Permanent Exhibit
History at Home: The Story of the Betts Family, the West End, and Cincinnati, explains how the once-country home of the Betts family is now nestled among other 19th and 20th century dwellings in the Betts Longworth Historic District, just a few blocks from busy downtown Cincinnati. History at Home was made possible through a generous anonymous donation.

Current Exhibit
Closed for renovation until January 16, 2016 or visit by appointment, call 513-651-0734 for information

Upcoming Exhibit: Opening January 16, 2016

"A Day in the Life....As the Betts Family Lived in the Mid-19th Century"
The Betts House is pleased to present its upcoming exhibit, A Day in the Life…: Mid 19th Century Daily Life for the Betts Family, showcasing the tools, contraptions, and tales of daily life for a Cincinnati family in the mid-1800s. Opening January 16, 2016 from 12:30 til 5 p.m. and on display until May 14, 2016, at 416 Clark Street, Cincinnati, OH 45203. The exhibit is sponsored by the Robert Reakirt Foundation, PNC Bank, Trustee.

The Betts House was built in 1804 by brick maker William Betts as a four-room, two-story brick home in an era of log and wood homes. He and his wife Phebe had moved to Cincinnati with their five children, where he bought 111 acres of land in what is now the West End and parts of Over-the-Rhine.  By 1813, they had seven more children and a fully operational brick making factory William passed away in 1814, leaving Phebe to raise the children and manage the factory with her older children.

When the home was turned over to granddaughter Adeline and her husband in 1863, she began modernizing the home. The exhibit will showcase how Adeline and the women around her lived and worked in their Cincinnati homes during the mid-1800s.

The exhibit will include:

  Cooking in the Past: Chopping, slicing and dicing was accomplished through the use of clever new tools, many of which were invented after the Civil War. Baking with minimal ingredients, storing meats and other food items without refrigeration, brewing home beer and eating a purported healthy meal are all explored in this fun exhibit.
   Lighting & Heating in a Simple Home: Using the latest technologies, the Betts family most likely had better lighting and heating than many others, due to higher financial status from their brickmaking factory. This exhibit will share the devices and processes that the family most likely used.
  Gardening: The world of family management included much home grown foods.  See what an urban garden grew and fruits, vegetables and herbs were used for cooking and for medicinal purposes.
   Cleaning: A woman’s work is never done especially if she needs to cook for a family of 14, mind children, sew and mend clothing, sweep floors and beat rugs, grow and preserve vegetables and fruits, and perform the never ending cleaning and laundry. See the tools used for laundry including washboards, a hand wash agitator, collar and cuff crimpers, and clothing irons of many sizes.
   Betts Family Tree: Managing a brickmaking factory for 50 years, the Betts family helped to establish the West End.  Learn more about one of Cincinnati’s first families!

The exhibit will be on display at 416 Clark Street, Cincinnati OH 45203, from January 16, 2016 through May 14, 2016 during regular museum hours, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 11 a.m. -  2 p.m. and the second and fourth Saturday of each month from 12:30 - 5:00 p.m. Admission is $2 per person.

For more information and special Saturday events and programs, check www.thebettshouse.org, call 513-651-0734 or email infor@thebettshouse.org

Recent Past Exhibit
In 2015, the Betts House was pleased to share its exhibit, Bricks, Barrel Vaults, & Beer: The Architectural Legacy of Cincinnati Breweries. The exhibit explored brewery architecture in Cincinnati, the impact of technology on the function and construction of breweries, and examine how the buildings functioned within the city. Ideas for the future redevelopment of Cincinnati’s remaining brewery buildings were also presented.

Befitting a city where beer consumption was once 2½ times the national average, Cincinnati has one of the largest collections of pre-Prohibition brewery buildings in the United States. Breweries in Cincinnati were not contained in one physical structure, instead they included numerous facilities such as brewhouses, bottling plants, malt houses, barrel houses, stables, saloons, lagering cellars, residences, and farms. Breweries were connected by tunnels, cut into hillsides, and dug deep below the dense urban fabric of the city. Although early brewery buildings were un-adorned, as the industry increased in size and economic impact, breweries celebrated their function with elaborately decorated buildings.

The exhibit was created in partnership with The Brewery District Community Urban Redevelopment Corporation and supported, in part, by grants from the Josephine Schell Russell Charitable Trust, PNC Bank, Trustee; the John Hauck Foundation; and the Ohio Humanities Council.

Past Summer Exhibit & Events

Build It! Architecture for Kids was on view at The Betts House May 19 – August 22, 2015. The exhibit, on loan from archKIDecture in Chicago, provides hands-on opportunities for children to explore architecture and construction.

The exhibit consisted of nine modules presenting architectural subjects including roofs, tools, and shapes. Build It! encourages children to interact with each module, either on their own or by collaborating with other children or adults. Designed for children age three to twelve, the exhibit promotes visual literacy with activities on shapes, color, and symmetries.

Children were able to design a tree house, decorate a skyscraper, create a floor plan, and more. Brightly colored, child-sized modules explore math concepts by using tessellations, ornament design, symmetry, scale, proportion, and composition. Children explored familiar geometric shapes to better understand the properties of materials and structures. Through the manipulation of materials, children were empowered to build, draw and create. In addition to the hands-on activities, interpretative panels explained the work of an architect and basic architectural concepts.

In addition to the exhibit, The Betts House hosted periodic special Saturday activities, Family Fun Saturdays. These activities for children and families included hands-on programs on roofing and other trades as well as story times and craft activities.

Traveling Exhibits
The Betts House makes its past exhibits available for loan to museums, historic sites, libraries, community centers, cultural centers, and other venues.

Bricks, Barrel Vaults & Beer: The Architectural Legacy of Cincinnati Breweries
The Big Shake: How the 1811-1812 New Madrid Earthquakes Rocked the Ohio River Valley (Available for loan)
From Tenements to Townhouses: Multi-Family Housing in Cincinnati (Available for loan)
Great Cincinnati Families at Home (Available for loan)
More Great Cincinnati Families at Home (Available for loan)
Endangered Cincinnati: Can These Buildings Be Saved (Available for loan)
Lost Cincinnati: Why Buildings Die  (Available for loan)
Cincinnati's Decorative Iron Age (Available for loan)

For more on travelling exhibits, click here.

Other Past Exhibits
Build It!* May 19- Aug. 22, 2015
Bricks, Barrel Vaults & Beer: The Architectural Legacy of Cincinnati Breweries+*: Back for Another Round! January 10- May 7, 2015
Build It!April 12-August 23, 2014
Bricks, Barrel Vaults & Beer: The Architectural Legacy of Cincinnati Breweries+*, Oct. 12 - March 27, 2014
ArchiteXploration* August 24- October 3, 2013
Build It!*, April 13 - July 27, 2013
Forward Into The Past*, January 12 - February 28, 2013
Urban Landscapes*, October 13 - November 29, 2012
Green Building Signage Project*, September 29 – October 9, 2012
Soul of the City*, August 11 - September 22, 2012
Cincinnati Vibrant Visions*, June 9 - July 14, 2012
The Big Shake: How the 1811-1812 New Madrid Earthquakes Rocked the Ohio River Valley+, September 23, 2011 - May 31, 2012
Cincinnati Modernism*, August 13 - September 15, 2011
Style & Whimsy - An exhibit of student work from St. Ursula Academy*, July 8 - August 4, 2011
The Art of Alan Grizzell: Over the Rhine*, May 7 – June 30, 2011
Vanishing Cincinnati*, February 12 – April 23, 2011
Picturing a Healthy Girl*, January 29 - February 10, 2011
Recent Paintings by Marcia Alscher*, November 27, 2010 – January 6, 2011
From Queen City to Porkopolis: Prints of Cincinnati, 1860 – 1890*, October 2 – November 18, 2010
From Tenements to Townhouses: Multi-Family Housing in Cincinnati+, April 17 – September 30, 2010
HOME WORK: An Exhibit of New Work by VisuaLingual*, February 20 – April 8, 2010
Exploring Cincinnati*, October 3 – November 19, 2009
More Great Cincinnati Families at Home+, April 25 through September 30, 2009
Cincinnati: A Glimpse from the Past*, January 6 – March 31, 2009
Great Cincinnati Families at Home+, May 16 through October 31, 2008
Endangered Cincinnati+, 2006
Lost Cincinnati+, 2005
The Changing Cultural Landscape of the West End+, 2004
George Washington: Architect*, 2003
Windows of Change+, 2000
The Comforts of Home? Fireplaces in the 19th Century House+, 1999
Cincinnati’s Decorative Iron age: Defining Space+, 1998
A Permanent Bond: Bricks in Cincinnati before 1840+, 1997
Urban Archaeology at Betts-Longworth+, 1996

+ created by the Betts House     * hosted by the Betts House

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