7 nearby places to lose yourself in amazing history and beautiful art

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

If you enter Paul Laurence Dunbar’s house today you may think the poet has just stepped out. Dunbar, one of the first nationally known African-American writers, purchased the two-story brick house at 219 N. Summit St. in Dayton in 1904 for his mother, Matilda. The poet had chronic health problems throughout his life and had been diagnosed with tuberculosis.

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

The Miami Valley has a number of museums for all interests.

Here are seven you might not know about that are worth a visit:

Explore» RELATED: Just as he left it, Dunbar house a frozen view of poet’s treasures

Miami Valley Military History Museum 

World War I uniforms at the Miami Valley Military History Museum located in Building 120 on the Dayton Veterans Administration campus. The uniform at right was worn by Corporal Harold C. Smith from Clifton, Illinois. Smith ran away from home at age 14, changed his name and enlisted in the Army. He was served in France and was discharged in 1919 at age 16. TY GREENLEES / STAFF

The Miami Valley Military History Museum has a collection of artifacts spanning from the Revolutionary War to current uniforms worn in Iraq and Afghanistan, most of it donated by veterans and their families.

The museum also has a piece of the U.S.S. Arizona battleship sunk at Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, and burnt steel from the World Trade Center terrorist attacks.

Location: 120 Ohio Avenue, Building 120 (Putnam Library) on the Dayton VA campus.

Hours: Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the first and third Saturday's of each month. Open on all patriotic holidays, or by appointment if a volunteer is available.

Admission: Donations accepted.

Dayton International Peace Museum 

The Dayton International Peace museum holds a  Peace Camp each year. Contributed photo:  Dayton International Peace Museum

The Dayton International Peace Museum was founded in 2004 to honor the 1995 Dayton Peace Accords that ended the Bosnian war. The museum’s mission is to raise awareness of nonviolent strategies for achieving peace.

Located in the Isaac Pollack House, a downtown Dayton historic home, the museum is a member of the International Network of Museums for Peace.

The museum has exhibits and also plays host to community talks and training opportunities, book clubs and a week long summer peace camp.

Location: 208 W. Monument Dayton

Hours: Wednesday through Saturday, 1 p.m. – 5 p.m.

Admission: The suggested donation is $8 a person.

Springfield Museum of Art 

It’s only after getting close to the sculptures that visitors begin to realize what they contain —everything from license plates and bottle caps to piano keys and electrical wire. Industrial Nature: Works by Michelle Stitzlein” is currently on view at the Springfield Museum of Art. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

The Springfield Museum of Art hosts a changing exhibition and works from its permanent collection.

Currently “Industrial Nature: Works by Michelle Stitzlein,” large-scale sculpture from recycled materials, The Western Ohio Watercolor Society’s 43rd annual members show and “Jennifer Rosengarten: Gardens & Ponds,” large-scale images of the natural world are among the exhibits.

The museum was accepted into the Smithsonian Affiliates program in 2012 and is the only art museum in Ohio with that distinction.

Location: 107 Cliff Park Road, Springfield

Hours: Wednesday-Saturday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Sundays 12:30-4:30 p.m., closed Monday and Tuesday.

Admission: Adults $5; Members and children under 17 Free except for Special Exhibitions

» RELATED: Gardens with a twist! Nature inspires exhibits at UD and Springfield

The National Afro-American Museum & Cultural Center 

The National Afro-American Museum and Cultural Center in Wilberforce has over 9,000 works of art and artifacts making it home to one of the nation’s largest collections of Afro-American materials.. STAFF FILE PHOTO BY LISA POWELL

Credit: Lisa Powell

Credit: Lisa Powell

The National Afro-American Museum & Cultural Center has more than 9,000 works of art and artifacts as well as thousands of photographs and hundreds of manuscripts, making it home to one of the nation’s largest collections of Afro-American materials.

The exhibitions change throughout the year. One of the current exhibits, “The Voices of the Revolution,” explores the Civil Rights Movement.

Two new exhibitions will soon open. “Freed Will: The Randolph Freedpeople: From Slavery to Settlement” will open May 20, and the fourth-annual Black Heritage Through Visual Rhythms Juried Art Show will open June 17.

Location: 1350 Brush Row Rd, Wilberforce

Hours: Wednesday-Saturday, 9 a.m.–4 p.m.

Admission: $6 adults, $5 seniors and $3 for ages 6-17. Children 5 and under are free. Admission is free for Central State University and Wilberforce University students.

A special admission on International Museum Day will be $3.

America’s Packard Museum 

 America's Packard Museum houses a collection of over 50 Packard automobiles dating from 1903 to 1958 along with memorabilia and artifacts.

Credit: Chris Stewart

Credit: Chris Stewart

The automobile museum is the only restored Packard dealership operating as a full-time museum. The museum took the name of the original dealership, the Citizens Motorcar Company, but is known as “America’s Packard Museum.”

It houses a collection of more than 50 Packard automobiles, dating from 1903 to 1958 along with memorabilia and artifacts, all displayed in a restored Art Deco showroom and service department.

Location: 420 South Ludlow Street, Dayton

Hours: Open daily noon to 5 p.m., except Christmas and New Years Day

Admission: Adults $6, seniors $5, students free

The Garst Museum 

Annie Oakley takes aim at an apple sitting on top of her dogs' head. One of the exhibits at the Garst Museum in Greenville is dedicated to the sharp shooters life.  PHOTO COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL ANNIE OAKLEY CENTER AT THE GARST MUSEUM

The historical museum houses more than 300,000 artifacts within the Garst House, an early inn that now has six building wing additions creating 35,000 square feet of exhibit space.

Highlights of the Garst Museum include the National Annie Oakley Center, which celebrates the life and history of the sharpshooter and an exhibit dedicated to Lowell Thomas, best known as a radio news commentator for CBS Radio Network.

Location: 205 North Broadway, Greenville

Hours: Tuesday – Saturday 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. and Sunday 1-4 p.m. Closed Monday

Admission: Adults $10, seniors over 60, $9, youth 6-17, $7. Ages 5 and under are free.

» RELATED: Annie Oakley: From Darke County farm to worldwide fame

Paul Laurence Dunbar House Historic Site 

Besides composing poems and literature, Paul Laurence Dunbar used a Remington Standard typewriter to write his work, editorials for newspapers and for correspondence. The Paul Laurence Dunbar Historic Site is much the same as when the poet lived there. LISA POWELL / STAFF

If you enter Paul Laurence Dunbar’s house today, you might think the poet has just stepped out.

Dunbar, one of the first nationally known African-American writers, purchased the two-story brick house at 219 N. Summit St. in Dayton in 1904 for his mother, Matilda. Chronically ill, he spent his final years at the house while his mother cared for him.

Matilda did not allow anyone into his private rooms, ensuring they would be untouched. The upstairs study and the bedroom where he worked are filled with Dunbar’s personal possessions.

Location: 219 N. Paul Laurence Dunbar St., Dayton.

Hours: Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Admission: Free.

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