Museums >Western Reserve Hstrcl Scty
From the city's first physician to its involvement in the Civil War to Eliot Ness, the Western Reserve Historical Society is a living chronicle of Cleveland's most famous--and infamous..
Housed in two connecting early 20th-century mansions, the Western Reserve Historical Society is a microcosm of Cleveland's rich history. A portrait above the Empire Parlor fireplace commemorates Truman P. Hardy, a Cleveland banker and the man who lent a 19-year-old youth named John D. Rockefeller his first $2,000. In that same parlor wives of early civic leaders planned their local philanthropic campaigns. While the elegant interiors of the Hay-McKinney and Bingham-Hanna mansions will satisfy most visitors, ask for a tour. The staff's wealth of knowledge goes far beyond the posted information plaques.
The museum has made attempts to be child-friendly. In the main hall of Hay House are folding chairs with children's books as well as a few Little Tikes tables equipped with paper and crayons. Parents with preschoolers will want to head for the Crossroads exhibit, a depiction of various scenes of early life on the Western Reserve. Children will also enjoy the log cabin room housed in the basement of Hay, as well as the Shaker display and the Native-American exhibit. On annual Family Day (the weekend after Thanksgiving), the historical society offers craft demonstrations, entertainment, and special events designed around a different theme each year. Also part of the Historical Society are the Frederick C. Crawford Auto Aviation Collection [see separate listing] and the Library of the Western Reserve Historical Society, which specializes in history and geneology for charting family trees.
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