Mansfield Museums that Break the Mold

It’s no secret that Mansfield and Richland County are rich with historical sites. But did you know they also have multiple museums covering a wide range of interests, from telling Richland County’s history, to Bible stories, to hands-on science projects and fire equipment?

The displays at the Mansfield Memorial Museum cover large spans of Mansfield and Richland County’s history. The Mansfield Memorial Museum, currently the oldest museum in Richland County, contains the 3rd largest repository of original county records between 1813-1880. The museum also houses ELEKTRO, the Mansfield robot built for New York World’s fair in 1939. ELEKTRO was built in the Westinghouse factory in Mansfield and is the oldest surviving American Robot in the world! The museum holds other historic collections including Native American, African, Asian, military, and natural history. Visit the Mansfield Memorial Museum on Saturday or Sunday. Admission by donation.

Mansfield’s BibleWalk Museum hosts Ohio’s only life-sized Biblical wax museum and the state’s only Christian dinner theatre, “Dinner with Grace.” The museum engages visitors and lets them see the Bible told through interactive tours bringing the Bible to life. Multiple tours are available, including: The Life of Christ (60 mins), The Miracles of the Old Testament (60 mins), Heart of the Reformation (30 mins), Museum of Christian Martyrs (30 mins), and Amazing Grace- The Journeys of Paul (30 mins). Other exhibits include wood carvings, American votive folk-art, word art, and a collection of rare Bibles, all creating a unique one-of-a-kind stop!

Mansfield also houses the Little Buckeye Children’s Museum, located in downtown Mansfield, which creates a unique, safe, and welcoming environment for young children and their families. The museum offers colorful, interactive exhibits that offer exploration and creative self-discovery through many topics, such as science, art, and literacy. Some examples of the exhibits offered include:

  • Dino Dig: Dig for fossils in their special fossil table
  • Adena Construction: Children can build their own forts
  • Water Table: Children build their own boats and experiment with water pipes
  • Gravitron: Use your science and engineering skills to get the ping pong ball to the end

Many classes and family workshops are offered to present more opportunities for learning and growth. The Little Buckeye Children’s Museum was selected by the Ohio Museum Association as the Institution of the Year for 2017.

The Mansfield Fire Museum and Educational Center brings history to life with displays of historical firefighting machinery and equipment, as well as teaching important fire safety procedures. The Fire Museum’s Safety House exhibit illustrates “Stop, Drop and Roll” techniques, the importance of a smoke detector, how to plan an escape route, when to call “911”, and even offers an interactive exhibit where children and adults evacuate a room filled with real smoke to simulate an emergency setting. The Mansfield Fire Museum and Education Center is the perfect place to take the family to teach them fire safety with fun interactive exhibits, and fire-fighting history.

Other area sites rich in history include Oak Hill Cottage, Malabar Farm State Park, Ohio Genealogical Society, the Ohio State Reformatory, and the North Central Ohio Industrial Museum (opening 2018). Many are a part of the Rich History Alliance, a group dedicated to the representation of historical organizations. Richland County is fortunate to have multiple impressive museums in the area for people to enjoy, catering to a broad audience with varied interests. Who said museums can’t be fun?!

Submitted by Seth Ansell, Destination Mansfield – Richland County Intern