Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum: Find world's largest collection of comics right here in Columbus

Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum

Find world’s largest collection of comics right here in Columbus

Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum: Find world's largest collection of comics right here in ColumbusAs a teen, I delighted in snatching the comics from the Sunday paper before my older brother. I’d read through Garfield, Bloom County, and For Better or For Worse before settling on my favorite, Calvin and Hobbes.

The adventures of 6-year-old Calvin and his stuffed tiger, Hobbes, seemed to jump off the page thanks to the brilliance of Bill Watterson. The Chagrin Falls native didn’t confine his characters to rows of squares but let them roam in his allotted space.

I recently got to relive my joy for this beloved comic strip while touring the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum in Columbus with my 10-year-old daughter.

Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum: Find world's largest collection of comics right here in ColumbusThe 30,000 square-foot facility, located on the Ohio State University campus, houses the world’s largest collection of materials related to cartoons and comics, including editorial cartoons, comic strips, comic books and graphic novels – my daughter’s favorite.

The library and museum came to be in 1977 with the founding gift of artwork and papers of Ohio State alumnus Milton Caniff, who created the comic strips Terry and the Pirates and Steve Canyon. The museum is named after the Ohio cartoonist Billy Ireland.

Its primary mission is to develop a comprehensive research collection documenting American printed cartoon art and provide people access to these resources.

Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum: Find world's largest collection of comics right here in ColumbusAlmost everything in the archives is available upon request in the Reading Room. The museum has two galleries for exhibits, which change twice a year, and a permanent exhibit called the Treasures gallery.

The archives hold the largest collection of Japanese comics outside of Japan, some of the earliest cosplay costumes, and almost all of the original art from Calvin and Hobbes, which ran daily from 1985 to 1995.

I look forward to unraveling what’s inside this gem of a destination. In the words of Bill Watterson, “The best presents don’t come in boxes.”

The Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum is located at 1813 N. High St., inside Sullivant Hall on the Ohio State University campus. Learn more at

The Seasoned Farmhouse: Build skills, confidence at recreational cooking school

The Seasoned Farmhouse

Boost skills, confidence at recreational cooking school

In this fast-paced world where heads of lettuce are sold pre-shredded in plastic bags, it’s nice to slow down and crack an egg once in a while.

I recently did just that and more with my daughter, Rosie, thanks to a Christmas gift from my husband. It had us measuring and mixing ingredients to make cookies during a cooking class at the Seasoned Farmhouse in the Columbus neighborhood of Clintonville.

The recreational cooking school offers classes that help home cooks boost their skills and confidence with hands-on instruction.

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Tricia Wheeler, who graduated from the French Culinary Institute in New York City, opened the school in 2013. She and other local chefs can teach you how to make everything from pies and cakes to soups and salads to a five-course French meal.

Rosie and I took a daughter-and-mommy baking class over winter break. We made six types of cookies in two hours and got to take the goods home to share.

Wheeler said she found inspiration for the class from a box of child-sized aprons that she bought.

“I chose this age group because my daughter, Kensington, is 10,” Wheeler told our group of a dozen girls and their moms. “I picked age-appropriate recipes in the hopes that your girls will make these cookies on their own at home, too.”

Wheeler and her helpers created six stations for participants to use over two hours. It was amazing what we could accomplish when we put our minds to it.

We made sugar-cookie bars, chocolate chip cookies, no-bake caramel sea-salt cookies, pretzel toffee, Nutter Butter acorns, and polar bear marshmallows that we dipped into hot chocolate with homemade whipped cream.

When done, each girl received a basket that she filled to the brim with the group’s cookie creations. Since then, we’ve duplicated several of the recipes at home.

Most classes are geared toward adults, but kids’ classes occasionally are offered, such as a Valentine’s Day candy-making class. Otherwise adult classes are open to teen-agers with an adult chaperone.

Classes typically accommodate a dozen students and last up to three hours. Currently advertised hands-on classes cost from $65 to $150.

Classes fill up quickly. Learn about classes before they’re posted online by subscribing to Seasoned Farmhouse’s e-newsletter by clicking the “Be the First to Know” tab at the lefthand-side of the website at

The Seasoned Farmhouse is located at 3674 N. High St. Call 614-230-6281 to learn more.

Sew to Speak: Find funky fabrics, learn sewing basics

Sew to Speak

Find funky fabrics, learn sewing basics

I loved to sew clothes for my toys when I was a little girl. Most of their fashions involved discarded socks. I could create three matching garments from one knee-high: a hat from the toe, a vest from the middle section and a tight pair of pants from the top. I swear I invented stretchy pants in the 1970s.

So, surprise, for Christmas my 8-year-old daughter received a sewing machine. The gift sat in a box for weeks as I read the manual, trying to decipher how to wind the bobbin and thread the machine. Meanwhile, Rosie pleaded, “I want to sew now!”

A friend told us about a local fabric store called Sew to Speak, which sells sewing supplies and offers lessons to children. One class, called “Kids Sewing 101,” is available for children ages 8 and up for $35. Participants learn how to operate a sewing machine and construct a pillowcase.

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We opted for a class called “Kids Plus One.” In the 2-hour lesson, Rosie and I learned how to operate our new sewing machine and make our own pillowcases.

The store is a destination in itself, especially if you’re into sewing. The fabric choices alone are enough to turn a wannabe like myself into a fashionista. I fell in love with a print of a little dog nipping at the heels of galloping horses. It appeared straight from the pages of an old children’s book. I used this print and another of horseshoes for my two-sided pillowcase.

Our instructor, Jamie Hevener, guided us with utmost patience and enthusiasm. I enjoyed constructing something I would normally buy without thought from scratch.

We learned how to use a simple pattern, properly cut fabrics with the grain of the material and use our machine to do basic stitching.

We’re quite proud of our handmade pillowcases and our newfound ability to use our machine. Look out, New York Fashion Week, here we come!

Sew to Speak is located at 4610 N. High St., Columbus. For more information, visit or call 614-267-3011.

The Works: Head to Newark for interesting, inexpensive, interactive science museum

The Works

Head to Newark for interesting, inexpensive, interactive science museum

The Works is an interactive science museum in Newark that proved to us worthy of a 40-minute drive east of Columbus for a hearty dose of mental fun.

The museum offered the right amount of entertaining activities that challenged our kids’ knowledge of history, art and technology at a fair price. We spent less than $30 for our family of four to play for several hours.

We started our adventure in the Main Gallery, where we explored an exhibit called “Lines of Sight” that illustrates the connection between art and mathematics through hands-on displays. It was neat to see how a drawing on a flat piece of paper can appear three-dimensional.

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We then motored to the main section of the museum on the first floor where there are lots of interactive stations called “labs.”  Each lab focuses on a particular topic like motion, sound, electricity and light and gives children and adults an opportunity to experiment.

We dug our hands into bins full of wheels and colorful plastic parts to create cars that we then raced down a ramp. It was fun to see that some illogical-looking contraptions outperformed others that seemed to make more sense.

Upstairs, visitors will find a boatload of history and see the remnants of this old building that during the 1800s was used to build steam engines. Exhibits highlight history and economic developments in Newark and Licking counties from the Paleo-Indians to modern times. The kids enjoyed typing on manual typewriters and calling each other on rotary phones. It was funny to observe them trying to figure out the rotary dial.

We also saw blobs of molten glass blown and transformed into colorful works of art in the Glass Studio. Visitors can watch demos or pop into the open studio the third Saturday of the month to fuse glass into sun catchers or jewelry.

Cost is $5 for children, $9 for adults and $7 for seniors. Children ages 2 and under get in free.

The Works is located at 55 S. First St., Newark. For more information, call 740-349-9277 or visit

Doll Museum at the Old Rectory: Perfect place for a quick mommy-and-daughter adventure

Doll Museum at the Old Rectory

Perfect place for a quick mommy-and-daughter adventure

Exploring Worthington’s Doll Museum proved to be more of a treat than expected for my daughter, Rosie, and me one Saturday morning. The museum, located in the Old Rectory, provides a fascinating glimpse of hundreds of dolls and, curiously, is linked to a fantastic consignment shop that had us digging around for spare change.

Run by the Worthington Historical Society, the museum is contained in two rooms that are kept locked until you pay the $2 admission fee. Several other rooms contain the consignment shop, where you’ll find quality antiques and collectibles at reasonable prices. Unlike thrift-store merchandise, these items appear to have one day been someone’s favorite things. They included teacups and saucers with pretty rose designs, well cared for dolls with pressed outfits, and lots of doll clothes lovingly crafted.

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We started our adventure in the museum. Visitors are given a two-sided, laminated sheet with information describing the collection. They come from many sources, but most were donated by Mrs. George Brinton Chandler in 1968.

Some dolls on display once served as fashion models, shipped overseas from Paris donning the latest fads of the 1800s in doll-sized proportions. Their well-coiffed hairdos are made from human hair.

Other dolls depict famous royals such as Countess Dagmar of Denmark, who was married to Czar Alexander III, and Empress Eugenie of France, wife of Emperor Napoleon  III.

It was fun learning about the interesting materials used to construct some of the dolls, like paper mache for heads, pewter for hands and feet, and wood, rubber, wax and even a wishbone for the bodies.

I enjoyed the Shirley Temple dolls and a collection of ornamental dolls from Japan that represented an emperor, empress and their court.

Rosie’s favorites were two doll houses that were chockfull of furnishings and tiny, detailed decorations that looked fit to welcome a fairy.

We ended our tour by perusing the gift shop, full of enchanting merchandise that we felt propelled to consider. I bought a dainty glass poodle with pretty eyelashes. Rosie selected miniatures for her own doll house and a homemade lacy dress for her American Girl Doll. The shop accepts only cash or checks.

The Doll Museum is located at 50 W. New England Ave., Worthington. Hours are 1-4 p.m., Tuesday through Friday; and 10 a.m.-2 p.m., Saturday. Cost is $2 for a self-guided tour.

For more information call 614-885-1247 or visit

Kelton House Museum and Garden: Tour restored Victorian home that was once a stop along Underground Railroad

Kelton House Museum and Garden

Tour Victorian-era home that was stop along Underground Railroad

On a frigid January afternoon, my daughter, Rosie, and I followed a costumed man through the Kelton House, a Victorian-era home and museum in downtown Columbus.

The historic home is open for docent-led tours on Sundays from 1-4 p.m. Our tour was the last of the day, as snow began to pile up outside, keeping other would-be tourists away.

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Mark Welch, a thin, gray-haired man in a long, black coat, led us through parlors filled with 19th-century furnishings and antiques that were once owned by the Kelton family. He showed us jewelry made from human hair and a bed where a member of the Kelton family had died. He also told us that some think the old house is haunted. He said that other docents have heard the voice of a little girl from behind a door. He then left us to explore the upstairs rooms on our own, as he swiftly departed down a spiral staircase.

Rosie and I followed Welch afterward and joked that he, too, was a ghost. Our exploration proved adventuresome and educational, as is the intent of the museum, which opened in 1976 and is operated by the Junior League of Columbus.

Built in 1852, the house was once home to Fernando Cortez Kelton and Sophia Langdon Stone Kelton. It stayed with the family for three generations until 1975 when the Kelton’s granddaughter, Grace, passed away.

Fernando was a prosperous wholesaler of dry goods and pharmaceuticals, but risked losing everything to help fugitive slaves as a conductor on the Underground Railroad. The Keltons took in a runaway named Martha Hartway, who remained with the family for a decade.

Our tour concluded with a visit to the Underground Railroad Learning Station, located on the lower level of the house, where visitors can see a replica of a secret hiding place that helped slaves attain freedom.

Fernando also was a pallbearer in Abraham Lincoln’s funeral procession that went through Ohio and ended up in Illinois. Fernando’s son, Oscar, fought in the Civil War against slavery and died in battle.

On the second Sunday of each month, the museum presents “Trails of Hope,” re-enactments of Underground Railroad stories about fugitive slaves and their protectors.

The Kelton Museum and Garden, 586 E. Town St., is first an educational facility, but also a popular wedding destination with a beautiful Victorian garden. For more information, visit or call 614-464-2022.

The Kitchen: Make meals, memories at participatory eatery in German Village

The Kitchen

Make meals, memories at participatory eatery in German Village

It was a sweet chore that my family was only too happy to perform. We carried marshmallows, candy corn, licorice whips, and other confections to a food-preparation table, where we constructed edible haunted houses out of gingerbread cutouts and frosting.

Our handicraft was part of a participatory food experience at the Kitchen in Columbus’ German Village neighborhood. The business, which opened in 2013, offers the tools and guidance for guests to tackle intimidating culinary creations in a fun environment. It’s housed in a hip, 1920s-era building with hardwood floors, exposed brick walls and a tin ceiling.

“Our focus is on the social side of getting people together with food. The educational component is sort of accidental,” said Anne Boninsegna, who co-owns the Kitchen with chef Jen Lindsey.

We visited the Kitchen on Halloween. For $20 apiece, we were given all the fixings to create masterful haunted houses during a three-hour workshop. It was a bargain, considering the amount of preparation that went into the craft, including setup and cleanup.

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Chef Lindsey made the icing and the tasty gingerbread cutouts that formed the walls of our houses. She also made energizing, whimsical snacks including apple slices with caramel, veggies with ranch dip and hot dogs wrapped in biscuits that she called “mummy dogs.”

The Kitchen is open most days of the week for public and private events, each priced according to the number of participants and necessary ingredients. The space offers a commercial cooking environment with professional tools and a seasoned chef.

Most Kitchen experiences are adult-oriented, and the place is often booked for corporate business. But several times a year, families take center stage. Family-related events have included candy making on Valentine’s Day and creating a vegetable soup with colorful ingredients to the theme of the children’s book Rainbow Stew, by Cathryn Falwell.

“Just fun stuff that brings parents and kids together,” Boninsegna said.

The owners say that the best memories are formed around a dinner table. Guests can help prepare a meal before they sit down together to enjoy it, narrowing the line between patron and chef.

“We feel it’s great to sit down and have a dinner with somebody,” Boninsegna said. “But if you cook food together first, you get a richer experience than if you just make reservations and go out to dinner.”

Themes have included a gluten-free dinner party and a Harry Potter potluck, when guests, dressed as characters from the books, created dishes that corresponded with their personalities.

So how can you get a taste of the Kitchen without attending a private party? Attend Taco Tuesday, weekly from 5-9 p.m. The event features unique taco themes – from Mexican to Italian to southern BBQ-inspired tacos. The menu is served a la carte and features specialty cocktail selections, beers and wines that pair with the night’s theme. No reservation is needed for this family-friendly dinner.

For more information, visit or call 614-225-8940.

Orton Geological Museum: Earth’s curiosities will please youngsters at free OSU museum

Orton Geological Museum

Earth’s curiosities will please youngsters at free OSU museum

I discovered the Orton Geological Museum while as a student at the Ohio State University. I enjoyed exploring the architecture of older buildings on campus, such as Orton Hall, which dates back to 1893. It’s on the National Register of Historic Places and is well-known on campus for its beloved bell tower that chimes every 15 minutes.

You can enter the Orton Geological Museum from the Orton Hall lobby. The museum and building are named after geologist Edward Orton – Ohio State’s first president.

I liked to gaze at cases of crystals, fossils, meteorites and casts of dinosaur bones among the more than 54,000 specimens. But the showstopper remains the case of minerals that rest behind a black curtain. When you press a button, they glow in ultraviolet light.

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I recently returned to the free museum with my children. It’s part of the School of Earth Sciences and used for research, teaching and public display. What would Rosie and Max think of the concealed case of minerals?

Just being on campus was an adventure for my 6- and 8-year-old, but they were especially captivated by the little museum with signage that appeared to be as much relics as the items they explained. Like during past visits, there were no other people in the museum.

Rosie and Max saw for-sale items in a glass case before they spotted the fluorescent minerals. There were fossil shark teeth for 25 cents and handmade gemstone necklaces for $4. We rang a bell that triggered an academic-looking gentleman to assist us. We settled on two crystal-growing kits for $4.50 apiece.

“Did you see what’s behind the black curtain?” the man asked.

Rosie and Max ran behind the curtain before I had a chance to see their reactions.

“Push the button!” I said from outside.

“Wow, awesome!” I heard two little voices simultaneously say.

Mission accomplished.

The Orton Geological Museum is located at 155 S. Oval Mall. Hours are 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday through Friday and on evenings and weekends by appointment.

For more information call 614-292-6896 or visit