The Franklin County Historical Society is home to nearly 60,000 artifacts–12,250 objects, 27,963 photographs, 14,650 archival documents, and 1,922 library resources.

What’s on Display?

Permanent Exhibits

Many of our artifacts are on display in our permanent exhibits at the Old Depot Museum and Dietrich Cabin and can be seen whenever we’re open.

Temporary Exhibits

We also develop special temporary exhibits that are changed out three times a year at the Old Depot Museum. These exhibits allow us to focus on special stories about Franklin County’s history.


Why aren’t all of the historical society’s artifacts on display at the same time?

Executive Director Deborah Barker and Archivist Susan Geiss examine a recently donated Ottawa-made washing machine. Plans are in the works to display this artifact in the Old Depot Museums Industry Room.

One of the historical society’s most important jobs to to protect and preserve artifacts so that they’ll be available for years to come. FCHS staff must always consider whether an artifact can be safely exhibited to protect the artifact and visitors from harm.

Some of our artifacts–especially textiles and paper (like wedding dresses, quilts, and historic documents)–are too fragile to be displayed where light and fluctuating humidity might damage them. Other artifacts need conservation before they’re ready to display. However, all of these items are carefully stored at the Franklin County Records & Research Center and can be viewed by appointment.

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