The Suburbanite
  • New exhibit to open at Fort Recovery Museum July 11

  • The grand re-opening of the Fort Recovery Museum will be Saturday, July 11. The

    Ohio Historical Society and the Fort Recovery Historical Society will host a program at 2:30 p.m. to kick off the new exhibit.

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  • The grand re-opening of the Fort Recovery Museum will be Saturday, July 11. The
    Ohio Historical Society and the Fort Recovery Historical Society will host a program at 2:30 p.m. to kick off the new exhibit.
    Visitors can tour Fort Recovery from noon to 5 p.m. Admission to the fort and museum will be free for the day in celebration of the re-opening.
    “Fort Recovery played a pivotal role in the history of the Northwest Territory,” said George Kane, Ohio Historical Society director of Historic Sites and Facilities. “Thanks to the efforts of the Fort Recovery Historical Society and capital funding from the state legislature, the Ohio Historical Society was able to update the museum’s exhibit to tell a more balanced story of the two major battles that happened here between the Indian forces and American army when Ohio was the frontier of our young nation.”
    Fort Recovery Redefined
    According to Kane, the old exhibit, which was installed in the 1970s, needed updating and reorganizing. In addition, the treatment of the battles that took place between the Indian forces and the Americans overemphasized the American military perspective.
    Revamping Fort Recovery’s museum began two years ago when the Ohio Historical Society began working with the Fort Recovery Historical Society to plan the new exhibit. The results reflect extensive historical and exhibit research, including incorporating feedback from focus groups from the Fort Recovery and Native American communities.
    “It has been a pleasant and exciting experience to work together in such a cooperative way to develop what we all think will be one terrific new approach to “telling” the important story that took place on the banks of the Wabash here in Fort Recovery,” said Nancy Knapke, Fort Recovery site manager. “We can’t wait to see the reaction of visitors this summer. They’re going to love it!”
    The exhibit, laid out in four sections, provides visitors with a in-depth and balanced retelling of the battles on the Wabash River. An introduction sets the stage giving visitors an overview of the mounting tensions between the Indian and American cultures. Both the 1791 and 1794 battles are examined in detail, along with biographies of the leaders on each side of the conflicts. Artifacts found from both conflicts give visitors a glimpse into the struggles that took place.
    History Lesson: Deciding the Destiny of the Northwest Territory
    In late 1791, the Indians defeated Gen. Arthur St. Clair's forces at this site along the Wabash River. More than half of St. Clair's men were killed or wounded in the surprise Indian attack. It was a great Indian victory over the American military and still ranks among the worst defeats for the army. The overwhelming defeat instigated the first congressional investigation.
    Page 2 of 2 - In late 1793, Gen. Anthony Wayne sent a force to build a four-blockhouse post named Fort Recovery at the 1791 battle site. On June 30 of the following year, a small garrison force defeated what is believed to have been the largest gathering of Indian warriors east of the Mississippi River. The successful defense of the fort set the stage for Wayne's final triumph at Fallen Timbers in August of 1794 and the Treaty of Greeneville the following year. This opened much of Ohio for American settlement, and subsequently, of the entire Northwest Territory.
    Fort Recovery Today
    Today, the historic site offers visitors a glimpse of the 1790s, featuring the museum, two reconstructed blockhouses with connecting stockade, and a monument. Fort Recovery is managed by the Fort Recovery Historical Society for the Ohio Historical Society. For more information, visit www.ohiohistory.org/fortrecovery or call 800-283-8920.
    The historic site is located near the intersection of State Route 119 and State Route 49, in the village of Fort Recovery, in Mercer County. It is open noon to 5 p.m., daily through Aug. 31 from noon and weekends through Sept. 26. Admission is $3 for adults, $1 for children (6-12) and free to Ohio Historical Society members.

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