The Museum of Ceramics, which is operated by the Museum of Ceramics
Foundation and the Ohio Historical Society, houses an
extensive collection of the wares produced in the city long known as "America's
Crockery City" and "The Pottery Capitol of the Nation." Related displays on East Liverpool's
social, political and economic history show the impact of the industry on the
community and the nation. During the late nineteenth century, ceramic
manufacturing was more important in East Liverpool
than are today's steel production in Pittsburgh
or automobile manufacturing in Detroit.
The Museum is on the National Register of Historic Places. It occupies the
former city post office, which was built in 1909. The renovation of this
structure as a museum is an excellent example of the adaptive use of old
buildings which no longer serve their original purpose.
In 1903, the Federal Government purchased the 10,000-square foot lot at East Fifth Street
and Broadway from William Brunt Sr. for $30,000. Plans were prepared by James
Knox Taylor of the Treasury Department for a 76'-by-76' one-story building
with a basement. On January 20th, 1908 the United States Treasury Department
awarded the construction contract to John C. Unkefer of Minerva Ohio.
The cornerstone was laid on July 8, 1908 and construction on this handsome granite and limestone building began
The building is entirely constructed of fireproof materials, has forty-two
windows in all, and contains many interesting architectural features. These
include the ornately decorated domed ceilings, solid oak trim, and a
beautiful marble and terrazzo floor. The total cost of the building,
excluding furnishings, was $100,000. Construction was completed and the new
post office opened to the public on June 15, 1909. The post office remained
in the building until 1969, when a new post office building was constructed
on the other side of town. In 1970, the state of Ohio purchased the building in
anticipation of developing a museum. The building was subsequently designated
as The Museum of Ceramics in the spring of 1980. The southeast corner of the
main lobby displays a painting of James Bennett's first pottery by Roland Schweinsburg, circa 1938.
The exhibits in the Museum depict the growth and development of East
Liverpool and its ceramic industry from 1840 to 1930, the period during which
the city's potteries produced over fifty percent of America's entire ceramics
output. Through the skillful use of photographs, ceramic and other artifacts
and life-size dioramas, the exhibits vividly portray the products and
day-to-day life of one of Ohio's most fascinating cities.
The Museum of Ceramics is locally managed by the Museum of Ceramics Foundation.
The Museum is one of a number of locally managed historic sites operated by the Ohio Historical Society, which is
headquartered in Columbus, Ohio. The Museum is part of a
statewide network of over five dozen museums, historical, archaeological, and
natural history sites operated by the OHS. You can learn more about the OHS
via their web site at www.OhioHistory.org.