Two East Side Museums
When you consider the many world-class museums of Greater Cleveland, you often think of those in University Circle. After all, University Circle is Cleveland’s “cultural hub” and includes the most concentrated area of museums and cultural attractions in the nation. However, there is also much culture to be found outside of this well-known neighborhood.
Wanting to explore more of Greater Cleveland’s cultural treasures, I visited two of the East Side’s lesser known museums: The Dunham Tavern Museum and the Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage. Although very different in size and theme, both museums tell unique stories about the Greater Cleveland experience.
The Dunham Tavern Museum, located at 6709 Euclid Avenue, is the oldest surviving structure in the City of Cleveland. Rufus and Jane Pratt Dunham, who had moved to the Western Reserve in 1819, constructed the tavern in 1824. It stands, to this day, on its original site in what is now known as the city’s Midtown Corridor.
When I arrived to the tavern, Sandy, who would be my guide, warmly greeted me. Sandy took great pride in the tavern, and she was very knowledgeable of its history and that of the Western Reserve, in general. The rooms of the tavern have been restored, in great detail, to how they would have been during the tavern’s early days. Following the tour, which took about a half hour, I walked the paths on the grounds to learn more about life in the Western Reserve. In the warmer months, guests can also enjoy the tavern’s beautiful gardens.
Although not a big institution, there is a wealth of history to be found at the Dunham Tavern Museum. And at only $3 for adults and $2 for children, it is an inexpensive way to spend the afternoon and learn something new about the history of the area that would one day become Cleveland and Northeast Ohio.
The Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage is located at 2929 Richmond Road in Beachwood, Ohio. The Maltz Museum is a museum of the finest quality, and you need not be Jewish to enjoy the museum or the story of the Jewish experience in Greater Cleveland and across the globe. In fact, the Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage presents not only “the Jewish experience” but also “the American experience.”
The Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage is almost like three museums in one. The exhibits in the permanent collection focus on various aspects of Jewish life: From the Jews’ arriving at Ellis Island to their establishing communities in Greater Cleveland; from the horrors of the Holocaust to the triumph of the modern State of Israel. The exhibits are presented throughout seven distinct galleries, each with a different theme. These galleries include artifacts, testimonials, photographs, and video presentations.
In addition to the galleries of the permanent collection, the Temple-Tifereth Israel Gallery showcases Jewish art and artifacts from around the world. Finally, the Special Exhibition Gallery currently features “The Nazi Olympics: Berlin 1936.” This exhibit is fascinating and would be of interest to any aficionado of the Olympic Games, let alone those interested in Jewish history, world history, and/or the pre-World War II era. To enjoy all that the Maltz Museum has to offer, allow 3-4 hours. And those who purchase the Cleveland Plus Pass can enjoy the Maltz Museum along with nine other Greater Cleveland attractions.
I highly recommend both museums as a wonderful way to spend a Sunday afternoon. Please note that the Dunham Tavern Museum is only open from 1:00 to 4:00 pm Wednesday and Sunday afternoons. The Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage is open everyday but Monday. Both museums offer free on-site parking.
For more information about the Dunham Tavern Museum, refer to its website at www.dunhamtavern.org. For more information about the Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage visit www.maltzmuseum.org. – Submitted by Christopher S. Musselman, guest blogger