Campus Martius Museum houses three floors of historical exhibits focusing on the Northwest Territory and its first settlement, Marietta. Visitors can also tour the Rufus Putnam House and the Ohio Company Land Office. Use the links at right to browse through what Campus Martius has to offer.
Campus Martius reserves one of its galleries for changing exhibits. These displays center on themed topics.
Lily Martin Spencer
November 19, 2016 - October 1, 2017Lily Martin Spencer is a Nationally known artist from Marietta. Discover her ‘non-traditional’ role for her time. Learn how her husband managed the home and their 13 children while her work supported the family.
Innovation through NecessityThis exhibit will present a look at 19th Century businesses and families that were part of Marietta’s early years. These early families took an unsettled land and developed prospering businesses and a stable livelihood that would lead to the expansion of the Northwest Territory. This laid the foundation and created motivation for future expansion in the United States.
Marietta's earliest known civilization, Adena/Hopewell moundbuilders, built an extensive mound and earthwork complex where Marietta now resides. When Rufus Putnam and company arrived they decided to survey and map the mounds. Several were set aside as protected monuments, an unusual act for the 1780s. Our museum collection includes their original maps and surveys plus artifacts of the Hopewell period.
Though no tribe lived at the confluence of the Ohio and Muskingum Rivers, several traveled and hunted throughout the region. Delaware, Wyandott, and Pottawattomie tribes were among those that signed the 1789 Fort Harmar Treaty. As you tour Campus Martius, view authentic clothing, items of trade, tools, and learn of the culture of these late 18th century Native Americans.
Many Revolutionary War veterans were granted lands in the Northwest Territory in lieu of payment for their tour of duty. General Rufus Putnam, friend of George Washington, led the Ohio Company to the Ohio and Muskingum Rivers to claim their land grant. Campus Martius Museum exhibits a large collection of original artifacts, documents, and possessions from these pioneers. Learn about colonial migration, Indian treaties, fort building, city planning and more.
The Ohio Company of Associates was formed in 1786 by General Rufus Putnam, Rev. Manasseh Cutler, Samuel Holden Parsons, and Benjamin Tupper with goal of acquiring and settling land in the Ohio Country. After Congress enacted the Ordinance of 1787, creating the Northwest Territory, the Ohio Company made its purchase. Rufus Putnam led the first group of settlers to the Ohio and Muskingum in 1788. Tour the original Ohio Company Land Office where Rufus Putnam worked, oldest known building in Ohio. Walk in the steps of hopeful land owners, view the maps and stake your claim in the Northwest Territory.
Originally a blockhouse in the Campus Martius fortification, the Rufus Putnam House remains in its original location. Most of the fort was disassembled and used in the settlers' new construction, but General Putnam chose to remain on the bluff above the Muskingum River. The Rufus Putnam House is now restored to its original configuration. Step back into to time and see how a pioneer lived in the 1780s. Interpretive guides will show you how Mrs. Putnam fixed toast on an open fire, where General Putnam kept his private papers, and the Putnam family bedchambers.
The focus of the exhibit Paradise Found and Lost: Migration in the Ohio Valley, 1850-1970 goes beyond Ohio's early settlement. It explores two later waves of migration that shaped the state's history: the movement of many rural Ohioans to cities between 1850 and 1910, and the influx of Appalachians from Kentucky and West Virginia into Ohio's industrial centers such as Dayton and Akron between 1910 and 1970.
The exhibit includes 90 objects from Ohio History Connection collections, ranging from an early mechanized seed drill to a jacket worn during performances by contemporary country music singer Dwight Yoakam, the son of Appalachian emigrants. In addition to artifacts, exhibits contain audio accounts taken from diaries and journals kept by these people on the move, video views of factory and city life, and interactive computer programs showing migration patterns and Ohio's economic development.