LOGAN – The Hocking County Historical and Genealogical Society and Museum at 64 N. Culver St. has reopened to the public for the first time in over a year.
Starting Memorial Day weekend, the six-building museum is back and better than ever, with many new and updated exhibits. The “best kept secret in Hocking Hills” is now open to the public on weekends from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. and weekdays by appointment.
From mammoth teeth to the keys to the Ambrose Hotel, the museum preserves thousands of stories from Hocking County’s past.
From its prehistoric times, one of the museum’s new exhibits – open to the public for the first time – presents the history of Native Americans. The new display was donated by the Leland Conner Estate, or “Thunder Hawk”.
“(Conner) was part Indian, but he was (folklorist),” said Nyla Vollmer, curator and board member of the historical society and museum. “He educated on Indians, and he and his wife used to dress up as Indians in schools. He was well known all over the United States.
At the top of the heavily decorated stairwell, the museum’s second floor features two museum additions, both showcasing Hocking County veterans and a ‘whole new look’.
Scaparrotti, a graduate of the United States Military Academy or West Point, has served the military around the world; his last post was Commander of the United States European Command.
The display also houses Scaparrotti’s four-star flag, which was hung wherever he was present, Vollmer said.
“It makes Hocking County proud,” Vollmer said.
There is also an ever-changing POW display, which bears the names of Hocking County POWs from nearly every American war.
The second new second-floor display also includes 13 new mannequins, for which there was a desperate need, said Vollmer; previous models were falling apart, missing fingers, or just not suitable for what they were modeling.
A model wears the uniform of Freda Smith Stivision, the first woman from Hocking County to enlist for WWII service in 1943.
Historical illustrations of another WWII veteran are also new on the second floor. Jim Nibbio’s drawings illustrate life in Europe during World War II: dance halls, Parisian streets, Mickey Rooney club shows, motorcycle and horse races, etc. Nibbio drew the illustrations on the boat back from the war, Vollmer said.
Another new addition to the museum is its exhibit at the former Murray City Mining Museum, which closed in 2019. The exhibit is now housed in the Carriage House, where headlamps, mining equipment, a canary exhibit and even dynamite is available to visitors.
The railway building was also repaired as an Eagle Scout project by Kaden Merrill. With new flooring and general repairs, it has an authentic telegraph and a new uniformed railway dummy that greets visitors.
Along with its new physical additions, the company and the museum are also currently working on a 40-minute film on the Hocking Channel, Vollmer said. The film will feature the entire length of the canal in the county, with drone and aerial footage.
“We interviewed a really knowledgeable man, who will talk about the canal, what it was used for, how he helped people, what the dangers were and what the falls were,” Vollmer said, adding that the historical society had to ride a boat of authentic canal in Coshocton last week.
The museum is also working on a coloring book on the canal, Vollmer said. The book will be informative and available not only at the museum but also at the Hocking Hills Visitor Centers. The history center is also working on signage throughout the city to mark the location of the canal route.
All of the items on display in the museum are donations, mostly from descendants of Hocking County themselves.
Vollmer and weekend guide, or tour guide, Chuck Eaton are delighted to hear from the public about what’s new at the museum. Being closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic was “terrible,” Vollmer said.
“We make a living from donations, fundraisers and the like, and we haven’t been able to have our big flea market for two years now, and we usually have an average of between $ 1,500 and $ 2,000 (in our) market. Flea. We couldn’t have them; we couldn’t have social ice creams (or) do something like that, which we normally do.
However, due to a car accident earlier this month, the historical society and museum are faced with a new challenge – repairs to the front yard. Vollmer estimates that there are thousands of dollars in damage; Even the Tessa Sweazy Webb Historical Marker needs repairs.