Ever wondered about your family history? Where you come from and how you might be related to a community business or a TV personality?
You can make these and many more discoveries at the Family History Festival held on Friday, November 29, at the Western Reserve Historical Society’s History Center in University Circle. After you spend Thanksgiving Day with your family, bring them to the Family History Festival to learn about your roots together. Admission to the festival is $10 for adults, $5 for children ages 3-12 and free for WRHS members and children under the age of two. Activities for all ages will be included.
The Family History Festival features the WRHS Research Library’s genealogical materials, ethnic and community archives, information from genealogical and heritage societies, staff presentations, and more. Sessions will help participants learn about initiating research into their family tree.
“History is personal. Each family has a unique story with links to triumphs and challenges, humor and surprises,” said Kelly Falcone-Hall, Interim CEO of WRHS. “Our Research Library has a wealth of resources to help the family researcher. Our Family History Festival will introduce visitors to the vast assortment of materials WRHS has that act as ‘starting places’ for their quest. We have census records, city directories, photographs, diaries, genealogical books and family trees, marriage and death records…everything you need to begin researching your family’s past.”
While visiting for the Family History Festival, visitors will also have the opportunity to visit the luxurious Dior & More – For the Love of Fashion exhibit, plus the historic cars and airplanes in Setting the World in Motion and REVolution, exhibits in the Crawford Wing of the History Center. All public spaces in the History Museum are included in the admission to the Family History Festival.
Find Your Roots
• Genealogical Activities & Instruction
Research Library Staff and Volunteers will assist visitors with starting a Family History project. Learn how to begin your genealogy and the sources available at WRHS. Free 5-generation charts will be distributed to all beginning Family Historians.
• Family History Hunt & Family/Youth Activities
• Surname Search: Look up the meaning of your Surname/Last name!
• Birthday Search: Using the Plain Dealer microfilm collection, look up the day you were born! Find out the headlines, weather, sports highlights, comics, prices of shoes, clothing and furnishings! Make copies and give as gifts!
• History Detective Hunt: pick up a library map and guide to discover treasures in the library
• “This Day in History”: visitors can view hard copy Cleveland newspapers printed 50 years ago and 150 years ago!
• Attend presentations on Family History throughout the day, including Regina Williams, Ph.D., author of Black America: Cleveland, Ohio.
• Explore Kidzibits
• Create and take a family tree
• Enjoy story time and old-fashioned toys and games
• Tour the new REVolution exhibit about the history of automobile design and technological changes in America. Post family road trip and first car memories on comment boards
• Are you from the east-side or west-side? Write about Cleveland memories evoked by that debate in the East vs. West exhibit
• Tour the Hay-McKinney House and learn the stories of Mrs. Hay, the McKinney family and the prominent Clevelanders who helped to shape the city
• Try your hand at quilting or the Collective Art Project ongoing all day
• Capture your family in a caricature by the Caricature Guy
• Enjoy regional and ethnic foods for lunch or a snack
• Family History Exhibitors
For family researchers and genealogists, special topics in the collection that are helpful include:
• African American Archives
• Irish American Archives
• Italian American Archives
• Cleveland Jewish Archives
• LGBT Archives
The Western Reserve Historical Society History Center is located in Cleveland’s University Circle at 10825 East Boulevard. Museum hours are Tuesday - Saturday, 10 am to 5 pm; Sunday, Noon to 5 pm. Admission is $10/adult and $5/child age 3-12. Western Reserve Historical Society members and children two years and under are admitted free of charge. Group rates are available. The History Center is handicap accessible, and includes an elevator to various levels of the museum.
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