Marietta museums to offer free admission

MARIETTA – Everyone likes to get something for nothing and on National Museum Day, that is just what visitors can expect.

Based on the Smithsonian Institution’s tradition of offering free admission to patrons, the Campus Martius and Ohio River museums in Marietta will both open their doors to the public Saturday for complimentary tours.

“While we don’t have anything special planned for the day, there are some exhibits that people might not have seen yet and this would be a good opportunity,” said Glenna Hoff, education and program director at Campus Martius.

Hoff is referring to “Imagining Marietta,” a collection of murals depicting life in the new settlement by artist William Mark Young and “Touched By Conflict: Southeastern Ohio and the Civil War.”

Tours of the Rufus Putnam House and the W.P. Snyder will also be offered for free on Saturday.

“People can come and take as much time or as little time as they want,” Hoff said. “We’ve had people come and spend the whole day just reading every single thing at every single exhibit.”

Walt Stewart, a longtime volunteer at the museum, said he has been giving tours since at least 2000 and plans to be there Saturday.

“I retired as a chemical engineer from DuPont in 1997 … I don’t remember exactly when I started volunteering but I know I was there on 9/11 (2001),” said the 80-year-old who splits his time between Marietta and Florida. “I am just very much into the history of Marietta and the area.”

Stewart frequently gives tours of the popular Putnam House and enjoys groups both large and small.

“I do tend to talk too much,” he laughed.

The free event takes place from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. at both museums. Hoff noted that the Ohio River Museum is only open on weekends through the end of October.

“So this is a good time for people to go there and see the Posey exhibit and the Ritz exhibit,” she said.

Last year’s event was kind of last minute, according to Hoff, but close to 300 people took advantage of the opportunity. Since the Campus Martius Museum became accredited by the American Association of Museums in 2011, officials have been more attuned to programs like National Museum Day.

Museum Day Live! is a program through the Smithsonian Institution wherein participating museums sign up, are listed on the website and attendees are asked to go online to print out special tickets.

While the local event is held in conjunction with the national event, museum director Le Ann Hendershot said there is nothing needed to get in the doors on Saturday.

“We just kind of do our own thing and people don’t need to do anything but show up and have a good time,” she said.