MBA Program | Farmer School of Business - Miami University

COVID-19 Update, Spring, 2023

McGuffey House and Museum is open for tours during our regular hours, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, 1-5 p.m. Face coverings are not required when visiting the museum. Staff will wear masks if requested.

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

Museum News

Thanks to our Docents and Volunteers

Docents and volunteers perform important functions for museums all across the country, and McGuffey House and Museum is no exception. Their presence helps enable us to connect with our audience and meet our Mission. This year we recognize five docents who have given their time and talents to the museum for 20 years or more. Marjorie Bowers, Charlotte Krauss and Dolly Thomas celebrate 20 years as docents while Dr. Elizabeth Johnson has been a docent for 24 years. Special recognition is given to Dr. Diana Royer, who has been a docent and volunteer at McGuffey House and Museum since 1997. Perhaps most remarkable, Dr. Royer continues to give tours in addition to her extensive teaching responsibilities in the Department of English at the Hamilton Campus. Congratulations and thank you to these five special individuals.

Five docents and volunteers were recognized at McGuffey House and Museum’s annual Appreciation Day in May 1. L-R: Charlotte Krauss, Dr. Diana Royer, Dr. Elizabeth Johnson and Dolly Thomas. Not pictured is Marjorie Bowers.

McGuffey Family

This photo of Alexander McGuffey's family ca. 1890 shows Alexander with his wife Caroline, daughters Margaret and Agnes, and sons Winthrop and Kingsley. The photo was taken at Sunbright, the family home on Auburn Avenue in Cincinnati. Only Kingsley was alive in 1930. None of McGuffey's nine children from his first marriage were alive in 1930.

On a warm summer day in August 1930, descendants of Alexander McGuffey gathered in Youngstown, Ohio for a family reunion. The significance of the occasion is evident by the formality of the dress seen in this group photo. Unfortunately, none of the individuals are identified. Gravel Hill Farm may have been the site of the original McGuffey Farm where William Holmes and Alexander grew up in the early 19th century. Today none of the farm buildings survive, only the pond, remembered by McGuffey as a boy, is still extant.

If you can identify any of the people in this photo, please contact Steve Gordon at

Touring Miami's Museums

What better way to spend a Friday than visit Miami's museums? Seventh and 8th grade students, teachers and parents at Sacred Heart School in Fairfield spent a November morning touring the Hefner Zoology Museum, Limper Geology Museum, McGuffey House and Museum and the Art Museum. Bobbe Burke, a McGuffey volunteer, is seen here guiding students through the house museum.

Miami's museums do not charge any admission; all we ask visitors to bring is a sense of curiosity. We have something of interest for everyone.

Visit from the Milletts

It was an especially heartwarming day this past September when Dr. Steve Millett, Miami Class of 1969, his wife Sherry, and their granddaughter Ellie Storts, Miami Class of 2024 came to McGuffey House and Museum. The day also marked a homecoming of sorts for Steve, as he and Susan were given a tour of Lewis Place by Dr. Renate Crawford.

One of three sons of Miami President John D. and Catherine Millett to have lived at Lewis Place, Steve was the first student assistant at McGuffey Museum, where he was mentored by Dr. W. E. Smith, Chair of the Department of History and Curator of the museum. Dr. Millett provided important details about the house during his student days and research conducted by Dr. Smith.

Photo: Steve Gordon, administrator (L) and Dr. Millett (R).

Color Commentary

White oak near McGuffey

In 2016, a white oak, quercus alba, was planted in recognition of the 60th anniversary of McGuffey Laboratory School's last graduating class. This fall the burgundy color of the oak was especially stunning.

Dedication plaque: Dedicated to McGuffey High School Class of 1956. The last Graduating Class.

Homecoming 2022

Beverley and SwoopGeorge Beverley, Miami Class of 1970, and Jackie Hunt were Homecoming ambassadors from The Knolls of Oxford. George is a McGuffey docent and man of many talents. He and Jackie are pictured with Swoop, Miami's Redhawk mascot.

Miami Students Visit the Museum

On October 6, Dr. Matthew Smith, Professor of History, brought 80 students from his HST 111 class to the museum for a guided tour. Special thanks to Dr. John Clover for helping with the tours and to Curtis Ellison, Professor of History, Emeritus, for his excellent commentaries.

Left to right: Curtis Ellison, John Clover, Matthew Smith

McGuffey Family

Andy McGuffey poses next to portrait of WH McGuffeyPeople often ask if McGuffey descendants visit the museum? The answer is - yes. Recently, Andrew McGuffey, a direct descendant of Henry Holmes McGuffey (1802-1877), one of two brothers to Willam Holmes McGuffey, came to the museum. Andrew currently resides in Elizabethtown NY. His son Matthew (b. 1996) currently resides in Cincinnati. Andy and Matt visited the museum during Music & Stories on the Lawn, Sept. 24, 2022.

McGuffey Schools at Miami

From 1910 to 1982, the McGuffey Laboratory School was an integral part of Miami University's School of Education. It served as an open-admission school overseen by Miami University and as a training site for teacher education students. In 1957, the high school grades merged with the new Talawanda school district, while grades K-8 continued instruction, and moved into the new Lab School Building at the corner of Campus and Spring Streets in 1967.

Read more about McGuffey Schools

This clipping from the McGuffey Mirror, printed on October 12, 1955, featured a team photo of the last McGuffey High School football team. The team mascot was a Green Devil, and games were played on Bunger Field where the new Health Science Building is currently under construction. Some of the individuals depicted in the photo include John Cocanougher, Miami Class of 1964 (#60), Coe Potter, Miami Class of 1962 and son of Myron "Tuffy" Potter (#51) and Allan Millett, son of President John D. and Catherine Millett and currently Stephen Ambrose Professor of History at the University of New Orleans (#20). This issue is part of a collection of McGuffey Mirrors donated to McGuffey House and Museum by Molly Shera Lampert, McGuffey Class of 1956 and Miami Class of 1960.

Newspaper clipping depicting the McGuffey football team

Former Ohio First Lady Visits Miami University

On a picture-perfect June afternoon, former Ohio first Lady Hope Taft came to Miami to participate in a group discussion about Walking Ancient Ohio. The idea of walking ancient Ohio became a reality in 2021 when Taft, Buck Niehoff, and a small group of friends walked 160 miles of Ohio’s back roads linking eight Hopewell Ceremonial Earthworks. Highlighted during the walk, these eight sites are being prepared for nomination to the UNESCO World Heritage list. For more information, go to and click on 2021 Newsletter.

Read more: Ohio First Lady

Following group discussion, Mrs. Taft toured the Miami University Art Museum and the McGuffey House and Museum. All of us were impressed with Mrs. Taft’s knowledge and passion for Ohio history, archaeology, and environmental issues. She continues to volunteer her expertise helping maintain the garden at the Governor’s Residence in Bexley. Her husband, former Ohio Governor Bob Taft, currently teaches at the University of Dayton.

Hope Taft and MU Art Museum DirectorHope Taft with Steve Gordon at McGuffey Museum

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.



BEEPS Garden


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.