The Western Reserve Historical Society

(© 2006 S. Mitchell; Licensed to About, Inc.)

The Western Reserve Historical Society History Center in Cleveland's University Circle neighborhood, showcases a variety of collections including -- the Bingham-Hanna House, the Hay McKinney House, the Crawford Auto Aviation Collection, and the Chisholm Halle Costume Collection -- plus an extensive library. In addition, it's filled with interesting exhibits about Cleveland from the days of Moses Cleaveland to the present.

The History Museum

The History Museum consists of two gracious, late 19th-century mansions, the Hay-McKinney and the Bingham-Hanna houses, extensive exhibits on the settlement of Cleveland (then, Cleaveland) and the surrounding Western Reserve (of Connecticut), and the Chisholm Halle Costume Wing.

The Houses

The houses contain many of the original furnishings and decorative pieces. The houses are available to the public on guided tours, offered between 12:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. daily. Particularly interesting are the "back stairs" areas and the extensive kitchen as well as the Hay-McKinney mansion's gracious dining room.

The Chisholm Halle Costume Wing

The Costume Wing houses more than 30,000 items of apparel, dating from the late 18th century to the present. The collection is continuously rotated so that the exhibit is always fresh, even to frequent visitors.

The Crawford Auto-Aviation Museum

Downstairs from the History Center is the wonderful, comprehensive collection of cars, planes, and other conveyances, collected by Frederick Crawford, founded (then)Cleveland-based TRW, Inc. The collection emphasizes the contribution of early Cleveland automakers, such as Winton Motors and White Motors. Some of the collections' highlights are an 1897 Panhard Levassor (the first enclosed auto), the first DeLorean produced, and Bobby Rahal's '82 Indy car (that won the first Cleveland 500).

The Library

The Western Reserve Historical Society maintains a complete archive and library of anything to do with Cleveland's history. The facility, full of photos, scanned documents, and books is open to the public Thursday, Friday, and Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Much of the material is also accessible online.

Visiting the Western Reserve Historical Society

Tuesday through Saturday 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. and Sunday 12:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m.
Admission (2016):
Adults $10, Seniors $9, Veterans $7, Students $5. Active military personnel and WRHS members are admitted free. Discounts are offered for AAA members. Parking is $8 for the first two hours in the adjacent lot.

The museum has a courtyard cafe and a fascinating gift shop, filled with Cleveland history books.

Contact Information

Western Reserve Historical Society
10825 East Blvd
Cleveland, OH 44106
216 721-5722

Hotels Near the Western Reserve Historical Society

The Intercontinental Hotel (check rates), at the Cleveland Clinic, is less than a mile away from the museum and offers elegant accommodations as well as a full range of services. Smaller and more intimate is the Glidden House (check rates), just around the corner. It's a charming bed and breakfast inn, created out of a historic mansion.

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