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The Works was founded in 1996 by visionary local businessman Howard LeFevre. Housed within the historic Scheidler Machine Works building, built in 1881, The Works offers guests interactive experiences alongside traditional museum exhibits. The facility boasts an operating glass blowing studio, the SciDome planetarium, an art gallery, and much more. Today, the campus includes eleven buildings in downtown Newark, within easy walking distance of the square, restaurants, and other downtown attractions.
Backstory and Context
The Works is housed in the former Scheidler Machine Works, a factory that produced a variety of items but was best known for its steam engines and sawmills. The factory was founded by Reinhard Scheidler, a German immigrant who came to the United States in 1851. After establishing his own company in the 1860's, Scheidler built his business to become one of Newark's preeminent enterprises. In 1881, he built the building currently seen at 55 S. First Street, which held its grand opening in early 1882. Several other buildings originally occupied the grounds as well, including a blacksmith shop and a boiler repair shop. None of these other buildings are still standing.
Decades later, Howard LeFevre noticed the building in the early 1990's and saw its potential. After purchasing the building, he began planning for a museum that focused on local manufacturing and industry. In 1996, the Institute of Industrial Technology opened its doors to the public. A few years and a couple of expansions later, IIT changed its name to The Works: Ohio Center for History, Art & Technology to reflect its variety of offerings.