Cleveland History Center

10825 East Blvd, Cleveland, OH 44106 - United States

216-721-5722

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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.

From the very first map of Cleveland to LeBron James’ championship shoes, guests will journey through Cleveland’s history from 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.

Exhibits

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.

A Century of the American Motorcycle
While early motorcycles shared available engineering and technology with automobiles and even aircraft, the two-wheeled conveyance carved out its own unique identity and cultural niche in the American transportation lexicon. A Century of the American Motorcycle travelling exhibit from The Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum is a comprehensive look into the technical and esthetic development of American motorcycles in particular, from the 1905 Indian Single, to the 1907 Merkel Light, on through the Twentieth Century, right up to the 2018 Motus MST.

Amanda Wicker: Black Fashion Design in Cleveland
Amanda Wicker (1894-1987) moved to Cleveland in 1924 with not much more than her skills as a dressmaker. With a single student enrolled, she began the Clarke School of Dressmaking and Fashion Design in her home on Cedar Avenue in Cleveland’s Fairfax neighborhood. For the following six decades, she established herself as the preeminent fashion teacher and mentor in the predominantly African American Fairfax neighborhood.

This new exhibit, Amanda Wicker: Black Fashion Design in Cleveland will share, for the first time, fifteen garments that showcase Wicker’s ingenuity and creativity. With a bit of sparkle and playful silhouettes, she designed everything from jumpsuits to bridal gowns. The garments are enhanced by the rich photographic archive of the school, and thus a community. Beyond fashion, Wicker was also active with the NAACP, the National Urban League, the United Negro College Fund, the Future Outlook League, and served on the board of the Central Area Community Council. She was active in the National Association of Negro Business and Professional Women’s Clubs and was honored by them with the Sojourner Truth Award for her service to the community and young people. Visitors will come away inspired by the story of a self-made Black woman who lifted those around her.

Women and Politics | Empowered to Vote, Empowered to Lead
Presented by PNC and WRHS in collaboration with the League of Women Voters of Greater Cleveland,

Women and Politics 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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