Discover everyday life in Allen County in the 1800s and 1900s: transportation, industry, agriculture, and the arts!
Explore Allen County and Ohio's natural history through exhibits featuring rocks, minerals, and fossils.
The Genius of James E. Grosjean
James E. Grosjean (1861-1938) was a nature and science enthusiast. He created mechanical exhibits featuring his taxidermy and oddities that he collected, including Noah's Ark, Albino Collection, Ferris Wheel Bird Collection, and Extinct Animal & Bird Collection. Known beyond Allen County, his exhibits were displayed in department stores, such as Marshall Fields in Chicago and Macy's in New York City. All of these cabinet displays can be seen in The Genius of James E. Grosjean exhibit except for Cock Robin.
Grosjean came to Lima in 1892. He worked as an undertaker for ten years and then went into the shoe business in 1902. He displayed the Ferris Wheel Bird Collection at the Grosjean Funeral Home in 1896 and Noah's Ark at his shoe store on the Public Square in Lima until 1920. An entrepreneur, Grosjean opened the Humane Horseshoe Business in 1906 and the Lima Cord Sole and Heel Company (later known as the Lima Gro-Cord Rubber Company) by 1920.
Learn about J. E. Grosjean and watch the full show of Noah's Ark in the video below.
The James E. Grosjean exhibit is currently closed due to COVID-19. There will be no showings of Noah's Ark at this time.
In addition to the main museum, the Allen County Museum campus is home to two historical houses.
The Faze Log House
The Log House was built in 1848 for newlyweds Peter and Aurelia Faze. All three of their children were born and raised in this house. Aurelia came to Allen County at seven years old with her family, the McCulloughs, in the covered wagon that is on display in the Pioneer Gallery. The Log House was moved to the museum grounds in 1958-1960.
The Log House is free to enter.
Due to COVID-19, the museum asks that you view the Log House's interior from the doorway.
The MacDonell House
Second floor closed for repairs
The 6,500 square-foot Victorian mansion contains five bedrooms, three full baths and one half bath. The house features six different parquet floors, coffered ceilings in three rooms, six fire places, fifty-three doors and ninety-five windows. German artisans hand-carved the quartered-sawed oak, cherry and mahogany wood throughout the home. An Art Deco twenty-pane stained glass window depicts a landscape scene along the east stairway. The exterior is clad in roman brick on the first floor and red slate on the second and third floors.
Named after the last family who lived in the home and its donor, the MacDonell house was home to five families. Confectioner Frank Banta built the house in 1893. The home's second owners John and Emma VanDyke nearly doubled the size of the original house. John VanDyke was sent to Lima to build and manage the Solar Refinery by John D. Rockefeller. After standing empty between 1903 and 1915, William Hoover purchased the home. Hoover and his three brothers owned a furniture store. Elizabeth M. MacDonell, who helped the Allen County Historical Society and Archaeological Society fund raise for the current museum building, the purchased the home in 1932. The house was then passed down to her son James and wife Ellen MacDonell, who were also active Allen County citizens dedicated to preserving the county’s history. They gifted their home to the Allen County Historical Society in 1960. The MacDonell House is the only remaining Victorian home on Lima’s Golden Block.
The MacDonell House is available by tour only. Admission to the MacDonell House is $3 per person and supports the continued preservation and maintenance of the House. Due to the second floor being closed, the museum is waiving admission and requesting donations.
Due to COVID-19, tour sizes are restricted. Please inquire at the front desk.