10 Free Must Visit Museums in Columbus - Kid 101

10 Free Must Visit Museums in Columbus

Columbus Museum of Art

Embark on a full-throttle arts adventure at the Columbus Museum of Art. Artists from around the world congregate at the Museum to share their wild, wonderful takes on a variety of mediums. Graphic novelist Ronald Wimberly’s comic style is a crowd favorite, featuring a flurry of patterns and colors that really capture the eye. Dig into the classic re-imagined by Thomas Cole, whose dreamy renditions of the ancient world transport you back thousands of years. Children will adore the Wonder Room, filled to the brim with a dazzling array of exciting enchanted forest items for kids to interact and play with. Don’t miss out on this one! More information about visiting and events is available online.

Where: 480 E Broad St, Columbus, OH 43215

Phone: (614) 221-6801

Email: info@cmaohio.org

Hours: Tuesday — Wednesday and Friday — Sunday, 10 am to 5 pm; Thursday, 10 am to 9 pm. Thursdays from 5 pm — 9 pm are by donation. Free Sundays and daily for children under 5.

Columbus Cultural Arts Center

At the Columbus Cultural Arts Center, there’s always something to explore. Are you a coffee addict with a soft spot for art? The Center offers numerous arts lectures and presentations open to the community that feature local and visiting artists (plus free coffee). Current events include “Coleccion Plaza: Best of the Ohio Watercolor Society” which showcases the multifaceted diversity of art from around the state. Arts and community groups, as well as private parties, always have a place at the Center, so be sure to explore online for more details about programs and events.

Where: 139 W. Main St., Columbus, OH 43215

Phone: (614) 645-7047

Contact Form: http://www.culturalartscenteronline.org/contact us

Hours: Mondays, 1 pm to 4 pm & 7 pm to 10 pm; Tuesdays – Thursdays, 9 am to 4 pm & 7 pm to 10 pm; Fridays and Saturdays, 9 am to 4 pm. Free admission. Donations suggested.

Urban Arts Space of the Ohio State University

Looking for a cool urban space to explore the newest in visual arts? The downtown Urban Arts Space of the Ohio State University is exploding with up-and-coming artists as well as renowned veterans. Students exhibit their senior year artwork at the gallery alongside ancient classics such as relics of imperial Beijing as part of the OSU Bliss M. and Mildred A. Wiant Collection of Chinese Art. If you’re looking for a more modern experience, the CYA L8R installation (at the City Center Gallery) brings neon and pastel colors into playful reminiscence on youth and nostalgia in a twist on growing up in the 90s. There’s more to explore here, so be sure to visit online to plan your trip.

Where: 50 W. Town Street, Suite 130, Columbus, OH 43215

Phone: (614) 292-8861

Email: artsinitiative@osu.edu

Hours: Tuesday / Wednesday / Friday / Saturday from 11 am to 6 pm, Thursday from 11 am to 8 pm. Admission is always free.

Thurber House

Every writer knows that behind a good book is a great story. Visitors to the Thurber House know that there are plenty of stories to be heard and told here, where workshops, tours, and events are plentiful to inspire even the most blocked of writers. Children’s events, like the Writing Wizards for grades two through eight, bring out the storyteller in your child and feature hands-on crafts to boost their creativity. The Young Writers’ Studio for high school students helps burgeoning authors and poets develop their craft and really get their best ideas down on paper through fun discussion topics. Other events include Evenings with Authors and summer picnics, but the House itself is not to be missed, where memorabilia from the American humorist himself is enjoyed by guests from across the country. Be sure to visit online for details.

Where: Thurber House, 77 Jefferson Avenue, Columbus, OH 43215

Phone: (614) 464-1032

Contact Form: http://www.thurberhouse.org/hours-location/

Hours: Daily (except holidays) free self-guided tours between 1 pm and 4 pm.

The Costumes and Textiles Collection at the Ohio State University

The history of fashion comes to life at the Costumes and Textiles Collection hosted by the Ohio State University, where the haute couture of America through the years is housed in the University’s public access facility. Current exhibitions include American Aesthetics, featuring the biographies of fashion greats like Oscar de la Renta; History’s Closet: Teaching History Through Clothes, which depicts five sections of American fashion beginning at the nation’s foundation; and And the Bride Wore…, a collection of gowns with stories spanning the past two centuries. At the Collection, history is the new black, and you’d better visit to really be in fashion.

Where: Campbell Hall, Room 175, 1787 Neil Ave, Columbus, OH 43210

Phone: 614-292-3090

Email: strege.2@osu.edu

Hours: Tuesday — Thursday, 10 am to 5 pm; Friday, 10 am to 4 pm; Saturday, 12 pm to 4 pm. Free admission, donations accepted. Appointments for other times.

Open Door Art Studio

This free gallery and studio combo brings an underrepresented perspective to the public sphere by giving voice to artists with developmental disabilities. Artists featured include local legend Wallace Peck, whose pieces evoke the rawness of the materials he uses; and events explore various local and national movements that celebrate everything from art inspired by other local artists, to Transcendental experiences (in an exhibition by the same name), to Columbus itself. There are many more exhibitions scheduled, so be sure to check online to keep up-to-date with the most current events.

Where: 1050 Goodale Boulevard, Grandview Heights, OH 43212

Phone: (614) 641-2828

Email: info@opendoorartstudio.org

Hours: Monday – Friday, 9 am to 5 pm.

Studios On High Gallery

A treasured part of the Columbus arts community, Studios On High is a gallery and studio that shares art made by local artisans, artists, craftsmen, and sculptors. Coming events are seasonal festivities like the “Winter Life-Winter Roots” exhibition, plus current exhibitions like “Perfect For the Season” which shares “unique, one-of-a-kind, original art” that you’ll be hard-pressed to find anywhere else. It’s a great destination for solo trips, family outings, and date nights, so be sure to explore more online and visit the gallery.

Where: 686 North High Street, Columbus, Ohio  43215

Phone: (614) 461-6487

Email: info@studiosonhigh.com

Hours: Monday — Saturday, Noon to 6 pm; Sunday, 1 pm to 6 pm or by appointment. No admission listed.

Wexner Center For the Arts (The Ohio State University)

The Wexner Center for the Arts at the Ohio State University combines learning with the adventure through tours, exhibitions, lectures, film, performing arts, and more. Imagine a topic, and you’ll find it at the Wexner Center, where walk-in tours explore culture in the Fallen Fruit of Columbus: Block After Block exhibition, plus other topics such as art and ecology in the Interventions: Students Respond to the Environment series. More is to be found here, so be sure to peruse online to plan your visit.

Where: 1871 N. High St, Columbus, OH 43210

Phone: (614) 292-3535

Email: mstarker@wexarts.org

Hours: Tuesday — Wednesday, 11:00 am to 6:00 pm; Thursday – Saturday, 11:00 am to 8:00 pm; Sunday, 11:00 am to 6:00 pm; Monday, Closed. Free admission Thursday evenings and first Sunday of the month.


Since 1989 ROY G BIV has showcased burgeoning artists and thinkers from around the world in the Columbus area, bringing a non-profit flair to the otherwise commercial gallery scene. Upcoming exhibitions include the Small Works show, part of the Ohio Art League’s yearly Thumb Box exhibition. Works include a stunning array of visually intricate and compelling paintings, drawings, photography, mixed media, and sculpture. Search the website for more insight into the growing collections at the gallery.

Where: 997 N. High St, Columbus, OH 43201

Phone: (614) 297-7694


Hours: Wednesday — Friday, 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm; Saturday, 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm. Sunday and Tuesday, Closed.

Rivet Designer Toy & Art Gallery

Street savvy and artistic suave collide in a fantastic fusion of proto-urban culture at the Rivet Gallery. The featured designers exhibit their clever collections in the gallery center, a unique stop in the Short North arts district of Columbus. If you’re looking for underground, unusual, original, and one-of-a-kind, this is the gallery for you. It’s also a landmark stop on the Short North monthly Gallery Hop event, so locals and visitors alike make this place a priority. Explore more online for details about events and offerings.

Where: 1200 N. High St, Columbus, OH 43201

Phone: (614) 294-8697

Hours: Tuesday – Saturday, 12:00 pm to 7:00 pm; Sunday, 12:00 pm to 5:00 pm; Closed on Mondays.

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