Completed in 2003 as a legacy to Ohio's bicentennial, the Ross County Historical Society's new Heritage Center connects the Society's original museum to its McKell Library creating one large facility. The center was constructed to serve the cultural needs and interests of Ross County, Ohio well into the 21st century.
The center is also fully ADA accessible from its main entrance through all public areas including the second floor exhibits in the original museum building. New off-street parking for automobiles and buses is also ADA accessible and is but a short distance from the front entrance.
From the lobby of the new center, visitors may tour exhibits on the Northwest Territory & Ohio statehood, the founding of Ohio's first capital Chillicothe, the prehistoric cultures of the Scioto River valley, the Civil War years in Ross County, Camp Sherman & World War I, historical toys & dolls, early Ohio decorative arts, historical art portraits, and historical vehicles & transportation.
Visitors may also choose to visit the society's Knoles Log House which features many artifacts that illustrate life in early Ohio, plus the Franklin House - the Society's museum dedicated to women's history.
Heritage Center patrons may also visit the Society's McKell Library - a research center and repository of thousands of rare books, journals, manuscripts, historical documents, and photographs.
The Ross County Heritage Center also features a museum store where visitors may purchase books, maps and reproduction artifacts related to the museum exhibits found within.
Museum Tour Hours
April - December: Tuesday - Saturday 1:00 - 5:00 p.m.
Hours during the Covid pandemic:
Friday & Saturday ONLY by appointment
while State Covid level for Ross County is orange or below
(Closed at red level or above)
January - March: Open by advanced appointment only,
for prepaid group tours and for members.
(To schedule appointments, please call 740-772-1936 during regular office hours, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.)
The following educational resources are currently available to Ross County teachers at no charge from the Ross County Historical Society:
*Guided tours of the Ross County Museum & Knoles Log House*
Tours last 1 hour and are available April through December between 1:00 and 4:00 p.m. Tours of the society's Franklin House Museum are also available and add one 1/2 hour to the length of the tour. The museum currently features exhibits on the founding of Chillicothe and the state of Ohio, prehistoric cultures, 19th century decorative arts, the Civil War, historic toys, and Chillicothe's Camp Sherman. The Knoles Log House shows students how the early settlers of the area lived. The Franklin house has changing exhibits that look at the role of women in our local history.
*Suitcase Museum Program*
Suitcase museums are trunks containing real and reproduction historical artifacts that students can touch and examine. The trunks are organized around topics of local historical interest. Currently, we offer two suitcase museums: One titled "Making Doughboys," is about Camp Sherman-Chillicothe's World War I army training camp. A second suitcase museum titled "Settlers and Statehood" contains artifacts that illustrate the early settlement period of Chillicothe and Ohio.
The McKell holds over 14,000 books and thousands of historical journals, documents, and papers. The photo archive includes over 15,000 photographs - many of local people, places and events. The McKell is open to the public from 1 to 5 Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday. Because it is a research facility, no items are circulated. Photocopying is available. Please call the McKell Library directly at 740-773-1896 for more information about its holdings, or use our online database.
For more information