Hittin’ The Town: Wood County Museum

The museum grounds were originally the home of the Wood County Infirmary.
Published: Jul. 29, 2022 at 5:22 PM EDT
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - Our region is home to quite a few fabulous museums.

Bowling Green is home to one of them. The Wood County Museum holds a lot of history within its walls and it all starts with the original use of the site.

Marketing and Event Coordinator Marissa Muniz said the building was once an infirmary.

“This building was the Wood County Infirmary, also known as the county home or the poor farm. Orphans, widows, people who were injured or disabled all lived here.”

Hal Brown, President of the Wood County Historical Society, said he loves helping preserve the rich history of the county he was born in.

“The original building dates to 1869. It was in use until 1971. Thousands of people came and went in those years, and a lot of the records are still here,” Brown said.

It’s been a museum for nearly 50 years and Muniz said they are constantly changing things up. “Depending on when you are here there are different rotating exhibits. We like to keep a constant flow so there is something different each time you come out here.”

Right now, you can see everything from dozens of wedding gowns to the history of Ohio’s poor farms. “Many of our visitors are from our region, but many others come from all over the country and around the world,” Muniz said.

And in case you’re curious, the exhibit that features the museum’s most controversial artifacts is also the most popular. The exhibit tells the story of Mary and Carl Bach.

Carl was hanged for the murder of his wife. Muniz said some of Mary’s remains are part of the exhibit. “This exhibit has a background of domestic violence in it, so we wanted to make sure we did right by the exhibit.”

The museum holds all kinds of artifacts that help bring history to life. And there’s beauty inside and outside. “You can do a self-guided walking tour outside and just enjoy the grounds. There’s an herb garden. I love our herb garden. I love going out back to take a stroll and see what’s in bloom,” Muniz said.

Muniz said the outside was a big part of the site’s early days. It was home to a working farm.

“Anyone here who was able-bodied would have been expected to work on the farm −working on the upkeep and running it. There were crops and cattle barns. They had everything to be self-sufficient,” Muniz said.

“The ice ponds out back are where they would cut ice in the winter and put it in the icehouse, so they had some kind of refrigeration in the summer. For most of the time here, refrigeration was unheard of or a luxury, even,” said Hal.

Muniz said one of the outside gems is the wall. “It’s named after Frank Brandenberry. He was one of the superintendents of the infirmary. He hand-built the wall with help from some residents and people who worked here.”

It’s a fan favorite at the site, but Hal said it’s also something that needs to be protected. “In the last year and a half, we’ve added interpretive signs and the most important one is don’t climb on the wall, in my opinion.”

The Wood County Museum is a great place to explore, right in our backyard. “Whether you are young or old, we like to think that we have something for everyone to enjoy,” Muniz said.

The museum is open seven days a week.

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