See you then!
The Butler County Historical Society has opened a new exhibition showcasing the museum’s comprehensive collection of Indian artifacts, some of which are 10,000 years old.
The collection of more than 2,500 items is on display in the society’s lower exhibit area at 327 North 2nd Street, Hamilton. The exhibit will run through the end of the year and is free to the public. It is open Tuesday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Free parking is provided at the society.
The exhibit features hundreds of items donated by John F. Burer, Dr. Mark Millikin, and Frank Ramsey and private collections loaned to the historical society by Evelyn and Bill Kuhlman and Ed and Kathy Creighton. Some of the artifacts date from the Paleo-Indian era of 13,000 to 8000 BC. Items from nearly all Indian eras are included in the exhibit.
One of the most interesting pieces is a clay pot of the Fort Ancient culture, dating between 900 to 1650 AD, that was dug up on Campbell’s Island in the Great Miami River by Hamilton physician Dr. H. Lee Good in 1921. A prized artifact is the ax owned by Chief Little Turtle, the Miami Indian chief who had defeated General Arthur St. Clair and was the last signer of the Treaty of Greenville in 1795 making southwest Ohio safe for settlers.
Historical information and details about Indian life covering the Paleo-Indian era; the Adena, Hopewell and Fort Ancient cultures; and the Miami Indian and Shawnee tribes starting in the early 1700s are presented and illustrated in textual boards throughout the exhibit. The Butler County mounds, Indian earth works, Fort Hamilton and Native American wars that affected the Miami Valley are also featured. A small but interesting replica of the interior of a typical wigwam is also presented.
The exhibit was opened during Dan Cutler’s visit to the historical society to conduct a youth workshop on “Prehistoric People” as part of the Ohio Chautauqua programs held in Hamilton from June 14 to 18. Cutler is a historian and professional enacter of Chief Cornstalk, a Shawnee leader living in Ohio who fought with the French against the British during the French and Indian War of 1754-1763.
Cutler, as Chief Cornstalk, held the tomahawk/pipe once owned by Miami Indian Chief Little Turtle as Butler County Historical Society Executive Director Kathy Creighton looked on. “I am greatly impressed with the county historical society’s Indian exhibition,” Cutler said. “I think it puts the Indian collection at the Smithsonian Institute to shame.”
The Butler County Historical Society is a private non-profit formed in 1934 to preserve and interpret the county’s rich heritage. It owns and operates the Benninghofen House, a high-Italian style home filled with the furnishings of a wealthy family during the Victorian Era. Group tours of the Beckett exhibit and Benninghofen House Museum can be arranged by calling 513-896-9930.
The Butler County Historical Society has scheduled three fun and enjoyable morning sessions as part of a summer series of Saturday programs designed for children and their parents or grandparents. Each session will have something for everyone, young and the young at heart. All programs are free and open to the public. They will be held at the society’s Benninghofen House museum at 327 North Second Street, Hamilton, and begin at 9:30 a.m. and end before noon.
The first program on June 11 will provide a hands-on exploration of everyday chores of early pioneers. Plan on getting wet as you learn how laundry was cleaned using various pieces of equipment from the 1800s through the early 1900s. Learn all about corn bread as we explore how corn was grown, shelled, ground into meal and made into a tasty end product. We will also be making butter for the corn bread. All activities are planned as hands-on experiences and children and adults can spend as much time as they want since there is no set program. All activities will be held outside on the museum’s front lawn and side parking lot.
The July 9 program will focus on how pioneers made clothing during the 1800s. During this 9:30 to noon session we will be carding wool, spinning with both spinning wheels and drop spindles and explaining how weaving was done. We will also explore how pioneers used sorghum, a nearly magical plant that was used to sweeten food, ground for flour, popped like popcorn and made into brooms to clean up the home. Again, all activities are designed as hands-on experiences and there is no set program. In the case of poor weather, activities will be moved inside to the Emma Ritchie Auditorium.
The August 13 program will begin at 10:00 a.m. and presents the history and wonderful world of chocolate. Participants will discover where cocoa trees are grown, how chocolate is processed and trace the history of chocolate from the time of early explorers of the Americas up to today. A taste test of American Heritage Historic Chocolate will be conducted. Following the talk, we will spend some time learning games that were played by children in the 1800s.
Kathy Creighton, executive director of the historical society, said she expects children and their family members will have a good time again this year. “The kids, parents and grandparents that attended our summer programs last year really enjoyed them, especially the history of chocolate program. That is why we are repeating that one this year. We think the new everyday chores and clothing programs will also be excellent hands-on experiences and great fun for kids and adults to share.”
The Butler County Historical Society, located at 327 North Second Street, Hamilton, and its Benninghofen House museum is open to the public Tuesday through Friday from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm and Saturdays from 9:00 am to 2:00 pm. Group tours of the Benninghofen House Museum can be arranged by calling 896-9930.
Local author Richard Piland of Fairfield will discuss high points of his book about the history of Hamilton’s public schools from 1850 to 2010 during a presentation at 1 p.m., Saturday, May 14 at the Butler County Historical Society, 327 North 2nd Street, Hamilton.
Piland will be available before and after the presentation to sign copies of his book that will be available for purchase for $5. The program to be held in the society’s Emma Ritchie Auditorium is free to the public.
Piland published the book in 2011 to commemorate the end in 2010 of the district’s construction of eight new state-of-the-art elementary schools. “I wanted to create a brief history of the district’s schools and include photographs of those wonderful old school buildings as a keepsake for people who attended them.” The book features more than 60 photographs of the district’s school buildings, many of them vintage images from the 1800s, and identifies the superintendents who led major school building efforts.
The Arcadia Publishing Company has published four other local history books Piland has written including Legendary Locals of Hamilton, Images of America: Hamilton’s Industrial Heritage, and two other “Images of America” books focusing on his hometown, Independence, Mo., and the nearby town of Sugar Creek. He is a member of the board of trustees of the Butler County Historical Society and has written a variety of articles, exhibits and programs for the society.
The Butler County Historical Society, located at 327 North Second Street, Hamilton, and its Benninghofen House museum is open to the public Tuesday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Group tours of the Benninghofen House Museum can be arranged by calling 513-896-9930.
A special showing of the 1959 film version of Hamilton-born Fanny Hurst’s novel “Imitation of Life” will be given by the Butler County Historical Society, 1 p.m., Saturday, May 7, in the Society’s Emma Ritchie Auditorium, 327 North 2nd Street, Hamilton.
Kathleen Stuckey Fox will introduce and discuss the film. Hurst became one of America’s most successful novelists, dramatists and screenwriters during the 1920s through the 1940s. Hurst was an acquaintance of several members of Kathleen Fox’s family and her mother, Kathleen Neilan Stuckey, was a personal friend.
“Imitation of Life” starred Lana Turner, John Gavin, and Juanita Moore in a story of a white woman and a black woman working and living together to make a good life for their children. The film was the second film adaptation of Hurst’s novel of the same name; the first was released in 1934 and starred Claudette Colbert, Warren William and Louise Beavers. It was shown at a screening at the historical society on March 5. The 1959 version was nominated for two 1960 academy awards and won a 1960 Golden Globe Best Supporting Actress Award for Susan Kohner.
Hurst (1889-1968) grew-up in St. Louis but during her childhood, she spent many summer months in Hamilton and called it her “summer palace.” As a young woman, she moved to New York City where she wrote for the Saturday Evening Post, Cosmopolitan and other popular magazines. Over the years, she wrote an autobiography, 18 novels, published over 300 short stories and wrote 12 screenplays, many of them based on her novels. Her success made her one of the highest-paid writers in America. She was also a social activist for the rights of women, homosexuals, and Jews.
The film, parking and popcorn are free to the public.
The next special Saturday program at the historical society will be at 1 p.m. May 14 when author Richard Piland will discuss his book “History’s Historic Public Schools, 1850 – 2010.”
The Butler County Historical Society, located at 327 North Second Street, Hamilton, and its Benninghofen House museum is open to the public Tuesday through Friday from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm and Saturdays from 9:00 am to 2:00 pm. Group tours of the Benninghofen House Museum can be arranged by calling 513-896-9930.
Local author Brian Smith discusses highlights of his new book paying tribute to Hamilton as it was portrayed during the “Golden Age of Postcards” during a presentation at 1 p.m., Saturday, April 16, at the Butler County Historical Society, 327 North 2nd Street, Hamilton. The book, his first in Arcadia Publishing Company’s Postcard History series, includes more than 200 vintage postcards that feature the city’s downtown street scenes, monument and county courthouse, bridges, churches, schools, neighborhoods, and more. The program is free to the public.
The author will be available before and after the presentation to sign copies of his book, which will be available for purchase. Smith created his presentation as a special program based on the exhibit he has developed for the historical society. The exhibit, which runs in the society’s lower exhibit hall for at least the next three months, provides a brief history of postcards from the 1880s to 1950s, explains the development of postcard art, styles and printing technology, displays vintage cameras and photographic equipment and includes several examples of Smith’s collection of more than 900 postcards depicting Hamilton.
Smith has been an English teacher at Ross Senior High School since 2002. He is an avid postcard collector of local history and pre-World War II U.S. Naval real photo postcards and has collected nearly 6,000 cards over the last twelve years. Smith is a member of the board of trustees of the Butler County Historical Society and Greater Hamilton Civic Theatre.
The exhibit is free to the public and open Tuesday through Fridays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Additional information about the society’s postcard exhibit and group tours of the Benninghofen House Museum can be arranged by calling 513-896-9930.
The Butler County Historical society’s popular “Theaters of Butler County” exhibit from 2013 has returned to the display hallway connecting the research center and the Benninghofen House Museum.
All of the large pictorial panels and some of the smaller programs, advertisements and memorabilia will be displayed until early June, according to Kathy Creighton, executive director.
“We thought the response was so positive when the exhibit was first on display that we decided to make it available for people who might have missed it when it was open in 2013,” Creighton said.
Featured in the exhibit are many of the long-lost stage and movie theaters of Hamilton including the Globe Opera House, Rialto, Palace, Grand, Paramount, and Jefferson theaters. Several Middletown theaters are included as are “opera houses” in small communities such as Reily, Bunker Hill, Seven Mile and Miltonville. Butler County automobile drive-ins are also presented.
Local area residents who had careers on Broadway, in Hollywood films, television and world opera singers are included in the exhibit as well. Some of the notable persons featured are the McGuire Sisters, Ray Combs, Agnes Moorehead, Stella Weiler Taylor and Perley Poore Sheehan.
Dr. Sara Butler, Miami University Art Department Professor Emeritus, will discuss the Butler County Historical Society’s “Reality and Fantasy: 150 Years of Butler County Weddings” exhibit at 1 p.m. on January 23 in the society’s Emma Ritchie Auditorium, 327 North Second Street, Hamilton. The presentation is the first in a new series of monthly Saturday afternoon programs developed by the BCHS.
Butler’s talk will highlight many of the wedding dresses worn by members of prominent area families including the Woods, Becketts, Fittons, Flenners, Griesdmers, and Neilans which were featured in the exhibit which opened July 21, 2015. She created her Saturday presentation as a special program marking the close of the wedding dress exhibit that she and her intern, Marcus Gray, developed for the society.
The highlight of the talk is the dress and veil first worn by Mary Woods when she married Cyrus Falconer on October 8, 1839. “Family records indicate that this particular dress was worn by at least three brides and the veil used by eight brides between 1839 and 1990,” Butler said. The exhibit includes 18 wedding dresses including bridal veils as well as the attire for members of their wedding party including the groom, maid-of-honor and flower girl. Saturday, January 23, will be the last day BCHS visitors can see the wedding dress exhibit.
Upcoming monthly Saturday programs include a talk about Fanny Hurst on February 20; a showing of “Imitation of Life,” a 1934 movie made from a Hurst novel on March 5; and a presentation of Postcards of Hamilton on April 16. All programs begin at 1:00 p.m. in the Emma Ritchie Auditorium and are free to the public.
The Butler County Historical Society, located at 327 North Second Street, Hamilton, is a private non-profit formed in 1934 to preserve and interpret the county’s rich heritage. It owns and operates the Benninghofen House museum, a high-Italian style home built in 1863 that is filled with the furnishings of a wealthy family during the Victorian Era. It is open to the public Tuesday through Friday from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm and Saturdays from 9:00 am to 2:00 pm. Group tours of the Benninghofen House Museum can be arranged by calling 513-896-9930.
The Butler County Historical Society will begin 2016 with a new slate of officers when the Board of Trustees meets on Thursday, January 21. The board’s new president is John A. Whalen, the society’s former treasurer, and the new treasurer is William Groth. Sara Butler will serve a second term as vice-president and Richard O Jones returns as the society’s secretary. Kathy Creighton remains the society’s Executive Director.
A new member of the board of trustees will be Katie Wills. Returning board members are Jack Armstrong, Chris Carroll, Richard Piland, and Brian Smith. A sixth trustee soon will be named to fill out the board.
The Butler County Historical Society, located at 327 North Second Street, Hamilton, is a private non-profit formed in 1934 to preserve and interpret the county’s rich heritage. It owns and operates the Benninghofen House museum, a high-Italian style home built in 1863 that is filled with the furnishings of a wealthy family during the Victorian Era. It is open to the public Tuesday through Friday from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm and Saturdays from 9:00 am to 2:00 pm. Group tours of the Benninghofen House Museum can be arranged by calling 896-9930.
The society’s Board of Trustees oversees the BCHS programs, exhibits, operations, and efforts to preserve and interpret Butler County’s rich heritage. More than 4,600 people visited the society to conduct research, tour the house museum, or attend a lecture series program during 2015 and another 2,200 attended a Speaker’s Bureau presentation.
As a non-profit organization with no routine government support of any kind, the BCHS relies on generous volunteer and community support and financial gifts to help it continue the society’s increasingly important civic contributions to increase public awareness of the county’s past.
On display in the society’s Emma Ritchie Auditorium will be 45 porcelain lighted houses and nearly 200 costumed figures that capture the colorful daily life of the village’s citizens in small scale.
The entire village is part of a collection of porcelain buildings owned by Richard Piland, a member of the historical society’s board of trustees.
The display includes several churches, fire and police stations, two pubs, several traditional shops and a special “museumland” that includes museums of modern art, natural science, history and an observatory.
“I’ve been collecting these Lemax Caddington Village lighted houses for about twenty years,” Piland said. “They are a bit addictive because they are so enjoyable to see during the Christmas season and I started adding one or two each year. Now I have so many I can’t put them all out in our home so this display is a real treat for me because the entire Caddington Village houses I own are in this layout.”
The Victorian Village display is housed in the Butler County Historical Society, 327 North 2nd Street, Hamilton. It is open to the public Tuesday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Free parking is provided at the society.