Hidden Columbus: Obscure Museums

Dave Ghose
National Barber Museum and Hall of Fame

National Barber Museum and Hall of Fame

135 Franklin St., Canal Winchester. Tours by appointment: 614-837-8400 or 614-833-1846. $3 to $5

The museum reopened last year in a new location in Canal Winchester after a fire damaged its former home above the Canal Wigwam restaurant in 2014. The new space provides more room for a vast collection of artifacts, including more than 2,500 straight razors, 71 barber poles, more than 2,000 shaving mugs and a horrifying set of bloodletting tools from the era when barbers performed surgery and dentistry. nationalbarbermuseum.org

Early Television Foundation and Museum

5396 Franklin St., Hilliard. 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. Free

When Steve McVoy’s collection of vintage televisions began to overwhelm his home, he started this museum in a 6,000-square-foot renovated warehouse in downtown Hilliard in 2001. Today, the Early Television Foundation and Museum includes more than 150 antique sets, from the mechanical devices of the 1920s to the early color TVs of the 1950s, as well as old cameras and a mobile broadcasting van from 1948. earlytelevision.org

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Ohio’s Small Town Museum

34 Long St., Ashville. 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday to Friday, 9 a.m. to noon Saturday. Free

This Pickaway County gem features a delightful mix of offbeat exhibits and truly historic artifacts, but its most unique attraction is probably “America’s most unusual traffic light.” The bizarre, football-shaped device with a single, alternating screen on each side operated in Ashville for more than 40 years until the state made the town replace it in the early 1980s for failing to take into account colorblind drivers. facebook.com/OhiosSmallTownMuseum

Paul A. Johnson Pencil Sharpener Museum

13178 state Rte. 664 S., Logan. 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Saturday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Free

Natural wonders aren’t the only amazing sights you can find in the Hocking Hills. Tucked next to the Hocking Hills Regional Welcome Center is a small shed housing what’s believed to be the world’s largest collection of pencil sharpeners—more than 3,400 in total. The collection was once the property of the late Paul A. Johnson, a minister who gave his vintage classroom accessories to the Hocking Hills Tourism Association prior to his death in 2010. explorehockinghills.com

Doll Museum at the Old Rectory

50 W. New England Ave., Worthington. 1 to 4 p.m. Tuesday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. $2 to $3

Head to downtown Worthington to see an extraordinary collection of 19th and 20th century dolls, including French fashion dolls, a doll made from a turkey wishbone and portrait dolls of Empress Eugenie of France (wife of Napoleon III) and Countess Dagmar of Denmark (wife of Czar Alexander III). worthingtonhistory.org

Wagner-Jaybird Auto Collection

476 E. Kossuth St., Columbus. Tours by appointment: 614-271-0888. Free

There’s no website for this German Village museum, nor is there an email address. If you want to see the Wagner-Jaybird Auto Collection’s vintage cars, unusual license plates and other memorabilia, you need to call the phone number listed above and set up an appointment with co-founder Steve Wagner, whose enthusiastic tours have helped turn this peculiar passion project into one of the most popular Columbus attractions listed on TripAdvisor.