The Ohio Statehouse Museum

The Museum Gallery is the area located directly under the Rotunda on the ground floor.

Statehouse Museum

The Ohio Statehouse Museum offers exhibits that encourage visitors to participate in the government process by making choices, expressing their opinions, comparing viewpoints and even becoming a part of an exhibit by giving a State of the State address. A thrust on contemporary issues enables visitors to better relate to the governing process. The Museum is an interactive place for learning about Ohio government for nearly 90,000 Ohio Statehouse tour visitors annually. The Museum includes interactive, hands-on exhibits that challenges visitors’ knowledge about Ohio history and the workings of state government, while equipping them to more fully participate as citizens. Historical artifacts and images will tell the stories of those who designed and built the Statehouse and those who have come to serve. Audiovisual media transport visitors to historical events and invite them to imagine themselves as governor or a legislator.


The Ohio Statehouse Museum is located on the ground floor of the Ohio Statehouse in the heart of downtown Columbus on the corners of Broad and High Street.

Museum Hours of Operation:

The Ohio Statehouse Museum is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday from 12 noon to 4 p.m.; closed state holidays.

Exhibit Highlights:

Great Ohioans

Great Ohioans-Neil Armstrong

The Great Ohioans exhibit presents recipients of the Great Ohioan award on a large touch monitor. A host of options are available to visitors to explore the life and accomplishments of each recipient. While countless Ohioans have performed great actions for their community and beyond, only a select few have been named a “Great Ohioan.” This exhibit allows visitors to have a greater understanding of the recipients of the Great Ohioan award and discover how they affected local, national and world history. The exhibit uses video, photos, facts and web based technology to explore the life and legacy of each Great Ohioan.

Ohio Constitution

Ohio is a diverse state, but each person, no matter where they are from has one thing in common – the Ohio Constitution. Within this introductory area of the Seat of Government Gallery, visitors are presented with replicas of the original 1802 and 1851 version 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.

State of the State

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 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.

Meet the Governor

Meet the Governors

The Governor stands as Ohio’s chief executive. In the “meet the governor” exhibit, visitors have the opportunity to learn about the people who have led Ohio since 1803. Visitors explore the governor’s time in office and also learn about the person before they entered the political spotlight. Through an interactive touchscreen and web based technology, visitors learn important facts about the individuals who have led our great state and what it takes to “build” a governor.
Visitors are greeted by eight life-sized, illustrated, graphic, flat panels of governors as they enter the Executive Gallery. Through interactive activities, each life-sized cutout educates visitors about a particular characteristic or trait shared by each of the governors. For example, visitors learn which served in the military, how many had advanced degrees and how many were born in Ohio.
Visitors come to understand that there is no definitive resume to be an Ohio governor. Through interactive activities, visitors are invited to select the skills that their “ideal governor” would possess. Visitors are able to choose a variety of characteristics and traits as they “build their governor.” Visitors then see which past and/or current Ohio governor most closely met the criteria they selected.

Balancing the Budget

Balancing the Budget Exhibit

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 a series of clear acrylic tubes containing “actual” money that flows through the exhibit and across the visitor space to the nearby Working for Ohio exhibit. Visitors are presented with 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 touchmonitor, 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 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.

Representing Districts

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 touchmonitors 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.

Elections and Voting Galleries

Inside the Classic voting booth

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 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.