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Museum News

COVID-19 Update, Fall 2021: Museums Open

McGuffey House and Museum is open for tours during our regular hours, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, 1-5pm.

Update, August 5, 2021
In accordance with Miami University policy, beginning Monday, August 9th, face coverings must be worn indoors at all times, regardless of vaccination status.

Call 513-529-8381 or email gordonsc@miamioh.edu for any assistance. We look forward to your visit.

McGuffey House and Museum Salutes Bob Wicks and Welcomes John “Jack” Green.

After serving as director of the Miami University Art Museum for 20 years and Professor of Art History and Museum Studies at Miami for 38 years, Bob Wicks has well earned his retirement. During Bob’s remarkable tenure as director, Miami’s Art Museum significantly expanded the depth of its collections, broadened its outreach and made a commitment to cultural collaboration and social justice.Perhaps most notable among Bob’s many achievements was establishing an endowment of the director’s position through the generosity of Jeffrey Horrell ’75 and Rodney Rose.

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On August 1, Dr. John (Jack) D. M. Green assumed the position as the Jeffrey Horrell ’75 and Rodney Rose Director and Chief Curator. Jack comes to Miami from Amman, Jordan, where he worked at the American Center of Research. Previously, Jack worked at the British Museum in London, the Oriental Institute Museum at the University of Chicago, and the Corning Museum of Glass, Corning, NY. His research interests include archaeology, art history, photography, and cultural heritage of the Ancient Middle East and Mediterranean.

ATH 416 Project

ATH 416 dig siteStudents from Professor Jeb Card's Anthropology 416 class have been conducting excavations in the yard just south of McGuffey House and Museum. The class is working on site Mondays and Wednesdays, 3-4:30pm through the end of October.

Rose Trellis Expansion

Group poses near rose trellisThe Queen of the Prairie heirloom rose had a banner year, so much so that we installed a second baked enamel trellis along the west side of the house. Helping with the installation were, left to right: Steve Gordon, Michel Pactat, Dr. Sue Jones, Connie Malone, Dr. Ed Jones and Steve Sullivan. Special thanks to Sue and Ed Jones for supporting this project through the Eva Clement Garden Fund.

Fall Events Calendar Announced

A woman leads children on a guided tour of the museum

Mark your calendar for historical lectures, tours and programs that are a perfect complement to crisp fall weather on Miami's beautiful campus!

William Holmes McGuffey Museum wordmark

McGuffey House Gets a Facelift

Installing the columns New columns in place

As the McGuffey House approaches its 200th birthday (2033), it should come as no surprise that a house of, ahem, “advanced age,” warrants special care, especially those exterior portions of the house that employ frame construction. Miami’s Carpenter Shop staff designed and installed new composite fiberglass columns to mirror nearly exactly the profile of the original columns.

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The column repair teamThe front porch of the McGuffey House features wood Tuscan columns likely added during the mid-1920s when the Roudebush family purchased the property. Over the years the front porch columns, made of curved vertical staves, or boards, began to deteriorate, especially at the base. Contributing to the decay of the wooden columns was water wicking upward into the columns where they were in contact with the poured concrete porch floor. Because concrete sweats and holds moisture, it was less than an ideal material to be in direct contact with wood.The new columns are made of a sturdy composite fiberglass material. Miami’s Carpenter Shop staff removed the old columns and installed new composite fiberglass columns. The new columns, designed by staff in the Carpenter Shop, mirror nearly exactly the profile of the original columns. Ideally, it would have been preferable to install new wood columns, but a decision was made to introduce synthetic materials that in the long run will have a longer life expectancy while maintaining the aesthetic integrity of the house.


The BEEPS Garden welcomes visitors to the Miami campus. Established in memory of Becca Eldemire, the garden features several native plants, including St. John's Wort, Monarda, blackberry and Echinacea purpurea, along with Paw Paw and Persimmon trees. There is a bench for relaxation and reflection.

Monarda

Monarda

BEEPS Garden

Echinacea

Echinacea purpurea


Collection Curiosities

Boot Jack

Boot Jack

Note: A fascinating aspect of everyday household objects is how they frequently incorporated contemporary fashion with function. This column shares one of McGuffey House and Museum’s many collection curiosities.

It is winter 1833. Oxford’s weather is rainy and raw. Professor McGuffey enters through the front door of his new house on Spring Street after a long day teaching and preparing class lectures in Old Main. Careful not to track in mud from the unpaved walks and street, not to mention the ire of Harriet McGuffey, William Holmes McGuffey pauses over a simple yet invaluable household object. It is a bug-like artifact by the fire place known simply as a boot jack. Produced by numerous local foundries during the 19th century, boot jacks were used to easily remove boots hands free. Read more about the boot jack »

From our collections

Unidentified Portraits

Portrait of a womanPortrait of a man

? John Insco Williams (1813-1873)

These portraits depict two unknown individuals, believed to have been residents of Richmond, Indiana, during the early 1830s. The female subject, seated in a Queen Anne chair, is distinguished by her Apollo hairstyle, diamond earrings and black dress. The male subject, presumably her husband but possibly a brother, wears a black wool coat, cravat and tie pin. Both subjects may have been painted by John Insco Williams (1813-1873) an itinerant painter in eastern Indiana from 1832-1835.

Information on the unidentified couple is welcome! Contact Steve Gordon

Bishop Sideboard

Bishop Sideboard

Mahogany, 1790–1815

This sideboard belonged to the first president of Miami University, Robert Hamilton Bishop. Brought to Oxford by the Bishops in 1824, it stood in the entry hall of the Bishop home until the 1930s.

In 1991, Dr. Jonathan S. Bishop donated the sideboard to Miami University and the McGuffey Museum.

Octagonal table

McGuffey's octagonal table, possibly where he wrote the first 4 Readers

It is thought that McGuffey wrote the first four books in the series in this house, very possibly on this table.

1840s pie safe

Pie Safe Cupboard

Poplar with pierced tin panels, 1840–1850

Cupboards of this type were used for food storage. The pierced tin panels allowed air circulation without letting rodents and large insects foul the foodstuffs.