Roots To Be Proud Of

Shores & Islands Ohio Heritage Trail

Heritage pride runs deep in Shores & Islands Ohio. Go back in time and reconnect to a bygone age as you explore the Shores & Islands Ohio Heritage Trail, featuring a wide variety of the region's historical sites and museums. This trail takes you on a fascinating journey through the history of our area. Delve into the past as you uncover hidden tales, forgotten anecdotes, and remarkable events that have shaped the very fabric of our communities.

thomas edison


1. Castalia Area Historical Society Museum

208 Lowell St.

This small museum and repository of the Castalia area exhibits historical information and collectibles.

Schedule: Sat, 12-2 pm; or by appt

Rates: Free



2. Catawba Island Historical Museum

at Union Chapel, 5258 E. Porter St., Port Clinton. (Catawba)

Headquartered within the iconic Catawba Island Union Chapel with a focus on highlighting activities and events that made living and working on Catawba Island unique.


  • May-Oct, Mon, Wed, Thurs, and 2nd and 4th Sat, 10 am-4 pm

Rates: Free


Kelleys Island

3. Kelleys Island Historical Museum

224 Division St.

The museum features artifacts and photographs from the island's past. Be sure to visit the gift shop, 1866 Stone Church, and the Parsonage resale shop.

Schedule: Open mid-May to Sept, or by appt. Please call to confirm hours.


  • Adult: $3,
  • Senior: $2,
  • Child (2 yrs. and under): Free,
  • Family: $5



4. Heritage Hall Museum

324 W. Third St.

Featuring the 140-year history of Lakeside Chautauqua and the surrounding area.

Schedule: Memorial Day-Labor Day, Tue-Sat 10 am-4:30 pm, Sun 1-4:30 pm. Archives open limited hours from Sept-May, or by appt. For more information and most up-to-date hours please visit the website.

Rates: Free admission (Lakeside Chautauqua gate fee applies)



5. Wolcott Keeper's House

9999 E. Bayshore Rd.

This 1822 home offers visitors the chance to experience the history of the first three lighthouse keepers.

Schedule: Check website for hours.

Rates: Donations accepted


6. Marblehead Lighthouse Museum & Life Saving Station

110 Lighthouse Dr.

Located on the grounds of the Marblehead Lighthouse in the former keepers house. The museum displays artifacts, historical photos, and other materials which represent the rich and colorful history of the Lighthouse and the Marblehead area. A replica of the lifesaving station features an authentic lifesaving boat and additional exhibits.

Schedule: May 27-Sept 2, 12-4 pm. Call or check website to confirm hours

Rates: Free



7. Edison Birthplace

9 Edison Dr. (off SR 113)

Visit the early boyhood home of Thomas Edison in Milan, Ohio. The museum features a collection of rare early inventions, documents, and family mementos.

Schedule: Hours vary. Please call for hours. Online tour reservations available. Closed major holidays. Open Feb. 11 for Edison’s birthday.


  • Adult: $17,
  • Senior (60 yrs. and older),
  • Child (5-17 yrs.) & Students: $12,
  • Child (5 yrs. and under): Free


8. Milan Museum

10 Edison Dr. (off SR 113)

Visitors to the Milan Museum learn a history rich in progress and creativity along with the important contributions made in Milan. Milestones in invention and inventors, a renowned glass collection, and folk-art displays are seen throughout the many historical buildings, artifacts, and galleries.


  • Mar-May & Oct-Dec, Fri-Sun 12-5 pm;
  • June-Sept, Tues-Sun 12-5 pm.


  • Adult: $12,
  • Senior: $10, 
  • Child (5-17 yrs.): $8,
  • Children (4 yrs. and under): Free,
  • Family passes available.


Port Clinton

9. Liberty Aviation Museum

3515 E. State Rd.

Showcasing operational, historical aircraft and vehicles, including "Georgie's Gal", a WWII B-25 Mitchell Bomber, U.S. Navy WWII TBM Avenger, PT-boat, and more. Witness the restoration of a 1929 Ford Tri-Motor and dine in the 1950s-era Tin Goose Diner.

Schedule: Hours vary by season. Visit Facebook page for seasonal hours.


  • Adult: $14,
  • Child (6 yrs. and older): $8,
  • Child (5 yrs. and younger): Free


10. Ottawa County Museum

126 E. Third St.

Small museum with exhibits on the history of Ottawa County including the Battle of Lake Erie, boat building, nature, agriculture, commercial fishing, early settlers, Native Americans, early clothing, and children's toys. Accessible.


  • Memorial Day-Labor Day, Tues-Thurs 12-3 pm;
  • Labor Day-Memorial Day, Wed 12-3 pm.
  • Other times by Appt; call: 419.732.2237

Rates: Free



11. Doller Estate at Put-in-Bay Winery

392 Bayview Ave.

Enjoy a guided wine-tasting tour of the Valentine Doller Mansion and experience island life as it was in the 1800s. Sample regional island wines while relaxing in the wine garden or enjoying the harbor view from the front lawn. Accessible.

Schedule: See website for schedule


  • Tour and Wine Tasting: $10,
  • Tour Only: $9;
  • Entrance to winery is free


12. Lake Erie Islands Historical Museum

25 Town Hall Place

Displays include over 65 ship models, the South Bass Island Lighthouse Fresnel lens, island life, Ford Tri-Motor, great hotel eras, and the Battle of Lake Erie. Theatre, research library, and bookstore on site.


  • May-Oct, Mon-Fri 11 am-4:30 pm,
  • Sat-Sun 11 am-5 pm:
  • Nov-Apr: Call for current hours.


  • Adult: $7,
  • Senior: $6,
  • Child (5 yrs. and under): Free

13. Perry's Victory and International Peace Memorial

93 Delaware Ave.

Established to commemorate those involved in the Battle of Lake Erie during the War of 1812, the Memorial is a Doric column rising 352 ft. over Lake Erie.


  • May 18-Sept 8, daily 10 am-6 pm;
  • Sept 9-30, daily 10 am-5 pm;
  • Oct 1-14, Fri-Mon 10 am-5 pm


  • Adult (16 yrs and older): $10,
  • Child (15 yrs and younger): Free


14. Perry's Victory and International Peace Memorial Visitor's Center

93 Delaware Ave.

Commemorates Oliver Hazard Perry's Sept 10, 1813 naval victory over the British at the Battle of Lake Erie.


  • May 18-Sept 8, daily 10 am-6 pm;
  • Sept 9-30, daily 10 am-5 pm;
  • Oct 1-14, Fri-Mon 10 am-5 pm

Rates: Free


15. Cooke-Dorn House Historic Site

1415 Columbus Ave.


Sandusky is known for its collection of limestone buildings, including this Greek Revival. The three-story mansion features a ruby and cranberry glass collection, antique furnishings, greenhouse, and souvenirs.  Site managed by the Old House Guild of Sandusky.  To arrange tours for other days or times than listed below in the schedule, please call the site manager, Ed: 419.357.7473.

Schedule: April 19-Oct 28, Weds-Fri 11 am-3 pm; or by appt

Rates: Free; donations accepted


16. Follett House Museum

404 Wayne St.

Experience Sandusky's history from before the War of 1812, through the Civil War era, and to the present. Four floors of exhibits include business, industry, Johnson's Island Prison information and artifacts, and more.


  • Apr-May, Sat 12-4pm;
  • June-Sept 4, Thurs-Sat 12-4 pm;
  • Sept 19-Dec, Sat 12-4 pm. Tours by appt after Labor Day.

Rates: Free; donations accepted


17. Maritime Museum of Sandusky

125 Meigs St.

Dive into the rich maritime history of the Sandusky Bay area. Through interactive exhibits and educational programs the whole family can have a boatload of fun learning about ice  harvesting, shipwrecks, boat building, the wetlands, passenger boats, Sandusky's Underground Railroad history, and more. Special events throughout the year.


  • Jan-May, Fri-Sun 10 am-4 pm;
  • June-Aug, Tues-Sun 10 am-4 pm;
  • Sept-Dec, Fri-Sun 10 am-4 pm.
  • Closed major holidays.


  • Adult: $8,
  • Senior (60 yrs. and older),
  • Child (4-12 yrs.): $7.
  • Family and group rates available.

18. Merry-Go-Round Museum

301 Jackson St. (off US 6)

Enjoy the sights and sounds of yesterday at the Merry-Go-Round Museum! Take a carousel ride, hear the happiest music on earth, and watch wood carvers create new carousel animals. Accessible.


  • Feb, Sat 11am-4pm, Sun 12-4pm;
  • Mar-May, Wed-Sat 11am-4pm, Sun 12-4pm;
  • Memorial Day-Labor Day, Tues-Sat 10 am-4 pm, Sun 12-4 pm;
  • Sept-Dec, Wed-Sat 11 am-4 pm, Sun 12-4 pm


  • Adult: $8,
  • Senior (60 yrs. and older): $7,
  • Child (4-14 yrs.): $6



19. Vermilion History Museum

727 Grand St.

From 1905-1964, a weekly newspaper was composed and printed here. All types of books, magazines, and signs were printed with its presses which are still on display today Vermilion photographs and original printed materials, two small linotypes, and four-letter presses are also on display.


  • Year-round; Mon-Sat 11 am-2 pm.
  • Other times by appt.


  • Adult: $5,
  • Senior/Veteran: $4,
  • Child (10 yrs. and under): Free.
  • Group rates available.



20. Historic Lyme Village

5001 SR 4 (south of SR 113)

Experience the past as you tour the 16 buildings of this 19th century village. Tours include an 1880s Victorian mansion, an 1836 farm home, log homes, barns, a one-room school, a general store, and more. The museum gift shop is located in the visitors center. Located four miles south of Ohio Turnpike (I-80/90) exit 110.


  • June-Aug, Wed-Sat 11 am-5 pm (last tour at 4pm).
  • Special events scheduled throughout the year.


  • Adult: $15
  • Senior (60 yrs. and older): $13,
  • Child (6-12 yrs.): $6,
  • Child (5 yrs. and under): Free.
  • Groups (12 or more): $12 each (with a week’s notice)


21. Mad River & NKP Railroad Museum

253 Southwest St.

Opened in 1976, the Mad River and NKP Railroad Museum is a lasting bicentennial project and a tribute to the transportation industry that helped to mold our country. Ohio’s largest railroad museum showcases several engines, buildings, freight and passenger cars, and cabooses. Many of the cars are filled with displays that await you.


  • Memorial Day-Labor Day, daily 12-4 pm;
  • May, Sept, Oct, Sat-Sun 12-4 pm


  • Adult (13 yrs and older): $10,
  • Senior (60 yrs. and older): $9,
  • Child (6-12 yrs): $5,
  • Child (5 yrs. and under): Free



22. Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Library & Museums

Spiegel Grove
419.332.2081, 800.998.7737,

Visit Spiegel Grove, the wooded estate of President Rutherford B. Hayes, home of America's first presidential library. Tour the president's 31-room Victorian mansion, see his tomb, visit the newly-renovated museum, explore the library, and walk the mile of paved trails.


  • Apr-Sept, Mon-Sat 9 am-5 pm, Sun 12-5pm;
  • Sept-Apr, Tues, Thurs-Sat 9 am-5 pm, Sun 12-5 pm.
  • Closed major holidays.


Site Pass (Home and Museum):

  • Adult: $20;
  • Senior (65 yrs. and older),
  • Military, and AAA: $18;
  • Teen (13-18 yrs.): $10;
  • Child (6-12 yrs.): $5. 

One-Day Museum-only:

  • Adult: $13



23. Firelands Historical Society Complex

4 Case Ave. (off SR 61)

Ohio's oldest museum features 200 yrs. of Firelands history, including an extensive gun collection from Pre-Revolutionary War through WWII and a Native American collection. Separate research library available by appt.


  • Jun-Aug Thurs-Sun 11 am-3 pm;
  • Sept-Oct, Sat-Sun 11 am-3 pm


  • Adult: $5,
  • Senior: $4,
  • Youth (13-18 yrs.): $3,
  • Child (12 yrs. and under): Free


Other Resources:

24. Erie County Historical Society

Features several historic walking tours including Underground Railroad (Sandusky), Downtown Sandusky, Milan, Vermilion Sea Captains, Downtown Vermilion, Kelleys Island, and more. Each is accessible through the website and functions on mobile devices and PCs. Use the website to also find more than 60 historical markers, including a photo and location/directions. See website for dates of special events.

Schedule:  Year-round


  • Free.
  • Some guided tours require a fee; see website for details.


25. Underground Railroad Self-Guided Tour

Because of its location on Lake Erie, the number of railroad lines, the Huron and Vermilion rivers, and the Milan Canal, Erie County was a leading Great Lakes Port and a major terminal on the Underground Railroad. Since historic records on this topic are rare and many sites have been destroyed, only a few of the remaining sites and people influential in his movement have been highlighted in a brochure that offers a narrative as you take the self-driving tour throughout Erie County. Brochures and maps can be obtained from the Shores & Islands Ohio welcome centers. Call 800.255.3743 or 800.441.1271 to request a copy.