Heritage Museum lands new home


The Scioto County Heritage Museum’s story, to this point, has been one of grit, determination, and obstacles. It appears those obstacles may be coming to an end, however.

The biggest issue facing the organization since its inception has been the status of a permanent home. That is no longer the case, with the recent gift of two properties.

The museum was formed by a collective of local history buffs who met over the course of a few years to annually display local historical collections in the old Portsmouth High School Gymnasium. They welcomed the public and schools in to see their goods and educated people on the history of Portsmouth. Each year, they were sad to break down their displays, because of the value of having the collections together.

They decided to form a museum and landed in the former Marting’s annex, while the city still owned it. They continued their residence after it was sold but was told the new owners had intention for the space and they’d need to find another location.

After a year of searching, they’ve landed at 623 Market Street, which was donated to them.

“We had been looking for a new space when we contacted Brian Listerman, who owned the properties,” President Linda Donaldson said. “We asked if we could go through them. After the tour, we asked if he would be interested in donating them. He told us if they appraised for less than $100,000, then he would donate them to us.”

Donaldson explained that the estimate came in higher, but the donor gifted them regardless. Donaldson claimed they will, eventually, use both buildings, but their focus is on 623 for now.

“We’re working on the red house first, because, up until a year ago, someone was living in it,” Donaldson said. “We are working on moving the display cases and some other items into the yellow/green house now, so that we have everything together for when it is time to finalize our space in the red house.”

Donaldson said that the group is currently working on renovations while considering new operational expenses.

“We’re very excited. Our big thing is figuring out how to pay utilities every month, because we will now have gas, water, electric, insurance,” Donaldson said. “We will need a regular revenue stream to pay the bills.”

The group even had a new furnace installed this week, so they could work through winter in preparing the space.

“If I were to be ambitious, we may be open this spring, but we still have to get guys from HopeSource to move cases and items from the Marting’s Annex,” Donaldson said. “Of course, in the meantime, people can follow our Facebook page for updates and virtual displays.”

Donaldson explained that the group is currently renovating the space, but they have a plan to continue their mission while dark.

“Right now, there is nothing to see, but we are working on creating a virtual museum while we are closed. Dr. Feight recommended we go that route and Toni Dengel is working with us, along with AmeriCorps,” Donaldson said. “So, we will have a place online for people to visit and see our collection and historical items.”

Donaldson said the group has a lot of local memorabilia, a historic piano that was built in Portsmouth, old advertisements from former businesses, Roy Rogers items, Portsmouth City Schools items, and more.

“We want this to be a place where people can come and see items from the history of Portsmouth,” Donaldson explained. “When this all started at Portsmouth High School, we brought students in to learn about our past and hear about what our parents and great-grandparents had to go through and other topics throughout our local history. We want to continue that mission.”

Reach Joseph Pratt at (740) 353-3101, by email at [email protected], © 2023 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved.

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