Ashland County Historical Society420 Center St
Ashland, OH 44805-3247
419-289-3111 | www.Ashlandhistory.org
Ashland County Historical Society
The Ashland Historical Society Museum preserves the history of Ashland County on its four-building campus and with docent-led tours. Visitors can explore the development of Ashland from the 1850s to the 1950s through the museum exhibits and stories of the families who lived at the site.
The Manor House holds many of the Ashland Historical Society Museum’s collections. Originally built in 1858, the Manor House narrates the history and development of Ashland through the notable families who lived there. Furnished in an early 1900s style, the museum explores what the home may have looked like when the Myers family occupied it between 1906 and 1952. The museum hosts an impressive collection of art glass, a thriving Ohio industry in the early 1900s. Upstairs, the furnished bedrooms show details of daily life, including a large selection of men’s and women’s fashions such as wedding costumes and mourning outfits. Several rooms of the house incorporate artifacts from different decades, showing the changing lifestyle of Americans as the twentieth century progressed. The barn on the property displays the equipment required to sustain a family during the early years of Ashland settlement.
Part of the original estate, the Carriage House houses two distinct collections. The ground floor documents Ashland’s industrial development through the stories of its largest companies. The second floor contains one of the largest public collections of insects outside of the Smithsonian. Collected over a lifetime by Ashland native Thomas Thornburg, the collection contains over 13,000 specimens from around the world that Thornburg acquired through correspondence with other collectors, including the famous Dr. David Livingstone. The Carriage House holds other artifacts documenting Ohio’s natural history and early settlement, including a large selection of Adena and Hopewell arrowheads and the recreated interior of an early settlers’ cabin.
The Noonan building is a recent construction on the campus and contains the administrative offices for the Museum along with its Ashland Veterans Display on the lower level. The upper floor houses a streetscape recreating the storefronts and details of a 1900’s Main Street, including a general store, beauty parlor, and milliner. This simulated Main Street shows the local businesses that supported a mostly agricultural population in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries in many Ohio counties.
Notes for Travelers
The Ashland County Historical Society Museum is located in the historic downtown district of Ashland. Parking is behind the Noonan House. Each of the museum buildings requires steps. Guided tours of the Manor House are recommended for the detail they bring to each collection. The Thornburg Insect Collection in the Carriage House rotates periodically.
Additional ResourcesCovington, Howard E. Living the American Dream: The Myers and Miller Families of Ashland, Ohio. Chelsea, MI: Bookcrafters, 1996.
Macleod, Dianne Sachko. Enchanted Lives, Enchanted Objects: American Women Collectors and the Making of Culture, 1800-1940. Berkeley: University of California Press: Published with the assistance of the Getty Foundation, 2008.