Wayne County Historical Society
The Wayne County Historical Society was officially organized by local historians and educators in 1954. After merging with the Wooster Museum, which was located in the Wayne County Library beginning in 1905, the historical society moved into the Beall-Stibbs Homestead. As the Wayne County Historical Society has grown, it has purchased and preserved such historic buildings as the Fredericksburg General Store and 1873 Number 3 Schoolhouse. Today, the society offers temporary and permanent exhibitions based out of the Kister Building.
Backstory and Context
The Wayne County Historical Society dates back to the inception of the Wooster Museum in 1905. The museum was located on the second floor of the new Wayne County Public Library and contained a taxidermy collection and later, Native American artifacts and a mineral collection. George Schwartz served as the curator from its opening until his death in 1924. The next curator, local business owner Alvin Rich, continued to expand the museum’s holdings and documented the county’s history.
The Wayne County Historical Society was officially incorporated in 1954. The College of Wooster then agreed to permanently lease the historic Beall-Stibbs Homestead to the society. The society and the Wooster Museum merged when the library asked the Wayne County Historical Society to take the collections of off its hands so they would have more room for books. The collections were moved in 1957, and the new museum opened to the public in 1958 after several renovations.
Over the next five decades, the Wayne County Historical Society acquired a carriage building, a pre-Civil War log cabin, the Fredericksburg General Store, the 1873 Number 3 Schoolhouse, and other remnants of Wayne County’s past. The society is currently housed in the Kister Building, which features a small research library and temporary exhibits. It was built in the 1970s and expanded and updated in the 1980s/90s. Recently, underground tunnels between the Kister and other Wayne County Historical Society buildings were completed.
Kister Building. Wayne County Historical Society of Ohio. Accessed October 10, 2018. http://waynehistoricalohio.org/plan-your-visit/tour-our-sites/kister-building/. Information and photo source.