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Military history museum a year-round memorial to veterans

A Memorial Day visit to the Miami Valley Military History Museum will honor those who served the nation. 

The historical archive opened in 2007 in the 1880 Putnam Thomas Library building located on the Dayton VA Medical Center campus. 

>> 5 memorials that honor veterans

The first floor of the historic building is filled with several thousand objects spanning from 1775 to the present said Mark Conrad, the volunteer museum curator who keeps the military history alive with his wife, Catherine Beers-Conrad. 

“The museum is proof that freedom is not free,” said Beers-Conrad. “Our world would be so different if it were not for everyone who has defended this country.” 

Organized by chronological order, the relics transport visitors back in time. 

>> Civil War monuments in Dayton

Display cases are filled with military artifacts including uniform buttons worn during the American Revolution, a bullet embedded in a piece of tree recovered from Gettysburg and silk handkerchiefs mailed as keepsakes from home during World War I. 

“What you see out here is just a fraction of what we have. We could do this ten times over and not run out of artifacts,” said Conrad. 

A piece of the battleship USS Arizona, historic photographs, a German steel helmet called a ‘Stahlhelm’ and a coconut, mailed to Ohio from the Pacific Theater during World War II, are part of the comprehensive collection. 

Recently a box arrived at the museum with a uniform tucked inside worn by a man from Pennsylvania during the Normandy invasion, adding to the ever-growing acquisition. 

“We literally get something from around the country every week,” said Conrad. “Sometimes it shows up in the mail but a lot of it walks in the door.” 

Pinned to the dozens of military uniforms on display are a photograph and biography of the person who wore it. “For me that makes it more personal because I actually get to meet this person not just look at a uniform,” said Beers-Conrad. 

The military museum is significant today because it is a reminder that our freedom “has been paid for not only by our patriot forefathers, but common ordinary people who did extraordinary things,” said Conrad. 

“People will reflect that they’re free and they can talk about anything they want, and complain about anything they want only because people have shed their blood for them to be able to do it.” 

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What: Miami Valley Military History Museum 

Where: Building 120 on the Dayton VA Medical Center campus, 120 Ohio Ave. Dayton, Ohio 

Hours: Open on Memorial Day and all patriotic holidays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. 

Open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and the first and third Saturdays of each month. 

Admission: Free

More information: If you would like to donate artifacts to help preserve and honor veterans history stop by the museum or e-mail

COSI announces plans for EPIC new science festival

Now this is going to be big. 

COSI announced today plans for one of the “largest science events in Ohio history.”The COSI Science Festival is set for May 1-4 2019.

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The four-day festival will showcase science around central Ohio and will conclude with a hands-on, day-long carnival-style celebration on the Scioto Peninsula outside COSI, according to a news release.

 “The COSI Science Festival will showcase how exciting, interesting, fun and accessible science is to all of us and how relevant it is to our daily lives. In addition, it will shine a light on the fantastic science, technology, and industry innovation in our great central Ohio region,” COSI President and CEO Frederic Bertley said in the release.

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 Battelle, a Columbus based technology company, has  pledged $850,000 over three years to the project. 

 Additional funds are being sought. 

 “This celebration will foster appreciation for innovation and technology in our community, share our enthusiasm for what our employees do every day and spark interest in the next generation of budding scientists, researchers and engineers,”  Battelle President and CEO Lou Von Thaer said. 

According to a Columbus Dispatch article, COSI’s festival will be structured like the Philadelphia Science Festival created by Bertley and others. 

The newspaper reports that it will include about 150 community partners and 60 events, many of which will be free. 

The events will be held in Columbus and surrounding communities.

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Why now is the perfect time to visit Cincinnati museum


WHAT: “Daubigny, Monet, Van Gogh: Impressions of Landscape”

WHERE: Taft Museum of Art, 316 Pike Street, Cincinnati

WHEN: Through May 29. Hours are 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday-Friday; 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Due to the popularity of the exhibition, admission on Sundays is only by timed tickets secured in advance. Timed tickets are also strongly recommended for Tuesday through Saturday as well. If you choose not to purchase tickets in advance, you may experience a delay until the next entry time becomes available.

TICKETS: Admission to the Taft Museum of Art is $15, which includes entrance to the special exhibition as well as the rest of the museum. Sunday admission is $5, which includes entrance to the special exhibition and youth and children are free. Timed tickets will be available for purchase at Note that Sunday admission for the permanent collection at the historic house is free.

Special events and programming:

  • A symposium from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 16 will focus on Daubigny’s innovations, contributions, and interactions with the Impressionists, and his influence on Vincent van Gogh. Tickets are $45 for non-members and include lunch. Reservations required. Call (513) 684-4516 or visit
  • “From Palette to Palate: The Art and Food of the Impressionists” will take place at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, May 1. Taft Executive Chef Luke Radkey will explore the French culinary palate with sample small bites. It’s $15 for non-members.
  • Art À La Carte (Just for Young Professionals) is slated for 5-8 p.m. Friday, May 13. The evening features wine, painting, music and poetry.
  • “En Plein Air Landscape Painting Workshop” will be held from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday, May 14 and Sunday, May 15. Dayton landscape artist Gretchen Durst Jacobs will conduct a two-day workshop in oil paints. On the first day, you’ll look at Daubigny’s landscapes and sketch and paint on the Taft’s grounds. On day two, participants will walk to the river and find a location to make their own landscape en plein air. Paint and canvas will be supplied. Tickets are $80 non-members. Reservations required: (513) 684-4516 or Includes admission to the museum and special exhibition.


Reservations required for all of the related programs. Call (513) 684-4516 or visit


Publication: A fully illustrated 176-page catalogue is available in the museum gift shop for $35.

Audio Tour: A free audio tour is available to visitors at Printed versions of the audio tour will be available for visitors without smartphones and those who are hearing impaired.

Lunch: Cafe reservations are required. Call (513) 352-5140 to book your table.

If you’ve never been to the Taft Museum, you’re missing one of Southwest Ohio’s artistic gems.

Located in downtown Cincinnati, the museum is housed in the former home of Charles and Anna Taft — President William Howard Taft’s half-brother and his wife. The couple amassed an amazing collection of European old master and 19th-century paintings, American art, European sculpture and decorative arts and Chinese porcelain. Their 700 treasures are on display in the historic home that opened to the public in 1932 and includes a 2004 addition.

A registered National Historic Landmark, the house is the oldest domestic wooden structure remaining in its original location in Cincinnati and is considered one of the finest examples of Federal architecture in the Palladian style in the country.


In addition to seeing the wonderful permanent collection, through the end of May visitors can take in a rare, impressive international exhibition “Daubigny, Monet, Van Gogh: Impressions of Landscape.” The show, produced by the Taft in conjunction with the Scottish National Gallery in Edinburgh and the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, aims to educate visitors about the origins of Impressionism through the work of Charles François Daubigny, a central figure in the development of 19th-century French landscape painting.

“It’s the most ambitious project we’ve ever taken on,” said Deborah Emont Scott, Taft director and CEO. “We have loans from museums and private collections throughout North America and Europe.”

If you’re a regular visitor to the Dayton Art Institute, you’ll have seen work by Daubigny. The museum owns three works by the artist including “A Lake in the Woods at Dusk,” a painting on view in the Monet gallery. The label points out the ways in which Daubigny’s interest in painting out-of-doors and “brushy application of paint” provided an important example to later Impressionists.

The Cincinnati exhibition, which runs through May 29, will then travel to Edinburgh and Amsterdam later in 2016 and 2017. It is not scheduled to be shown anywhere else in the United States.


A reconstruction of Daubigny’s studio boat, constructed by Dayton’s Tristan Cupp — Zoot Theatre’s well-known co-founder and artistic director — is also on view. The boat reinforces one of the main themes of the exhibition: Daubigny’s innovative approach to painting landscapes from a water-level perspective. Video clips provided by the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts provide several landscape views and a time lapse video demonstrating the painting process so visitors will see first-hand what it’s like to paint on a boat and how an artist paints a landscape on the river.


The 40 Daubigny masterpieces on display showcase the range of Daubigny’s achievements over four decades. You’ll see lovely paintings of the Seine and Oise rivers, stormy atmospheric views of the Normandy coast, and lush fields in the countryside outside Paris. As the exhibit demonstrates, all of these inspired Monet and Pissarro.

Daubigny’s panoramic views of the sunny grain-fields near Auvers were admired by Van Gogh, who adopted Daubigny’s then famous double-wide canvas formats for his own pictures of the plains near Auvers. The final section of the exhibition includes five masterpieces by Van Gogh that reflect Daubigny’s influence.

Highlights of the exhibition include Daubigny’s views of blossoming orchards, a subject he invented that the Impressionists soon took up, and dramatic moonlit landscapes; Pissarro’s “The Banks of the Oise near Pontoise” which echoes Daubigny’s compositions; Monet’s “Autumn on the Seine, Argenteuil,” which was painted from Monet’s studio boat; and the swirling intensity of Van Gogh’s “Daubigny’s Garden.”


Be sure to allow yourself enough time to walk through the rooms in the historic home filled with priceless art. For a tour of the highlights, pick up the “Taft Top 10” flyer.

The museum houses portraits by Rembrant and John Singer Sargent and a beautiful painting “At the Piano” by James Abbott McNeill Whistler, which is considered to be the artist’s first masterpiece. The landscape murals by Ronert S. Duncanson, are the most ambitious surviving pre-Civil War mural paintings for a home and a landscape by Joseph Mallord William Turner also anticipates some aspects of Impressionism.

Survivors, families outraged over 9/11 museum gift shop

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The 9/11 Memorial Museum is set to open this week. It sits on ground zero and promises to present "intimate stories of loss, compassion, reckoning, and recovery." But some people are angry —, asking how a gift shop plays into that whole idea.  "It was opened to tell the story of one of the darkest days in our nation's history ... Family of those lost in Sept. 11 are outraged that the museum has a store ... One family member calling it insensitive and repugnant." (Via Fox News)    The shop sells a number of items, including mugs, key chains, T-shirts, hats, hoodies, bookmarks and more bookmarks. (Via National September 11 Memorial & Museum) A mother who lost her son in the 9/11 attacks spoke with the New York Post, saying, "Here is essentially our tomb of the unknown. To sell baubles I find quite shocking ... I think it’s a money-making venture to support inflated salaries, and they’re willing to do it over my son’s dead body." In this New York Times  article, several New Yorkers were quoted expressing their issues with the museum. It seemed one major complaint is the feeling that the museum is not meant for New Yorkers. One man who lost a brother said, "It was made for people who don’t really know what 9/11 is about ... No one who went through what we went through needs a museum to tell us what we lost. We already know that in our hearts."   "The problem I'm going to have with that is that I'm going to see people going there like tourist, and laughing and joking on their cellphone. Doing selfies in front of these things that really can not be expressed into words." (Via NY1) But not everyone has a problem with the gift shop, especially considering the museum is completely self-funded through admission fees and sales. CNN talked to the museum's president and CEO.    "What's most important is whether the stories it tells ...  helps fulfill our promise to never forget... We have to pay for it, we have to make sure this museum is available forever for everyone."   Still, it's not just the gift shop causing controversy at the museum.  There are still the remains of more than 1,000 unidentified people trapped in the rubble from 2001. Those remains have been moved to a new resting place. (Via Veterans Today)   "A repository 70 feet under the 9/11 Memorial Museum. An area the medical examiners officer says will be off limits to the public." (Via WIVB) The museum's website says the repository will allow medical examiners to continue making identifications. Also, families of the victims will be allowed in a viewing area and will never be charged an entrance fee. (Via National September 11 Memorial & Museum)  Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said this during the unveiling,  "There are roughly 3,000 families that think this is a good idea and there's roughly a dozen that don't. No matter what you do not everyone is going to be on board." (Via The Telegraph) The 9/11 Memorial Museum will open to the public May 21. 

Area fighters boxing to benefit vets

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