History and You Museum ToursProject led by Franklin Museum
About the project.
History and You will be offered to adults and youth within the Harrison, Belmont and Jefferson counties (and anyone else who is interested) by guided tours through the Franklin Museum. Operated by volunteers, the museum is open by appointment only but currently the trustees are planning to host a summer/fall History and You- A Day at the Museum featuring historic information, games and foods and a holiday tour and dinner towards the end of the year entitled History and You- A Night at the Museum. As a volunteer-only organization, we are always seeking funding for such projects and for updates to various displays and rooms within the building which was constructed in 1900.
The Franklin Museum, in New Athens, Ohio, is located in the building that housed Franklin College from 1900 until the college merged with Muskingum in 1919 and then ceased operations at the building in 1921. From 1921 to 1971 the building housed grades 1-12 as Franklin School. From 1971 till 1987 it was New Athens School housing middle and elementary schools. The building became a museum in 1990.
What became Franklin College was chartered in 1825 as Alma College (soon changed to Franklin College) by abolitionist Reverend John Walker, a Presbyterian minister. The College was founded to be a center of learning that would instill high moral values. Walker also was co-founder of the village of New Athens, named for Athens, Greece to symbolize classical learning.
In its one hundred years of existence Franklin was the institution the produced among graduates two governors, eight U.S. Senators, nine U.S Congressmen and 22 state legislators.
Among some other notable graduates were Titus Basfield, a former slave who was one of the first African Americans to graduate from an Ohio institution of high learning, and John Bingham, a congressman and chief deputy prosecutor of Lincoln’s assassins.
Because of the abolitionist sentiment espoused at Franklin College, it was considered a target for Morgan’s Confederate Raiders when they came into the immediate area in 1863.
Franklin Museum’s exhibits highlight the college and its history. Other exhibits highlight the Civil War and days gone by. The Museum also focuses on many other areas of local history and culture.
Several rooms of the building are dedicated to local history for not only Harrison, but also its neighboring counties.
FAO staff comments.
Like many institutions preserving the dynamic history and culture of Appalachian Ohio, the Franklin Museum is volunteer-led and operated. Dollars to this project will support guided tour opportunities throughout 2022, highlighting the local history of Harrison and surrounding counties, but also the dynamic history of the former Franklin College and its impact on the state.
Appalachian Ohio history and culture is state and national history and culture and the volunteers of the Franklin Museum preserve and share that history with lifelong learners of all ages.