Cleveland History Center

10825 East Blvd, Cleveland, OH 44106 - United States





Smithsonian Affiliate Museum

Experience Cleveland like never before at the Cleveland History Center, headquarters for the
Western Reserve Historical Society (WRHS).

Through the use of its vast and varied collections covering family history, community history, entrepreneurship, and technological innovation, Cleveland History Center provides the public with a much-needed sense of place in today’s mobile society.

Each document and artifact tells a story that personally engages guests of all ages. These stories come alive through the exhibits and programs at the Cleveland History Center.

Guests will journey through Cleveland’s founding in 1796 to today. Take a ride on the historic Euclid Beach Park Grand Carousel, walk through two historic mansions, get behind the wheel of Cleveland’s automotive history when you visit the exhibits in the Crawford Auto-Aviation Museum, and discover one of the most comprehensive costumes and textiles collections in the nation when you visit the Chisholm Halle Costume Wing.


Cleveland Starts Here®
Guests of all ages can immerse themselves in Cleveland’s stories, from the 1790s to today, when they experience Cleveland Starts Here® sponsored by the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Foundation. Explore Cleveland and Northeast Ohio’s rich history as you use the latest technologies to interact with rarely seen documents and artifacts made accessible for for the very first time.

From the first Cleveland map and early survey tools, to a lunar descent engine and LeBron James’ championship shoes, Cleveland Starts Here® tells the stories of the triumphs and tragedies that define Cleveland. Discover why Cleveland Starts Here®, Cleveland starts with you!

Carl & Louis Stokes Making History
This exhibit honors Mayor Carl B. Stokes and his brother, Congressman Louis Stokes, and is built as a continuation of their legacy of leadership, advocacy and action.

WRHS worked with Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C) and other community partners in creating the exhibit, which was funded by The George Gund Foundation and PNC Financial Services Group. In addition, students in Tri-C’s Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Humanities Center and Student Production Office helped to record oral histories from more than 40 contemporaries of the Stokes brothers. The oral histories are incorporated into the exhibit and were made possible through support from The Cleveland Foundation and Ohio Humanities.

The stories of the political careers of Carl & Louis Stokes illuminate and define broader issues in African-American and American urban history. While the exhibit celebrates the achievements of Carl and Louis Stokes, it also uses their experiences to reflect on and explore topics such as the Civil Rights Movement, social and economic disparity and the rise and importance of heroes and exemplars.

Euclid Beach Park- the Grand Carousel
The colorful, hand-carved wooden horses, once at Euclid Beach Park on Cleveland’s lakefront, welcome riders once again in the Carousel Pavilion at the Cleveland History Center. In 2014, nearly 45 years after the parks closing, the crown jewel of Euclid Beach Park- the Grand Carousel- made its return to Northeast Ohio. Restored by Carousel Works in Mansfield Ohio, it opened to the public in the fall of 2014.

Guests can now enjoy a ride on many of the original horses and see hand-painted scenes depicting Cleveland icons and Euclid Beach Park. Take a ride on the Euclid Beach Park grand Carousel, and make a memory sure to last a life time.

Historic Mansions
The 9-acre site of the Cleveland History Center includes two historic mansions: the Bingham-Hanna Mansion and the Hay-McKinney Mansion. The Bingham-Hanna Mansion is available for self-guided tours and contains our museum galleries, while the Hay-McKinney Mansion is available for guided tours, which are included with general admission to the Cleveland History Center.

Open Road: The Lure of Motorcycling in Ohio, is a one-of-a-kind exhibit featuring a fascinating selection of vintage and modern motorcycles from popular brands such as Harley-Davidson, Indian, Vincent, Triumph, Honda, Kawasaki, and Suzuki, as well as lesser-known brands such as Penton, Velocette and Tehuelche. Many of the motorcycles in the exhibit have Ohio ties. Some are in perfect, restored condition; some have patina earned from being ridden on the rolling roads of Ohio; and some have been modified for racing or to pay tribute to a certain motorcycle stuntman. All of the Open Road bikes were sourced from private collections, and this is the first time they’ve ever been displayed together.

Dressed for the Job: Clevelanders in Uniform - Since Cleveland’s founding in 1796, Clevelanders have been working to create a progressive and prosperous place to live. Military members, activists, spiritual leaders, medical professionals, tradesmen, students, and all other members of society have come together to fight for their way of life and build the community that we call home today. This exhibition gathers WRHS collections to include garments, decorative arts, archival documents, photographs, and paintings that tell stories of triumph and tragedy in Northeast Ohio. From the desegregation of the Girl Scouts, to wartime struggles, to athletics and spiritual life, it will delve into issues of race, class, and gender. Its stories will feel particularly meaningful in this moment of recognizing and honoring frontline workers and the people that keep our country going.

Women and Politics | Empowered to Vote, Empowered to Lead traces the story of women’s empowerment, exploring the early days of the suffragist movement, the successful fight for the 19th Amendment, the birth and growth of the League of Women Voters as a force for clean government and the election of northern Ohio women to positions of power on the local, state and national levels. Women and Politics encourages visitors to explore the experiences and significant contributions of women from all walks of life in the fight to win the right to vote. Their struggle, determination, and triumph inspires advocacy and action to use the power of voting to continue to make a difference.

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