Driving along the Old National Trail, now known as Route 40, we notice the Zane Grey Museum setting back in a relaxing hillside. Located in beautiful Southeastern Ohio between Cambridge and Zanesville, this museum takes you on a trip back in time to the beginning of the National Trail.
Every history buff will enjoy exploring the three sections of the museum: Old National Trail, Zane Grey, and Ohio Art Pottery. We had a very good guide, who as a volunteer gave interesting historic facts about items viewed, which included many antique cars.
Old National Trail, today’s Route 40, provided the earliest way for the settlers to head Westward. An actual life size replica of a Conestoga Wagon gives visitors an idea of the method used for transporting goods across the country. In a detailed diorama you can see that Route 40 had many toll houses with tolls charged for every animal, person, and wagon that was using the dirt highway. This 136 foot long diorama depicts many of the activities of those early days of traveling down the Old National Trail.
The second area is devoted entirely to the life of Zane Grey. From his early years as a dentist, following in his father’s footsteps, to his life as a fisherman, baseball pitcher and writer, there were many interesting displays showing items that he used throughout his life. Zane Grey wrote over 80 books and a life size model of him is shown in his reconstructed study.
Displays of Ohio Art Pottery fill a large center section and shows the fantastic craftsmanship of local artists in the Zanesville area. The hand painted designs are beautiful works of art.
After the tour, we stopped in their small theater to view a movie showing the life of Zane Grey and his wife, Dolly. Learned many things about his early years and followed him as he went West to discover the land he would later write about and share in his movies.
No visit is complete without visiting the gift shop. Here you could purchase Zane Grey books either new or used as well as other books written about the history of the area. Other items available ranged from pencils to jewelry.
This could require an extra trip as sometimes they show the old Zane Grey movies in the evenings at an Open House for the public. Each year they try to show a different movie, so it is an interesting spot for those who would like to catch a glimpse of a silent movie. Might even get some popcorn!