Biz Spotlight: The Grove City Welcome Center and Museum

Melissa Kossler Dutton

The Grove City Welcome Center and Museum offers visitors a glimpse of the community's past. The museum, which opened two years ago, features an eclectic inventory of historical goods. The pieces are either owned by the Southwest Franklin County Historical Society or borrowed from local residents.

"Sometimes people would like to share their heirlooms but they don't want to part with them," said Jim Hale, executive director of the Grove City Area Visitors and Convention Bureau. "It's good for us. We can rotate the inventory and keep it fresh and interesting."

The museum has a real mixed collection. Can you highlight a few of your favorite pieces?

There's a toy iron truck that's a little bit over 100 years old. That's one of the items we can show to kids and let them handle, and they don't have to worry about the signs that say do not touch. The old wooden washing machine - kids are just absolutely fascinated when you talk about it.

What other displays are children attracted to?

They like the exhibit of the medical devices from a doctor's office. The potty chair. They're very fascinated with the idea that homes did not have bathrooms. Kids really do like the 1914 Model T car.

Do you have any upcoming exhibits that might appeal to families?

During September, we will have the Wonders of the World, the Rodney Eakin Exhibit. The exhibit includes a lot of artifacts - a dinosaur egg, several objects that are 50 to 65 million years old, a stegodon molar that weighs 10 pounds. There are moths and butterflies from throughout the world. It's coming from a private collection of an individual here in Grove City. During the daytime, the exhibit will be totally free.

In November, we will have a display of antique toys and Christmas ornaments. We will probably have three different trains running.

How does seeing and sometimes touching help children appreciate history?

We've got a lot of signs that say, "Do not touch." (But) I also have things in here that I'll pull out that I'll let the children touch and handle and feel. That's what creates a memory and that helps create an interest in history. It's no fun to just look at things unless you can be a part of it.

Grove City Welcome Center and Museum

3378 Park St., Grove City


Hours: 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, and on some special holidays and occasions.