The Other Museums of Ohio

Oh sure, you can visit MOCA, The Cleveland Museum of Art, go see Balto stuffed and on display, or visit any number of Hall of Fames in this god forsaken state — and why not? Sure they’re great, you could go and do that. However, if you are a fan of road trips, the bizarre, kitsch, or just have super specific interests that you are certain no one else has — you are in luck. Ohio has a lot of weird collections on display for public consumption! Here are some of the “other” museums on my list…

If you find yourself on the way to Cedar Point or the Erie Islands, you can check out the Merry-Go-Round Museum. No, not the clothing store from the 1980s! I mean actual carousels.

Alliance, Ohio now has The Feline Historical Museum. It is brand new, and I know some of you crazy cat people are curious to check it out. 260 E. Main St., Alliance , Ohio. It’s free!

Also in Alliance is a bizarre favorite and something to behold. The Troll Hole! They have a cafe and gift shop of course, but there is a waterfall, a grotto, and children get their own doll to hold during the tours.

Canton is a horrible and awful place, but if you do go, check out the weirdness that is the Canton Classic Car Museum. My husband and I spent part of an afternoon here looking for Johnny Carson’s DeLorean (which was sold off) and I can tell you this place is bizarre. Lots of non-car related artifacts, toys, and collectibles combined with an array of hood ornaments and funeral cars. It’s kind of fun.

If that doesn’t do the trick and you still need to keep yourself busy in Canton — city of the former HQ of the Hoover company — you can visit The Vacuum Cleaner Museum. Um, yeah.

If you venture down to Cincinnati, there is the American Sign Museum. See, you don’t have to go all the way to Vegas for the Neon Graveyard after all (which is never open when I’ve gone anyways!). I am a lover of signage and Americana, so I may have to venture to this place next time I’m in Cincy.

The Harris Dental Museum. I’m one of those weirdos that doesn’t feel pain or mind going to the dentist. “Is that all you got?” is what I said after my last root canal. So if you aren’t afraid of the dentist — or the creepy little house the museum is housed in — you might enjoy this place.

Of course there is the new Museum of Divine Statues in Lakewood Ohio that I recently visited.


The Dittrick Museum of Medical History Located at Case Western in Cleveland, it is a great place for research, lectures, and old medical illustrations through the centuries. This is one of my favorite places in Cleveland! According to the illustration below, if you are a young man who touches himself, you will get ill and start wearing a turban (those French people in the 1700s sure were wacky)


The Bicycle Museum. Hey, I know the whole fixed gear bike thing is all the rage. Bike messengers and tweed ride fetishists are sure to get excited about this one!

The Wyandot Popcorn Museum, some people are nutty about their popcorn, and here is a place to see vintage machines among other popcorn related items.

Barber Museum and Hall of Fame Apparently it has lots of cool old chairs, signs, and blades. It would have been funnier if this were located in Barberton.

And there you have it!


The more I watch these clips, the more infuriated I get.

Mind you I like being all housewifey; cooking, cleaning, baking cakes and discovering all the things baking soda can clean. In fact, I wish I could stay home and do that all the time and be all cute making complicated din-din for my husband. I’ve even been fantasizing about a new vaccuum, a Miele to be exact. I was once told by a well-known psychic that I was a man in a past life, and that I wished I was a woman so that I could stay home and not go to work…totally spot on!

But when I look at stuff like this, I’m glad I was born in this era. I mean these guys are allowed to be complete douchebags and these women think it is okay:

Folk God of LSD

“On a hill located in the city of Boston resides, infrequently, a man who once said he was God. The people who live on that hill, along with others who have come and gone, believe him.”

I’ve been getting interested in weird cults and dictators. Maybe it was being in Los Angeles for a decade, but I have a natural distrust of people; especially those who claim so much and have little results to show for it, or anyone who has a “following” and appear very charming while making promises etc. I firmly believe most people are full of shit unless they can prove me wrong. Someone at my work tried to recruit me into Quixar (aka Amway) not too long ago.

So, I’ve been reading a lot about Mel Lyman, also known as Woody Guthrie on LSD .

His story is too much to tell here, but he was a well educated folk musician and bad ass harmonica player who pretended to be an Appalachian to add to the authenticity of his persona. He wound up hanging around the folk scene in Cambridge MA. After recently seeing the Gram Parsons documentary, I’m pretty certain he may have been one of many people hanging out at the time when he studied at Harvard. Mel Lyman got in with the Leary and LSD crowd and it changed his whole world. This is where he went off his rocker, proclaiming himself the most perfect man on earth and sometimes a God. He wrote an autobiography even titled: “Autobiography of a World Savior”.

Eventually he gained a cult like following, and his teachings were about hard work, American values, pain as a path to enlightenment, and of course taking TONS of acid.

He is also known for his performance at the Newport Folk Fest, going on after Bob Dylan — later denouncing him as a traitor to the folk movement — and for gaining control of the magazine Avatar with his commune (cult to some) the Lyman Family. This all eventually led to many TV appearances, guest recordings and radio shows. While his Lyman Family commune lived together in a house in Boston, they were not hippies — in fact, they hated hippies. The main focus was the American values of hard work and the mythology or ethics surrounding that idea; most of his followers besies being musicians were skilled tradesmen, carpenters, engineers and so forth. At times he would have them spend months planning some new venture, creating projects for their media takeover, constructing structures and various additions to the communal house—only to have him order it be torn down or the project abandoned: a lesson that loss is part of life, and that life can be complete shit.

It is said that he died in 1978, but many still think he is alive and in hiding somewhere still. In all these years, unlike most communes and various cults, no one who has ever been part of his life or the Lyman Family have ever really abandoned him, stopped believing, or denounced him. He is one of the few cult leaders I’ve come across that has never had a suit filed against him, sexual assault investigation, or in general anyone speak bad about him even years later after his supposed death.

More info and
And a great article about some Lyman Family members raiding KPFK