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Warther Museum & Gardens, Dover

#14 of 122 in Museums in Ohio
Turn of the century Dover, Ohio was like most small towns of the day. Residents worked hard, believed in progress, took pride in their community and sat down together to enjoy the evening meal.

Such was the case for one of Dover’s most famous residents, Ernest “Mooney” Warther. Born in 1885 to Swiss immigrants, Mooney, as he was known to all, would leave a mark in the community that is still visible to this day.

Mooney found his way out of the steel mills where he worked and into his workshop where he began making knives in order to make carvings of ebony, ivory, and walnut, a hobby that would later make him a recognizable figure across the nation.

With only a second grade education, Mooney would become a master carver that can only be explained through his genius. Noted professors from Case Western Reserve explained the degree of skill in the creation of the pliers tree, one of Mooney’s more unique carvings, would require an advanced degree in mathematics. His talent lives on in members of his family and his story is told in a family-friendly museum that celebrates the life of this remarkable man.

Warther Museum is like no other museum in the world. Situated on eight acres in the tree-lined residential neighborhood where Mooney once lived, the Swiss chalet-styled Warther Museum gives visitors a glimpse into the life of Mooney, his wife Frieda and their family.

Still operated by the third and fourth generation of the Warther family, Warther Museum features Mooney’s home, restored to appear as it would when he and Frieda started their life together. Mooney’s original workshop, built in 1912, features his tools, an extensive collection of Native American arrowheads and the fireplace where he would forge the steel he used in the kitchen knives. In the museum are the priceless collection of 64 ebony, ivory, and walnut trains carved by Mooney at different stages of his life. Each carving is painstakingly accurate with moving parts that are remarkably to scale.

The truly unique button house is home to Frieda Warther’s collection of more than 73,000 buttons displayed on the walls and ceiling of the quaint structure located just outside the original Warther home on the edge of the garden.

Throughout every season of each year, the Swiss styled garden is meticulously maintained. It remains a dear reminder to the Warther family of their proud Swiss heritage.
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Warther Museum & Gardens Reviews
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332 reviews
  • We found all of the artifacts in this museum fascinating. We spent about 90 minutes going on the tour and looking around on our own.  more »
  • We stopped at the Walther museum after reading brochures while visiting Ohio's Amish Country. The setting is beautiful and includes Ernest Mooney Walther's modest 1920's home. The gardens created by h...  more »
  • We aren't into trains, so we couldn't appreciate as deeply as some other folks, but if you can step back, after viewing all the carvings, and look at the exhibit as a whole, you quickly realize this i...  more »
  • Amazing place. A must see. Mr Warther was a genius. He was deemed the world's greatest carvery. And I fully agree. If you are anywhere near Dover Ohio even if your not go go go!!!
  • The embodiment of true genius resides within. A bucket list destination and a point of pure pleasure. Don't forget to take a walk around the grounds😊
  • Very nice place and informative tour. Buying tickets gives you an all day pass so you can walk with a tour or on your own.
  • A surprising museum to a regular family man who accomplished astonishing works of art. To learn about all of the work he did is really incredible and inspiring. A very very interesting afternoon!!!
  • This museum doesn't only have amazing carvings & a great history, it also doubles as a wedding venue! My sister recently got married there & it was just beautiful! They have a wedding planner on site to help with all your needs. It's a great place for a wedding if you have around 50 guests. Please check it out!

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