United States

10 Exhibitions to Visit in Ohio this Winter

by Paul Joseph  |  Published November 29, 2022

 Ohio’s busy cultural calendar is bursting with exhibitions this winter, hosted at museums both large and small across the state.

Figure of Daoist Immortal He Xiangu, 1700s. China, Qing dynasty (1644–1911). Boxwood with colored ivory base; overall: 13.5 cm. The Cleveland Museum of Art, Severance and Greta Millikin Purchase Fund, 1976.60

The state is home to a wide number of renowned museums that were created to preserve the cultural and social heritage of the midwest, the US as a whole, and the wider world. For anyone planning to visit Ohio over the coming months and would like to check out any exhibitions during your stay, we’ve done some research and picked out 12 of the best that are running throughout this winter.

China through the Magnifying Glass: Masterpieces in Miniature and Detail

Objects in miniature have captivated people of all cultures throughout the ages. This exhibition focuses on China and explores the role and function of miniatures and small-scale masterpieces of craftsmanship. About 80 objects dating from ancient times to the 1800s are presented according to their respective use and function in themed sections: “Accessories and Ornaments,” “Objects of Ritual and Devotion,” “Luxury and Pride in Craftsmanship,” “the Scholar’s Desk,” and “Toys, Boys, and Games.” These themes serve to question each object’s function and role in society as a way of achieving a better understanding of China’s culture and history, as well as miniatures worldwide.

Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland / 11 December 2022 – 26 February 2023

The Wonder Lab

(Photo: Hattie Kotz)

Enter a world of water and wonder in the Wonder Lab at The Children’s Museum of Cleveland. Through play and experimentation, children become scientists as they use their natural curiosity to explore how things work and why things happen. This water science laboratory is complete with two interactive water tables, a whirlpool station, a vacuum scarf shooter, and sinks, showers, and spouts for sensory play. Kids can study cause and effect by entering balls and scarves into a series of mechanisms. Principles such as whirlpools, the Bernoulli Effect, and laminar flow show how the force of water can create different reactions. 

The Children’s Museum of Cleveland / Permanent

Raphael – The Power of Renaissance Images: The Dresden Tapestries and their Impact

Mortlake manufactory (after designs by Raphael), St. Paul Preaching at Athens, After 1625. Tapestry. Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden, Gemäldegalerue Alte Meister.

Around 1516, Renaissance master Raphael completed his cartoons (painted compositions) for tapestries commissioned to hang in the Sistine Chapel of the Vatican. Depicting scenes from the New Testament, focused on the lives of St. Peter and St. Paul, the tapestries’ stirring themes and powerful style inspired future generations of artists for centuries to come. This exhibition explores their creation and introduces their various patrons and owners through the centuries – in particular, Charles I, King of England, and Augustus II, Elector of Saxony and King of Poland – while also highlighting Raphael’s broad impact and influence on later artists.

Columbus Museum of Art, Columbus /  Through 8 January 2023

‘Free as they want to be’: Artists Committed to Memory

Inspired by the words of American novelist James Baldwin, this exhibition considers the historic and contemporary role photography and film have played in remembering legacies of slavery and its aftermath. Featuring more than 20 artists on the frontlines of the events that have shaped our world over the past several years, it examines the social lives of black and white Americans within the context of the land, at home, photographic albums, at historic sites and in public memory. In doing so, it presents an opportunity to reflect upon the past, to mark significant defining moments – both triumphs and tragedies – that characterise a people and their experiences in the present and to propose future possibilities.

National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, Cincinnati / Through 5 March 2023

Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction

(Photo: Rock & Roll Hall of Fame)

The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame celebrates its newest Inductees with this latest special exhibition highlighting this year’s class and their impact on music history by showcasing many iconic items that span the careers of these legends. Fans can also enjoy each Inductee’s signature, career-defining video and song playlists, and the Power of Rock Experience. Take an intimate look at gear, clothes, lyrics, and more from the class of 2022 which includes: Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo, Duran Duran, Eminem, Eurythmics, Dolly Parton, Lionel Richie, Carly Simon, Judas Priest, Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis, Harry Belafonte, Elizabeth Cotten, Allen Grubman, Jimmy Iovine, and Sylvia Robinson.

Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, Cleveland / Through fall 20223

Classic Packard Style

(Photo: America’s Packard Museum)

For over 30 years, America’s Packard Museum (APM) has been at the forefront of Packard historical preservation and educating present and future generations about the products and philosophies of this iconic automobile brand. Located in the original 1917 Packard Dealership building, the museum houses the largest public collection of Packard autos and memorabilia in the world, including cars ranging from 1903 to 1956. In total there are over 50 automobiles in the showroom, service department, and pavilion. In addition to regular museum offerings, the museum allows for bookings of group tours, event rentals, field trips, photography sessions and more.

Americas Packard Museum, Dayton / Permanent

Homesteading Women: Past, Present, Near and Far

Historically, women ‘homesteaders’ – people who follow a lifestyle of self-sufficiency – have often been regarded as reluctant helpmeets to men. Yet the records they left tell a different story, one that highlights the important role they played as well as their resourcefulness, creative problem-solving, and community-building. This exhibition juxtaposes archival material illustrating the lives of women homesteaders of the 19th century with interviews and photographs of contemporary women homesteaders in and around Athens County.

OHIO Museum Complex and Kennedy Museum of Art, Ohio University, Athens / Through 19 March 2023

Matt Wedel: Phenomenal Debris

Matt Wedel (American, born 1983), Flower tree, 2018. Porcelain (whipped). 6.5 x 9.5 x 11 in. MW18-25. Courtesy the artist and LA Louver, Los Angeles Photo: Jeff McLane

Monumental, colourful, and expressive, acclaimed American artist Matt Wedel is renowned in his field for pushing the boundaries of ceramics, resulting in objects that recall familiar forms while also springing from his own imagination. Grounded in the exploration of human psychology, his ceramics are an unrestrained celebration of what’s possible with clay. Marking the first large-scale solo show for the artist in a major art museum, this exhibition brings together a large selection of the Wedel’s ceramics and drawings spanning over a decade of his career.

Toledo Museum of Art, Toledo / Through winter 2022-23

What They Carried With Them – For The Ohio Country

James Backus was an agent for the Ohio Company, a deputy sheriff, a surveyor’s assistant, a merchant and partner in Marietta’s first retail store, and the builder of the city’s first house. Fortunately, he kept a journal and detailed records that provide the foundations for this exhibition. Like many of the early settlers in Marietta, Backus could only bring what he could carry or find space for on a horse or wagon. Stepping into the unknown wilderness required special tools and bare bone essentials. The exhibition explores Backus’ experiences in the new settlement, his role as a surveyor and in the local community, and his huge appetite. It also offers a display of original objects similar to those described by Backus and, in his own words, a depiction of his everyday life on the Ohio frontier.

Campus Martius Museum, Marietta/ Through winter 2022-23

Galloping Through Dynasties

Dancing Horse, Tang dynasty (618–907), 8th century, ceramic, Cincinnati Art Museum, Gift of Carl and Eleanor Strauss, 1997.53

From the ancient Zhou dynasty (circa 1045–771 BCE) to the Qing dynasty (1644–1911), images of horses form an allegorical language through which many political and social aspects of Chinese history are reflected. The Chinese emperors’ passion for fine horses further enhanced its prominent status in Chinese art. Over time, the rich symbolic content of horse imagery was matched by the increasingly diversified styles and personal expressions of the artists who painted this iconic animal. This exhibition is the first of its kind to present to museum audiences the many recent research findings on Chinese horse painting and sculpture, illustrating how the horse played an important role in shaping the socio-political world of China and provides new insights into unique aspects of Chinese art and culture.

Cincinnati Art Museum, Cincinnati / Through 1 January 2023