifying that this was the bible used in Taft's inauguration. The seal of the Supreme Court is affixed to the page beneath the signatures.

Taft (1857-1930), the 27th US president (1909-1913), was born in Cincinnati, Ohio. The son of Alphonso Taft, a distinguished judge, he graduated from Yale and returned to Cincinnati to practice law. Taft was appointed a federal circuit judge at age 34. In 1904 President Theodore Roosevelt named him Secretary of War, and by 1907 had decided that Taft should be his successor. The Republican Convention nominated him the next year. Taft's administration initiated 80 antitrust suits and Congress submitted to the states amendments for a federal income tax and the direct election of senators. A postal savings system was established, and the Interstate Commerce Commission was directed to set railroad rates. In 1912, when the Republicans re-nominated Taft, Roosevelt led the Progressives, thus guaranteeing the election of Woodrow Wilson. Taft served as professor of law at Yale until President Warren G. Harding made him chief justice of the United States.

William Howard Taft National Historic Site, WIHO 900

Credits: Story

Park museum staff from: Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park, First Ladies National Historic Site, Hopewell Culture National Historical Park, and James A. Garfield National Historic Site and Perry's Victory and International Peace Memorial.

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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