The Ohio River Museum

The Ohio River Museum

Marietta’s Ohio River Museum, situated on the scenic riverfront, is a time capsule that captures the essence of life and commerce along the Ohio River. This institution isn’t just a museum; it’s a journey.

Historically, rivers have always been more than mere bodies of water. They’ve been lifelines, trade routes, and the centers around which cities and civilizations have grown. The Ohio River is no exception, playing a pivotal role in the development of the American Midwest. Learn more

Walking through the museum’s doors, visitors are first greeted by an exhibit that traces the geology and formation of the river. Detailed displays highlight how this mighty river was once a shallow sea, replete with marine life, now preserved as fossils that hint at a world long past.

One of the main attractions is the exploration of steamboat history. Beautifully preserved models, interactive displays, and actual artifacts transport visitors back to the 19th century when steamboats were the beating heart of commerce, travel, and communication. Detailed dioramas bring to life bustling scenes of loading docks, complete with the sounds of steam whistles, churning water, and traders’ calls.

The ecological gallery sheds light on the diverse fauna and flora that call the Ohio River home. Interactive touch tanks offer hands-on experiences, allowing visitors to get up close and personal with some of the river’s smaller inhabitants.

A unique aspect of visiting the Ohio River Museum is the seasonal boat rides on the Valley Gem Sternwheeler. This authentic sternwheel boat offers a tangible connection to history, giving visitors a chance to experience the river as travelers did more than a century ago. The gentle bob of the boat, the rhythmic churn of the paddles, and the vast expanse of water give one a sense of the river’s might and majesty.

In essence, the Ohio River Museum isn’t merely a collection of artifacts; it’s an interactive narrative. It tells a story that stretches from the distant geological past to the modern day, emphasizing the river’s central role in shaping the region’s history, economy, and culture.

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113 Putnam St, Marietta, OH 45750


(740) 373-5648

Mon-Fri: 9:00am-5:00pm
Sat: 10:00am-2:00pm
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