Farewell Party for Museum Director Sarah Webster Vodrey (Oct. 12, 2016): The long-time director of the Museum of Ceramics, Sarah Webster Vodrey, is resigning effective October 14th. About 60 people attended her farewell party this week. She has been with the museum since 2003, and has been the director or site manager of the museum since 2004. The museum has experienced great changes over her years as director. She has hosted hundreds of events, lectures, activities, parties, tours, and has seen the transformation of the museum into a truly modern facility with elevator access to both levels, the installation of a modern handicap accessible bathroom, and finally getting funding to put in air-conditioning to make the museum usuable during the hottest days of summer. She has modernized many of the displays, sponsored a new documentary movie for the museum theater, added video stations around many exhibits, and has created many temporary exhibits and shows, many highlighting pieces from local collectors. She also endured the catastrophic loss of funding in 2008 from the Ohio Historical Society, and she spearheaded the creation of the Museum of Ceramics Foundation soon afterwards to take over management. Ms. Vodrey has been a tireless promoter of the museum these past 13 years, and we will miss her tremendously as she pursues other opportunies.
9th Annual Kids Fall Funfest (Oct. 8, 2016): Lots of great activities for kids from Kindergarten to 8th grade. The favorites this year were the potter's wheel (by Director Sarah Vodrey), facepainting (by Brad Cowsert), the collection of wooden toys (by Jeff Hendrickson), and crafts (by Barrie Archer). This is one of our favorite events of the year, sponsored by a generous patron of the museum.
2016 Kids Clay Camp - July 2016 - this has become an annual tradition during the summer, with classes for kids and adults. Students design and construct pottery; learn about local pottery history and family connections, paint and glaze the pieces, send them to Homer Laughlin China Company to be fired in the company kilns and turned into finished pottery. The classes are led by our local artist in residence Barrie Archer.
ELHSAA 2016 All Class Reunion - June 29 - July 2, 2016. The Museum of Ceramics participated in the huge reunion for all classes of East Liverpool High School by opening for much longer hours, giving free admission, creating 3 new exhibits, selling commemorative East Liverpool Neighborhoods t-shirts, reunion mugs, a special Lotus Ware raffle, and much more. We estimate that over 1,100 people visited the museum over the weekend.
150th Anniversary of the End of Civil War Symposium: "From Ware to War and Back Again (Dec. 6, 2015)-- Fifty people attended our final tribute to the sesquicentennial of the Civil War, with Civil War history experts and museum supporters Timothy Brookes and William F. B. Vodrey each providing multi-media presentations. Vodrey is a former area resident who lectured on “The Gettysburg Address: Lincoln Redefines America”. He is known throughout northern Ohio for the many Civil War presentations he offers. Brookes, head of the East Liverpool Historical Society, regularly speaks on the Civil War in this region too. He serves on the museum’s board. He presented the slideshow “An Incomplete History: Columbiana County Civil War Soldiers”. There was time for questions at the end of each lecture, and many new faces attended, some travelling quite a distance, to participate in one of our most successful lecture series ever.
THE MUSEUM OF CERAMICS CELEBRATES 35 YEARS (October 3, 2015)--The Museum of Ceramics originally opened in 1980 after the old post office was converted into a suitable location for a museum. For our 35th Anniversary, we had tables set up with items from our archives from the 1970s and 1980s showing the early years of the museum. Three guest lecturers presented stories about the museum and about local history and local potteries. The speakers were: local attorney Jackman S. Vodrey (son of William H. Vodrey, III, the driving force behind the creation of the Museum of Ceramics), Tim Brookes (President of the East Liverpool Historical Society), and Dave Conley (former director of sales and marketing at Homer Laughlin China Co.). There were also exhibits showing off many of the recent projects and events of the museum, such as the "Access? All Right!" renovation project. We introduced a new scavenger hunt for all ages that was very well received. Chris Bell and Helen Stenger provided the refreshments. 70 people attended the event, which was free and open to the public.
8th Annual Kids Fall Funfest (Sept. 26, 2015): More games and activities than ever at our annual children's event. We had all the usual activities like facepainting, getting messy at the potter's wheel, scavenger hunts, pottery crafts, but this year we added many new video displays and interactive digital games relating to pottery, including a "match-the-pots" game and a "make your own pottery" game. This is always one of the best events of the year for us.
"Great Wheels in 19th Century British and American Pottery Production" (August 13, 2015): Matthew Groves, originally from Liverpool, England, and now an Assistant Professor of Fine Arts at Loyola University Chicago, gave a lecture and slideshow about large rope-driven pottery wheels like our very own Salt & Mear "Great Wheel." Professor Groves attended university in Stoke-on-Trent and has made "Great Wheel" pottery wheels a speciality area of study. He has only discovered a few such pottery wheels, and he informed us that ours is the largest he has seen. These wheels were the industry standard for about 100 years (1750-1850 approx). He has recently finished building a working replica of a Great Wheel based on the design of the wheel currently on exhibition at the Gladstone Pottery Museum in Longton, Stoke-on-Trent. He also spoke about 19th century apprenticeship practices in the Staffordshire Pottery Industry, including the roles of women and children in the pottery business.
Lecture (September 15, 2015) by Mary Frances Burns, recently retired director of the Morley Library in Painesville, on the subject of "A Library of Congress Ordered Book Talk: The Joys of Reading by Subject," presented to the MUSE Book Club and to the general public at the museum theater.
GRAND REOPENING CEREMONY (August 7, 2015). This date marks the official reopening of the Museum of Ceramics after a 2-year long renovation project. The first phase of the project was the ACCESS? ALL RIGHT! project sponsored by the Museum of Ceramics Foundation. During that phase we built a new addition onto the west side of the museum that houses an elevator, an accessible bathroom, a pottery room, storage areas, new entrances and exits, and more. Now there is a handicap parking space just outside the new street-level accessible entrance, and the elevator is right next to it to take visitors to both floors of the museum. The second phase of the renovation was sponsored by the Ohio History Connection. The purpose was primarily to install air-conditioning throughout the entire building for the first time in 106 years! The museum would often need to close during parts of the summer due to excessive heat and humidity, but no more. Visitors can enjoy the museum year round in comfort. During this second phase we also complelely revamped our front entrance, re-painted most of the first floor, upgraded our fire, smoke and security alarm system, added new education videos and games throughout the museum, and improved our displays. If you haven't been the museum in a while, you should come now and see the new and improved Museum of Ceramics. Thanks to all of our donors for the great support you have given us during these renovation projects.
The First Annual "Lady Slippers" Arts Festival to support the Museum of Ceramics (April 11, 2015). A group of women who had taken pottery classes at the Museum of Ceramics, under the tutelage of retired Beaver Local art teacher Barrie Archer, formed an organization called "The Lady Slippers" to help raise money to support the museum. Their first event was an arts festival and auction held at the East Liverpool Country Club. Over 20 artists from as far away as Dayton participated as vendors and provided items for the auction.
7th Annual Kids Fall Funfest (Oct. 25, 2014): Over 50 children attended this year, along with more than 40 adults!! The most fun was had at the potter's wheel, where kids could get messy trying to mold clay just like an actual potter. One little girl got a bottle kiln painted on her face--how classic. There were games and movies and crafts and treats for everyone. Everyone had a wonderful time.
Ohio Valley China Collectors' Convention (June 19-22, 2014): collectors of Ohio pottery from all over the country met once again in East Liverpool to celebrate the great pottery tradition of the Ohio valley. Museum director Sarah Vodrey and her husband Jeff Hendrickson presented lectures about local toilet ware and shaving mugs. They had their usual welcome dinner at the Thompson House, breakfast at Adrian's Restaurant, silent auction at the Salvation Army hall, tours of the Museum of Ceramics and the River Museum in Wellsville, and a buffet dinner at Ponderosa. This may have been the last OVCCC, so if you have any desire to help keep it going, call Sarah at the museum and help make a plan for next year.
Tri-state Pottery Festival at the Museum of Ceramics (June 12-14, 2014)
National Shaving Mug Collectors Association Convention (April 25-26, 2014): dozens of collectors of rare fraternal and occupational shaving mugs gathered in East Liverpool to learn about the museum's unique collection of mugs and hear Sarah Vodrey and Jeff Hendrickson lecture about the many East Liverpool potteries that made shaving mugs in late 19th and early 20th centuries.
6th Annual Kids Fall Funfest (Oct. 26, 2013): over 80 kids and adults attended this year, with crafts, games, claymation movies, scavenger hunts, and more.
"Cracking the Color Code" Art classes by Barrie Archer (October 2013)
June 20-22, 2013 - Ohio Valley China Collectors Convention
September 2012 - September 2013: "From Ware to War: Columbiana County & the Civil War"--a special exhibit dealing with area potters and residents who fought in the Civil War, in honor of the ongoing sesquicentennial of the war, which lasted from 1861-1865.
5th Annual Kids' Fall Funfest (October 13, 2012) -- crafts, scavenger hunts, toys, balloon animals, facepainting, special movies, great fun for all ages!
December 2010 - December 2011: "FABULOUS FIESTA!" exhibit. Seventy-five years ago, Homer Laughlin China Co. introduced what was to become the most popular dinnerware in America: Fiesta®. It was designed in 1935 by Frederick Hurten Rhead, art director at Homer Laughlin, and production began in 1936. Fiesta® stands as the epitome of Art Deco style. Fiesta® was discontinued in 1973, but was reintroduced in 1986 and has been in continuous production since then. Thanks to the efforts of many collectors, the Museum of Ceramics was able to display a wide variety of rare and collectible pieces of Fiesta ware spanning the entire history of its production, along with vintage posters, signs, and other related items. In 1996, Homer Laughlin created a limited edition Raspberry Presentation Bowl to commemorate the 500 millionth piece of Fiesta® Dinnerware, and one of these bowls was also part of the exhibit.
Fall 2011 Lecture Series
December 3rd: Over 60 people attended our "150th Anniversary of the Civil War Seminar" (lectures by noted Civil War experts William F.B. Vodrey and Timothy R. Brookes. Vodrey discussed the stories of Ohio's governors during the Civil War. Brookes shared the personal letters and newspaper reports of local civil war soldiers. Vodrey is a Cleveland City Magistrate, and Brookes is an attorney and president of the East Liverpool Historical Society)
November 3rd: "Trenton and East Liverpool: Connections and Contrasts" (lecture by archaeologist/consultant Dr. Richard W. Hunter, Ph.D., RPA, discussing the parallel histories of these two great pottery cities--Dr. Hunter is president of Hunter Research)
October 22nd: "Ghosts of Patterson Field: the stories of Cy Young, Bob Boston, Woody Hayes, Lou Holtz, Larry Bruno, General Bob McCoy, Admiral Dan Cooper, and famous sports personalities and their connections to East Liverpool" (lecture and multi-media show by Frank C. Dawson, local businessman, author, and sports historian)
September 3rd: "Tiny Treasures: The Art of Collecting Occupational Shaving Mugs from the 19th and 20th Centuries" (seminar by Jeff Hendrickson, Staff Attorney at the Seventh District Court of Appeals, and Vice President of the Museum of Ceramics Foundation)
August 27th: "Fabulous Fiesta: The History of Homer Laughlin China Company's famous Fiesta Ware" (lecture by Dave Conley, Director of Retail Sales and Marketing at Homer Laughlin China)
4th Annual Kids' Fall Funfest (October 8, 2011)
Over 100 people attended the Funfest this year! It was by far the biggest turnout yet!
There were 2 craft projects, claymation movies, storytime, and scavenger hunts
Kids got to have their faces painted and have a personal balloon animal made for them
Jeff Hendrickson brought out his unusual wooden toy collection again
You could get messy on the electric potter's wheel, or try operating the giant potter's wheel from the 1850s
July 22, 2011 - Homer Laughlin China Collectors all day event
June 2011 - Ohio Valley China Collectors Convention
Spring 2011 Lecture Series
June 21st: "It's a Zoo Around Here: Animals in the museum's collection" (lecture by Museum Director Sarah Vodrey).
June 24th: "The Story of Eva Zeisel" (lecture by Dr. Margaret Carney, curator of the Blair Museum of Lithophanes in Toledo, Ohio).
June 24th: "Hall China Utility Ware" (lecture by Barbara Johnston and Dave Preston, Ohio Valley China Collectors Assoc.).
COLLECTORS CHOICE club meetings in 2011
December 3, 2011: American History
November 3, 2011: East Liverpool versus Trenton
June 21, 2011: Animals on your shelves
The Museum is for Kids 2011
June 18th: Make It and Take It pottery class
June - August: Kids Clay Camps--four different sessions for kids from first through twelfth grade.
New "It's a Zoo Around Here" scavenger hunt
December 4, 2010: "THRILLED TO BE THIRTY: Celebrating the 30th Anniversary of the Grand Opening of the Musuem of Ceramics"
Over 90 people gathered to pay tribute to the 30th anniversary of the Museum of Ceramics, which officially opened on May 31, 1980
Commendations were presented by State Rep. Linda Bolon, State Sen. Jason Wilson, and County Commissioner Penny Traina
Guest speakers included Rev. Jeff Baker, Jackman S. Vodrey, Mayor Jim Swoger, Tim Brookes, George Kane from the Ohio Historical Society, and the original director of the museum, William C. Gates, Jr.
Special music was provided by Dr. Allison Miller on harp
Pete Wicks, vice president of Homer Laughlin China Co., introduced the museum's new Fiesta® Dinnerware exhibit, and the ribbon cutting was done by Katie McIlvain
New COLLECTORS CHOICE group started in May 2010
Nov. 20, 2010: sharing pottery with a holiday theme
Oct. 9, 2010: "Fall colors and fallen pottery"
May 29, 2010: Introduction to Collector's Choice: bring a piece of pottery and a story to go with it
Fall 2010 Historic Lecture Series
October 23rd: "From Earth to Earthenware: The role of geology in our ceramics history" (lecture by Prof. Cheryl Mattevi). Prof. Mattevi teaches geology at Kent State University. She explained how continental drift, glaciers, erosion, and many other geologic factors affected eastern Ohio and provided the conditions for the success of the pottery industry starting in the 1800s.
October 30th: "Of Cannons and Kepis: Civil War Artifacts in the Museum of Ceramics" (lecture by East Liverpool Attorney Tim Brookes). This lecture highlighted documents, photographs, and various objects from the museum's collection that date from the Civil War era, as well as revealing that some supposed Civil War items are actually from a later time period.
November 13th: "Eldreth Pottery: A Bridge Between Traditional and Modern Pottery Production" (lecture by Attorney Jeff Hendrickson). A close look at Eldreth Pottery in Oxford, PA, which produces traditional Pennsylvania Dutch ware using both modern and traditional ceramic techniques.
October 29, 2010 - FRIGHT NIGHT 2 AT THE MUSEUM
3rd Annual Kid's Fun Fiesta (October 2, 2010)
Over 80 people attended the fiesta this year!
We added some new activities including two different clay crafts by Barrie Archer and Sarah Vodrey, and storytelling by Burl Warrick
Children and adults alike enjoyed our scavenger hunts, claymation movies, face-painting by Brad Cowsert, and Jeff Hendrickson displayed his wonderful wooden toy collection again.
July & August 2010: First Ever "Kid's Clay Camp"
3-Day camp held at the museum with instruction on pottery production, history, design and decoration, led by Barrie Archer and Sarah Vodrey
Kid's created orginal pottery from knowledge gained from the museum's collection, with an art show on the final day of camp
Over 30 children participated from grades 4th through 8th
Cost of the free camp sponsored by the Jason Miller Fund
July 2010 All-Class High School Reunion Celebrations
Over 1,500 people from 39 states and 7 countries visited the museum in 3 days!
We broke records for daily attendance three days in a row!
Pottery throwing and turning demonstration by Barrie Archer
We introduced our new "Clay Chronicles" program
We raised $1,000 toward our elevator project
June 2010 Ohio Valley China Collectors' Convention Lectures
"Great Moments in Ceramic History," by Dr. Margaret Carney. Dr. Carney holds a Ph.D. in Asian art history, an M.Phil. and Master's in Asian Art History and a B.A. in anthropology/archaeology. She currently serves as curator of the Blair Museum of Lithophanes in Toledo.
"Majolica Ware", by Bill Gray, co-author of Harker Pottery: From Rockingham And Yellowware to Modern".
"Rockingham", by Donna Gray, co-author of Harker Pottery: From Rockingham And Yellowware to Modern".
Spring 2010 Historic Lecture Series
June 12th: "Tantalizing Toilet Ware" (lecture by Sarah W. Vodrey, museum director). Ms. Vodrey discussed the extensive collection of toilet ware sets in the museum, explaining the rise and fall of this type of pottery, the utilitarian and artistic aspects of the pieces, and related fascinating stories, such as the infamous New Orleans chamber pot from the Civil War featuring the face of General Benjamin Butler at the bottom.
April 10th: "The Art of Roland Schweinsburg" (lecture by Meredith Keenan). Ms. Keenan is a former student intern at the Museum of Ceramics, and is now a Geneva College senior majoring in history. She presented a program on the work of Youngstown artist Roland Schweinsburg, and the larger context of his work as part of President Roosevelt's 1930s relief programs. The museum contains almost two dozen works by Mr. Schweinsburg, including a major mural funded by the Treasury Relief Art Project in 1936. 18 other paintings by Mr. Schweinsburgh depict various stages of the pottery-making process.
December 13, 2009 - THE 100TH ANNIVERSARY of the MUSEUM BUILDING- An afternoon of music, lectures, food and fun celebrating the construction of the old Post Office in 1909, which was converted into the Museum of Ceramics in 1980. Lecture by Cleveland architect David H. Ellison, AIA. Mr. Ellison discussed the Beaux Arts style and construction of the building in the context of local and national events of 1909. Mr. Ellison is regional President of the Institute of Classical Architecture & Classical America. Special Celtic music was presented by harpist Allison Miller. Ms. Miller trained at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama in Glascow. The Museum was also presented with a special Commendation from the Ohio Senate in honor of the event--click
here to view it.
October 31, 2009 - FRIGHT NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM - a showing of the horror movie "The Manster" and our first nighttime tour
Fall 2009 Historic Lecture Series
Seagrove: The town of 100 Potters (Jeffrey E. Hendrickson, Museum of Ceramics Foundation)
Vacant to Vibrant: Old Buildings, New Museums (Mr. Beverly Moseley, Chief Exhibits Designer, OHS)
2nd ANNUAL FALL FUN FIESTA - October 10, 2009 - over 75 children and adults particated in a celebration of clay. We unveiled our new potters wheel, and provided crafts, games, clay animation movies, and food for kids of all ages. Jeff Hendrickson also brought out his collection of unusual automata and wooden toys.
Spring 2009 Historic Lecture Series
Decades of Decals: A History of The Commercial Decal Company (Sarah Webster Vodrey, Director, Museum of Ceramics)
Hidden Beauties: New Treasures from Museum of Ceramics Collections (Sarah Webster Vodrey, Director, Museum of Ceramics)
FALL FUN FIESTA - October 2008 - Games, crafts and treats for kids of all ages, along with a display of fascinating wooden toys and automata by Jeff Hendrickson.
Fall 2008 Historic Lecture Series
George Morley's Majolica (Bill & Donna Gray)
The Lion and the Unicorn--English Symbols in East Liverpool Backstamps (Sarah Webster Vodrey, Director, Museum of Ceramics)
June 2008 Ohio Valley China Collectors Convention Lectures
The Museum of Ceramics: Then and Now (Sarah Webster Vodrey, Director, Museum of Ceramics)
From Collector to Author (Jo Cunningham)
May 31, 2008: Party celebrating 28th Anniversary of the Museum's Opening
Fall 2007 Historic Lecture Series
Rockingham Treasures of the Museum (Dr. David Schwartz)
Painted Treasures of the Museum (Sarah Webster Vodrey)
Art Deco Treasures of the Museum (Bill Gray)
Handpainted Treasures of the Museum (Sarah Webster Vodrey)
June 2007 Ohio Valley China Collectors Convention Lectures
Collecting Hall China (Dave Preston)
Spring 2007 Historic Lecture Series
The 150th Anniversary of the Vodrey Potteries (Sarah Webster Vodrey)
The History of W.C. Bunting Company (Patrick O'Hara)
The Story of William Bloor (William C. Hogue, III)
East Liverpool Potteries and the Expositions (Sarah Webster Vodrey)
Fall 2006 Historic Lecture Series
Keramos Connections: Who Was Related to Whom in 19th Century East Liverpool (Joan Witt)
The World of Tea: 18th Century China to a 21st Century Herbal Tea Farm (Dante Tropea)
Of Shaving Mugs and Swans: Tiny Treasures of the Museum of Ceramics (Sarah Webster Vodrey)
How to Speak Better Hoopie: A Venture into Local Dialect (Fred Miller)
June 2006 Ohio Valley China Collectors Convention Lecture
The Viktor Schreckengost Dinnerware Legacy (Jo Cunningham)
Spring 2006 Historic Lecture Series
Harker Pottery: From Rockingham and Yellow ware to Modern (William and Donna Gray)
The History of China (Catherine S. Vodrey)
East Liverpool Memories (Dr. Herschel Rubin)
Whiteware Treasures of the Museum (Sarah Webster Vodrey)
Fall 2005 Historic Lecture Series
Sturgis House: From Gangster to Grandeur (Frank C. Dawson)
Loghurst: 200 years in the Valley (Laura Zeh)
Pottery Capital of the Nation? East Liverpool versus Trenton (Sarah Webster Vodrey)
The Architecture of East Liverpool (Scott Shepherd)
Spring 2005 Historic Lecture Series
Reflections of our Black History and Heritage (Theodore Spencer)
My Son William Holmes McGuffey: His Life, His Times (Cathi Keenan)
Cartwright Connections: The 125th Anniversary of Cartwright Brothers Pottery (Joan Witt)
The History of The Homer Laughlin China Company (David Conley)
Political Grave Robbery: The Confederacy and George Washington (William F. B. Vodrey)
Fall 2004 Historic Lecture Series
The Regional Impact of the War of 1812 (Jeffrey E. Hendrickson)
Will Thompson: His Life and Music (Sarah Webster Vodrey, speaker/singer; William Richards, accompanist)
The Liverpool Tigers: Company A of 115th Ohio Volunteer Infantry (Timothy R. Brookes)
Rails of Dreams: Railroads of Western Pennsylvania and Northeastern Ohio (Wayne Cole)
Copyright 2002-2016. All Rights Reserved.
Photographs copyright Catherine S. Vodrey
The Museum of Ceramics, 400 East Fifth Street, East Liverpool, Ohio 43920 Telephone: 330-386-6001 or 800-600-7180 ~ Email
The Museum of Ceramics, 400 East Fifth Street, East Liverpool, Ohio 43920 Telephone: 330-386-6001 or 800-600-7180 ~ Email
The Museum of Ceramics Foundation is pleased to announce that as of May 2015 we can welcome visitors to our new "ACCESS? ALL RIGHT!" addition, which contains an elevator to the street level and to all floors, and an accessible restroom, after thirty-three years of only partial access. We also have air conditioning in the entire building for the first time.