New Ohio River Museum in the works | News, Sports, Jobs


The current Ohio River Museum building will be razed and replaced with a new building that is currently in the design phase. The current building will remain closed until its demolition. The museum grounds and building are owned by the Ohio History Connection. (Photo of Nancy Taylor)

A new building from the Ohio river museum on the current site on the front street in Marietta is in the design and engineering phase, according to Neil Thompson, media and public relations manager for Ohio History Connection, the History Society not state-owned profit center headquartered in Columbus.

“We still have a way to go before deciding on revolutionary plans or establishing specific construction directives, but we are very enthusiastic both for this reinvestment in the historic community of Marietta and for the ability to modernize our exhibitions on how the Ohio River has helped shape the past, present and future of this part of the nation,” he said in an email. “I can confirm that an interpretive plan is underway to engage visitors with the history of the Ohio River and its importance to the state, economic development and culture of Ohio.”

The OHC owns the buildings and grounds as well as most of the exhibits of the Ohio River Museum. The Friends of the Museum, a group of local volunteers, handle day-to-day operations and programming and look after the property.

The current building consists of modules connected by external gateways. This structure is now closed, will not reopen and collapse. In its place, OHC provides, among other things, a versatile space that can be divided into two classrooms or used as a single space for conferences and events. In addition, there will be a special space for the local history and genealogy archives of Washington County. “We are working to provide appropriate air-conditioned space in partnership with the Washington County Commission,” he said. There will be more parking spaces for library and museum visitors.

Thompson said the most recent estimate of the total budget was $8.5 million. About half will come from credits from the state investment budget. In addition to the award by the state of $ 3 million as part of its financing of fixed assets in mid-June for the financial year 2023/2024, approximately $ 1 million was allocated in the list fixed assets for the financial year 2021/2022.

Other public funding includes approximately $2.5 million from the Washington County Public Library. The balance will come from fundraisers and private grants, which are still ongoing, Thompson said.

The genealogical library and the multipurpose space are two elements that will reinforce the role of the river museum as “a four-season community partner”, according to Erin Augenstein, executive director of the Campus Martius and Ohio River museums. It is considering a possible center of events such as a place that could manage social events, class activities, conferences and a host of other programming possibilities.

Augenstein, who has grown up in the region, has been working as executive director for a little more than three months now. Since then, she said, she has seen visitors from foreign museums almost every day.

“Just this week” She said, “There were people from New Hampshire, Maine and Connecticut here, and they were not visits to each other.

“We consider these two museums as community anchor points, and be able to work with a new construction project in conjunction with this is really special. This can be transformer.



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