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The Recorder

Stay up-to-date with our current services and upcoming activities, programs, and special events by becoming a member and receiving our award winning quarterly newsletter the Recorder. Not only will you see what we have planned for the near future, but you will also learn about interesting chapters in our local history that you will not see anywhere else. In addition, you will find out about all the historical artifacts and other material we have recently added to our museum and library collections. Finally, since our organization is about people as well as history, you will learn about what our staff, volunteers, and other members of the society are doing in our ongoing efforts to build a stronger organization to better serve our community.
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Programs and Services

For over 125 years, the Ross County Historical Society has preserved the exciting heritage of Chillicothe, Ross County, and Ohio. Few historical societies have such a comprehensive and respected collection of historic and prehistoric artifacts and records. In addition to operating three museums and a library, the Ross County Historical Society sponsors various events throughout the year and makes available many educational programs for children and adults:

School Field Trips

The Ross County Heritage Center museum (including the Knoles Log House) offers students and teachers a wide range of exhibits highlighting over two centuries of local, regional, and Ohio history.  School field trip tours are available for all grade levels Tuesday through Friday year ’round by advanced appointment and last approximately one hour and fifteen minutes.  To schedule a field trip, please contact the director of the Ross County Historical Society by phone at 740-772-1936 or by email at  (Educators: please note that field trip guidelines for Ross County Public Schools suggest that third grade classes visit both the Ross County Heritage Center and Adena Mansion & Gardens. Field trips that include both sites are scheduled for Wednesdays, Thursdays, or Fridays in May and last from approximately 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.—including a picnic lunch at Adena.  Guidelines for Chillicothe City Schools require fourth grade classes to visit both the Ross County Heritage Center and Hopewell Culture National Historical Park. These field trips are usually scheduled for Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, or Fridays, late April through May, and last from approximately 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.—including a picnic lunch at Hopewell Culture.)  

McKell Library

The McKell Library holds over 17,000 books and 11,000 archival documents.  The photo archives contain over 20,000 photographs, most of which are of local people, places, and events.  The library is open to teachers, students, and the public Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday, 1-5 pm.  Because most of the material housed in the library is rare and often fragile, its use is limited to the library reading room.  No items can be circulated.  Photocopying is available.  
McKell Library

Junior Member Program

The Ross County Historical Society’s Junior Member Program provides children six to twelve years of age with a fun, hands-on, journey into Ross County’s past.  A one-day summer program offering historical games, crafts and other activities takes place on the grounds of the Knoles Log House each July, while a similar indoor program is offered in early December.  (In addition to being listed under “Upcoming Events and Programs” on this website, notices about upcoming Junior Member activities are posted in our newsletter the Recorder, on our social media platforms (listed below), and through press releases to area media outlets.)  Junior Members also receive two issues of the junior newsletter, History Mystery News, each year.  Children may become junior members either individually or through a parent’s or guardian’s family membership in the historical society.  (Membership applications are available on the “Become a Member” page on this website.)

Suitcase Museums

Suitcase museums are trunks containing both 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 ShermanChillicothe's World War 1 army training camp.  A second suitcase museum, titled "Settlers and Statehood," contains material illustrative of the early settlement period of Chillicothe and Ohio.  (Teachers may borrow suitcase museums for up to a week at a time.  To reserve one, please contact the curator of the Ross County Historical Society by phone at 740-772-1936 or by email at

What's Going on

Statehood Day Chillicothe

Social Media

Aside from our Facebook page, the society engages with the public on several social media platforms, sharing images of artifacts from our exhibits and storage archives and the stories they tell about the history of our area. When visitors can’t come to enjoy our collections in person, they can still enjoy exploring our digital version. Links for each of our platforms are listed below: