The Ohio Statehouse Museum Education Center offers exhibits that encourage visitors to participate in the state government process by making decisions, expressing their opinions, comparing viewpoints and by voting. The exhibit challenges visitors' knowledge about the workings of state government, while equipping them to more fully participate as citizens.
The Ohio Statehouse Museum is located on the ground floor of the Ohio Statehouse. The museum is open Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday from 12 noon to 4:00 p.m.; closed on state holidays.
The Ohio Constitution
The basis of state government is the Ohio Constitution. In the introductory gallery visitors are presented with replicas of the original 1802 and 1851 versions of the Ohio Constitution. The Constitution governs each citizen today, as it has for more than 200 years. Within this exhibit, the historical document comes alive and becomes a relevant marker in people’s lives. Visitors are able to experience the what, who and why of the creation of this document. Through touchscreen and video, visitors are provided with a timeline of Ohio history and key constitutional moments. Visitors are able to take a practical look at how the constitution directly affects them by seeing how it has changed over time through an interactive process. In this exhibit area, visitors also learn about the judicial branch of state government as well as the Ohio’s state seal.
The Floor of the Ohio General Assembly
Throughout the Ohio Statehouse Museum, visitors learn about elections and the governmental process. In the Legislative Gallery, visitors are able to see how elections affect them directly by learning about their elected state representatives. Visitors are able to find current and past representatives and learn how those representatives can be affected through redistricting. Visitors encounter three replica Legislators desks, each outfitted with touch monitors with a host of interactive options that teach visitors about the legislative process. Through touchscreen and web based technology, interactive activities, audio visual presentations and graphics, visitors learn about the legislative branch of state government.
State of the State Exhibit
Every Ohio Governor has a duty to report on the progress of the state to its citizens. This is usually done at the "State of the State" address. With this exhibit, visitors can step into the Governor's shoes and deliver a State of the State address. Visitors see and hear actual State of the State addresses from Ohio governors throughout history.
Through the interactive multi-media presentation, visitors learn about the history and importance of the State of the State address.
Balancing the Budget
One of the biggest responsibilities lawmakers have is drafting, and working within, a responsible budget. In this exhibit, visitors get to see how easy (or difficult) the creation of a state budget can be. The goal of this exhibit is to teach visitors about the state budget system and how it affects all Ohioans. This process is seen in a very real way through this exhibit setting. One aspect of this setting is a series of clear acrylic tubes containing "actual" money that will flow through the exhibit and across the visitor space to the nearby Working for Ohio exhibit.
Visitors are presented the state's budget process and then make their own budget priorities, comparing their version to actual data from actual past state budgets through Ohio's history. By manipulating sliders on a touch monitor, a tour group can guess about big categories of funding, and then compare to the actual numbers. Visitors have the opportunity to choose categories and initiatives to fund to the allotted budget. Through interactive touchscreen technology, visitors are able to learn about the importance of the budget, how it is created and where the money comes from.
Working for Ohio
The Governor relies heavily on each of the cabinet agencies and the members of various state commissions to help plan and execute the business of the state. While the work they do affects every Ohioan, do citizens really understand who does what? This exhibit helps visitors learn about the work of the Cabinet and some of the larger commissions and boards. The Working for Ohio exhibit illustrates the impact of Ohio's budget in the landscape of our everyday lives. Thirty-four clear-faced file drawers, 21 representing departments of the State and 13 major commissions, each contain a mixture of scale model props, specimens, artifacts, paper ephemera and graphics. Through touch screen technology, interactive components and games, visitors get a sense of the important part that each state department plays to carry out the laws of the state.
Elections and Voting Gallery
Once every two years, citizens across Ohio have the opportunity to get involved in a single act of citizenship – the election of political candidates. Visitors are introduced to what goes into this exhilarating, and sometimes bumpy, path to elected office. In the Elections Gallery, visitors have the opportunity to connect with the excitement, pageantry and importance of elections. The exhibition is an engaging and provocative celebration of democracy and the power of ‘We the People.' Visitors get a history of voting in Ohio from 1802 to present day. Visitors get a taste of active citizenship through a menu of topics that are designed to provide discussion and debate before casting their own vote on the topic.
The exhibit offers role-playing opportunities and uses multimedia and interactive experiences to convey the importance and excitement of Ohio's fundamental right to vote. Visitors learn about the election process and fascinating issues and candidates throughout Ohio history.
Visitors are engaged as they are introduced to a multimedia presentation of past campaigns. The exhibition begins with an overview that takes visitors through the history of elections and how they have changed over time. The stories of Ohio election contests are told through songs, slogans and speeches. Visitors also see a towering collection of campaign buttons and paraphernalia from throughout Ohio's history.
Role-playing activity stations and computer interactives allow visitors to play the part of a candidate, campaign manager, journalist or engaged citizen, and place them on the campaign front to learn first-hand the roles and responsibilities of each. Visitors have the opportunity to share their opinions about which candidate they are supporting.
Making the Laws Gallery
It is important to know how laws come into existence. Within each two-year General Assembly, a number of bills in Ohio are proposed. Thousands of bills may be introduced, however only five to ten percent of them may actually be enacted as laws.
Visitors learn first-hand how a bill takes its path through the Ohio Legislature before becoming law. Through interactive touchscreen technology, audiovisual presentations, artifacts and graphics, visitors learn about the major legislative enactment stages of introduction and consideration in the Ohio General Assembly and the action of the Governor.
*Exhibit Design and Photography by Hilferty & Associates
Online Museum Collections Catalog
The Statehouse Museum Online Collections Catalog is a searchable database of the Ohio governors’ portraits, major Statehouse paintings, political memorabilia and much more. The collections relate to the Ohio Statehouse and statewide officials, campaigns, and issues. Items are added to the catalog periodically, so check back every so often.If you have an item you would like to donate, please contact Cheryl Straker at 614/644-4154 or firstname.lastname@example.org.