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Warther Museum, Dover

(4.8/5 based on 280+ reviews on the web)
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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Reviews
TripAdvisor
  • This museum is simply amazing. The detail that Mooney Warther put into his work has to be seen to be believed. It is essential to examine the exhibits closely to truly appreciate the details. The buil...  more »
  • This is an unbelievable display of artistry. The man was an absolute genius. This place is beautiful. 
  • I could go on & on about why you must make a trip to see Warther's Museum. It is one of a kind & words just do not, cannot describe this experience. To see the carvings of this man with a 2nd grade ed...  more »
Google
  • My wife and I have visited the Warther Museum and Gardens in Dover, Ohio, three times in the last six years and we plan to visit again. The museum and gardens are a beautiful legacy of the life, love, and genius of Ernest "Mooney" Warther and his family. They also serve as a subtle advertisement for Warther Cutlery, but I don't mind at all, since Warther knives are the finest cutlery I have ever owned. Mooney Warther, the son of Swiss immigrants to the United States, possessed only a second grade education, but he was a gifted artist with a knife. His carvings are beautiful, intricately detailed, and meticulously wrought. The museum has a well-thought-out layout, and I have never met a tour guide that was not completely, deeply knowledgeable about the life and history of Mooney Warther. Mooney's wife Frieda laid out and maintained very beautiful gardens, and the museum works hard to keep these gardens maintained. When we were there, the gardener was out in the rain weeding. A couple of spots were pretty weedy with small thistle plants, but overall, the gardens still looked very nice. Frieda collected buttons, and her arrangements of buttons are worth seeing simply for the artistry. I highly recommend the Warther Museum and Gardens as a place to visit and spend a few hours.
  • This is an amazing place to honor an amazingly talented man. The tour guide was very knowledgeable. I loved it.
  • Magic in his work. Unforgettable to say the least!
  • Amazing museum. Amazing well knowledgeable and friendly staff. I would definitely recommend this museum to my friends to visit.
  • The wood work was phenomenal and I was thoroughly impressed