Ohio commemorates Dayton museum’s centennial with historical marker

The Dayton Art Institute continued its centennial celebration Tuesday with the unveiling of an Ohio Historical Marker.

The marker, located at the corner of Riverview Avenue and Belmonte Park North, tells the story of the 100-year-old Dayton institution.


The museum was originally founded in 1919 in a downtown mansion as the Dayton Museum of Arts by philanthropist Julia Shaw Patterson Carnell, Orville Wright and others. Patterson Carnell would later lead the charge to build the current museum that opened in 1930.

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There were 200 objects in the collection when the doors originally opened, said Michael Roediger, director and CEO of the DAI. “Today nearly 26,000 objects span 5,000 years with many significant pieces highly regarded around the world.”

“It shows the significance of the museum that we have here in Dayton that the state is behind us in celebrating this monumental time in the museum’s history,” Roediger said.

The Ohio Historical Markers program began in 1957 and is administered by the Ohio History Connection. Approximately 20 to 30 new markers are accepted into the program each year.


The markers allow local communities to identify, honor and commemorate the important people, places and events that have contributed to their past and share those stories in a visible and lasting way, said Todd Kleismit, director of community and government relations for the Ohio History Connection.

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“There are more than 1,700 historical markers sprinkled throughout the state in all 88 counties,” Kleismit said. “It’s kind of like having a history text in every community.”

The marker ceremony, one of 100 “happenings” taking place to mark the DAI centennial, was unveiled by Roediger and Brock Anderson III, chair of the DAI board of trustees, in front of museum members and employees.

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Throughout the year, the DAI has been celebrating with special exhibitions. The latest, “Our Century: Dayton Area Collects,” an exhibit made up of works from private art collection in the Dayton area, opened last week and ongoing major renovations on the hillside and balcony will reactivate the front stairs and fountain.

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