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  • Kelton House Museum and GardenKelton House Museum and Garden Columbus, Ohio
    The Kelton House Museum and Garden contains a Greek Revival and Italianate style mansion that sits in the Discovery District of downtown Columbus, Ohio and a well known stop on the Underground Railroad. It was transformed into a museum by the Junior League of Columbus to create some kind of understanding of the life, decorative arts, customs and culture of the 19th century, as well as help visitors learn more about the underground railroad. Fernando Cortez Kelton had come from Vermont, that gained some notoriety in the city as a drygoods wholesaler. Fernando and his wife, Sophia Langdon Stone Kelton, had the house constructed on Town Street during the year of 1852. The couple were staunch abolitionists that would use their house for a stopover for the Underground Railroad. Fernando became such a respected participant in the railroad and other abolitionist ideals that he was asked to be one of the pall bearers in the funeral procession of the murdered Abraham Lincoln, when his remains passed through the city on its journey to Illinois and burial. Their oldest son, Oscar, entered the 95th Ohio Volunteer Infantry, Company A in 1862, wanting to fight for the liberties and freedom of the slaves. He would rise to the rank of First Lieutenant before being killed in the Battle of Brice's Crossroads in 1864. That year, the Keltons welcomed Martha Hartway, a young runaway from Virginia, who would become part of the family and raised by the Keltons until she married Thomas Lawrence in 1874, a carpenter that worked on the mansion and his work is still seen in the house today. After Fernando and Sophia passed on, the mansion became the property of Frank Kelton, their son, who would marry Isabella Morrow Coit, a young suffragette, who had become one of only four women that were the first women to graduate from Ohio State University. Isabella's mother was a well known civil rights leader named Elizabeth Greer Coit. Frank eventually traded houses with his brother, Edwin, so that both families would fit better in the different houses. It was Edwin's daughter, Grace Bird Kelton, who would be the last Kelton to live and own the house, until she passed on in 1975. Grace became one of the first persons in the nation to make a living as an interior decorator, since she had studied at the Parsons School of Design and the Pratt Institute. She became so widely known that Jacqueline Kennedy would ask her to redecorate two rooms in the White House during the 1960s. When Grace passed on, the mansion was acquired by the Junior League of Columbus, which then returned it to its former glory and beauty during the period from 1852 to 1900 with almost 90 % of the furniture and furnishings in the house belonging to the family. The wonderful mansion has now become a museum and events destination that is very popular in the city.  The house is a spectacular example of Victorian style and grace during the latter half of the 19th century, with a wealth of outstanding memorabilia that includes elegant Victorian silverware, a unique woven-hair brooch worn by the family's women, a scrapbook kept by Anna Kelton from 1860 to 1870 that is so extraordinary, yet ordinary for the period. Inside are what a young girl during that incredible decade would consider important enough for her to save for herself, perhaps children and even grandchildren. Pressed flowers from her summer vacations, a telegram from the War Department that told of her brother, Oscar's death at the Battle of Brice's Crossroads in Guntown, Mississippi, society page articles, and news clippings and letters that told of the Civil War engagements. The enormous drape cornices that hung in the front parlor resembled a bed more than window dressing, and Sophia did have Thomas Lawrence take down the walnut bedstead that was there and put the drapes there in the place. Evidently, it was below these very windows that Thomas married Martha. When Grace passed on, her will endowed the mansion and property to the Columbus Foundation with the stipulation that the family mansion be preserved and used for educational programs. The Kelton mansion is the only house museum in the city of Columbus, and the only place that gives an authentic idea of what life was like in those days for upper middle class families. 

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  • Center of Science and Industry (COSI)Center of Science and Industry Columbus, Ohio
    COSI was called the Center of Science and Industry, but now is just COSI, and it is a science museum located in Columbus, Ohio containing over 300 interactive exhibits that are scattered throughout the center and are themed. These areas include; Ocean, Progress, Little Kidspace, the outdoor Big Science Park, Space, Life, the newest one is WOSU@COSI that is the first public broadcasting and science center partner and gadgets. It showcases outstanding display areas that give a wonderful experience to all age groups that blends scientific facts and learning by playing. The center also has live shows like the Electrostatic Generator Show, and an exciting seven story Extreme Screen theater, the Atomic cafe and the Science2GO! retail store. They also host traveling displays that come from other museums during the year. Over 5 million students and educators have come here to enjoy and experience the fantastic educational programs that have been tailored to support state and national science curriculum and standards. Since the center is non-profit, it is supported statewide partnerships, sponsors, a huge volunteer program, sponsors, numerous donors and a 19,000 member households. Over 800,000 people enjoy the facilities each year by outreach programs and visits. The center opened in March of 1964, as an endeavor by the Franklin County Historical Society and became the founding member of the Science Museum Exhibit Collaborative and is a member of the Association of Science-Technology Centers. It was located in the Memorial Hall in its beginning, one of the city's landmarks that also was an important performing arts hall since it had been dedicated in 1906. The COSI would close their doors at that locale and reopen in 1999 at its new location in the Scioto riverfront in downtown Columbus. That structure was designed by the world renown architect Arata Isozaki who used the former Central High School as well as a newly constructed building in the site of the school's old football stadium.

January 11, 2011