The International Peace Museum

Coordinates: 39°45′35″N 84°11′36″W / 39.7597864°N 84.1932922°W / 39.7597864; -84.1932922
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The International Peace Museum
Former name
Dayton International Peace Museum
EstablishedMay 27, 2003; 20 years ago (2003-05-27)
Location10 N. Ludlow Street
Dayton, OH, 45402, USA
Coordinates39°45′35″N 84°11′36″W / 39.7597864°N 84.1932922°W / 39.7597864; -84.1932922
TypePeace museum

The International Peace Museum (formerly the Dayton International Peace Museum) is a non-profit, peace museum located on historic Courthouse Square in downtown Dayton, Ohio, United States. The museum's mission is to promote, through education and collaboration, a more equitable, civil, and peaceful world. Its programs and exhibits are non-partisan, secular, and feature themes of conflict resolution, equity, social justice, tolerance, and protecting our natural world. It commemorates the 1995 Dayton Agreement that ended the war in Bosnia. It is "America's only brick-and-mortar peace museum."[1]

International Peace Museum Exhibit Space

In addition to functioning as a traditional museum, the Peace Museum serves as an activities center for those who seek a community of peace. The Museum features permanent, temporary, and traveling exhibits that highlight the rich history of, and potential for, nonviolent solutions to conflict and sustainability in the natural world.[2] The Museum hosts two to three guest exhibits annually.

The International Peace Museum by Courthouse Square
Event at International Peace Museum

Located in the Courthouse Plaza Building on Dayton's Courthouse Square, the Peace Museum includes a library, an interactive children's room, a studio, the Jack Meagher Gallery, traveling and permanent collections, a stage, and small gift shop. The Museum holds events such as book discussions and live music, storytelling, and guest speakers.[3]

The museum is open from 10 A.M to 5 P.M Friday and Saturday for visitors and Tuesday -Thursday for scheduled school visits and group tours. The admission is $5, and it is free for members.[4]


The Dayton International Peace Museum was founded in 2004 by farmers Ralph and Christine Dull, along with J. Frederick Arment, Lisa Wolters, and Steve Fryburg. The world's first peace museum opened in 1902 in Lucene, Switzerland.[5] The museum is run by Executive Director Kevin Kelly. It was the second peace museum to be created in the United States; the first was The Peace Museum in Chicago, Illinois, which closed in 2006. It is the only comprehensive peace museum in the Western Hemisphere still with a physical location.[1] Peace Museum Colorado opened in 2018, focusing on Peace Heroes.[6]

In 2005, the museum moved into Dayton's historic Isaac Pollack House. In 2014, the 1877 structure was refitted with modern technology. The new equipment allowed the Peace Museum to produce multimedia, interactive exhibits, and to broadcast programs and virtual exhibits to multiple rooms.

Ralph and Christine Dull were long-time peace activists and members of the Fellowship of Reconciliation, receiving numerous awards for books published and their work around the local area. Ralph received the 2009 Pioneer of Ohio Award from Green Energy Ohio and the National EPA Award for Environmental Stewardship in 2010.[7]

Museum founders, Chris and Ralph Dull, with Paul K. Chappell, founder of The Peace Literacy Institute.

Since their departure, the museum has maintained a focus on local change, meeting with local leaders and encouraging broader interpretations of peace within the community. In 2017, the museum participated in the local "Building Peace Through the Arts" initiative alongside the University of Dayton, Dayton Philharmonic, and other local arts institutions. More recently, in response to the 2019 Dayton shooting and rising gun violence in the U.S., the museum partnered with the Facing Project to publish a collection of 16 stories detailing the experience of gun-violence survivors.[8] The book Facing Gun Violence: It’s Always Close to Home for Someone was released on August 1, 2020.[9]

In September 2021 the museum temporarily closed for visitors due to the pandemic. During that time, it hosted regular virtual yoga classes, discussions, and educational presentations.[10] It opened again in May 2022 in a new facility on Courthouse Square.[11] Its first new exhibit since the pandemic was a photography series by Bernard Kleina on Martin Luther King Jr.'s Chicago Freedom Movement.[12][13]

Current initiatives[edit]

The museum is an active member of the Peace in Our Cities global initiative, the Austrian Service Abroad program, the Association of Children's Museums, and are on the advisory board of the International Network of Museums of Peace based in Kyoto.[14] The Museum partners with the International Cities of Peace,[15] University of Dayton Human Rights Center,[16] ThinkTV, the Kyiv Peace Museum, and the Srebenica Genocide Memorial in Bosnia and Herzegovina, among others.[17]

Educational Program Activity

The museum hosts a number of different permanent and temporary exhibits, notably featuring an extensive exhibit on the Dayton Peace Accords, complete with interactive panels and touchscreens. Their exhibit on the peace accords is the most extensive of its kind[18] and was digitized for the 25th anniversary in 2020. It is currently available on the museum's website.[19] The museum features the "positive work people are doing all over the world to promote peace", including Dayton Peace Heroes.[20][21]

Outside of their exhibitions, the museum's standing programs include several discussion based events, with "Building Peace" talks given on a variety of topics by guest speakers and a series of community discussions on Martin Luther King Jr.'s writings called "MLK Dialogues." Outside of the talks, they also host an annual summer camp for children, and periodic programs on Kingian Nonviolence, mediation, peace literacy education, and compassionate education.[18] The Dayton Peace Trail honors the local "spaces of peace and justice."[22]

The museum has also held larger events for the community, partnering with former NFL player and Dayton native Chris Borland in the wake of the 2019 Dayton shooting for the inaugural Dayton Peace Festival. Held over three days, the event combined music and free yoga sessions with serious discussions on the gun violence and the community.[23][24]

Tour group visiting the museum

The Museum's current Executive Director, Kevin Kelly, has also been active within local media, writing guest opinion columns in the Columbus Dispatch and Dayton Daily News on racial and social justice. He has most recently written on the legacies of civil rights icons Martin Luther King Jr. and John Lewis in the contexts of the 2021 storming of the United States Capitol,[25] political tension,[26] and the COVID-19 pandemic.[27]

The Museum is also the official repository of each fiction and nonfiction book submitted annually to the Dayton Literary Peace Prize. Recent winners of the Richard Holbrooke Award include John Irving, Alice Hoffman, Elie Wiesel, Chanel Miller, and Hala Alyan.[28]

Isaac Pollack House[edit]

The Isaac Pollack House in 2017

Built in 1877, the Isaac Pollack House has been the home of the Dayton International Peace Museum since 2004. After emigrating to Dayton from Riedseltz, France in 1854, Isaac Pollack went into business with Soloman Ruah, a fellow immigrant, as whisky and wine dealers. Both men grew to be important civic leaders, with Pollack especially recognized for his service as defending Cincinnati during the Civil War.

Following the end of the war, both men started development on identical houses next to each other. Constructed in Renaissance and Baroque styles, no expense was spared for either house. Hand carved stonework and oak floors filled the interior, all capped off with an ornate Mansard roof. After building finished in 1877, the families flipped a coin to decide which house each got, with Pollack ending up with the house at 319 West Third Avenue. Pollack retired and moved out of the house in 1903, passing away soon after in 1908.

After leaving the Pollack family, the house passed through several hands, largely serving as a home and dance studio. In 1954 Montgomery County bought both houses and, while demolishing Ruah's neighboring house, kept the Pollack House standing against pressure to redevelop the area. In 1974, the house was added to the National Register of Historic Places and, three years later in 1977, was bought from the county and was moved to its current location on Monument Avenue.

In 2005, the Isaac Pollack House became the museum's home until September 2021.[29] On May 27, 2022, the Museum reopened with a ribbon-cutting ceremony in their new location at 10 N Ludlow St off Courthouse Plaza.[30]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Russell Jr., Florence (2 June 2022). "TODAY" International Peace Museum celebrates grand reopening with exhibit spotlighting exclusive MLK photographs"". Dayton Daily News. Retrieved 22 Aug 2023.
  2. ^ "Museums expose hatred, embrace peace". dayton. Retrieved 2023-08-22.
  3. ^ "Museums expose hatred, embrace peace". dayton. Retrieved 2023-08-22.
  4. ^ "Plan Your Visit". International Peace Museum. Retrieved 2022-07-19.
  5. ^ "History of Peace Museums". Retrieved 2023-08-27.
  6. ^ "About Us". Peace Museum Colorado. Retrieved 2023-08-27.
  7. ^ "Ralph & Chris Dull | Dayton International Peace Museum". 2019-07-18. Retrieved 2021-02-09.
  8. ^ "FACING GUN VIOLENCE". Facing Project. Retrieved 2023-08-27.
  9. ^ Powell, Lisa. "Dayton International Peace Museum releases book that tells personal stories of gun violence". dayton-daily-news. Retrieved 2021-02-09.
  10. ^ "Zensdays go virtual, as home workout options continue to expand". dayton-daily-news. Retrieved 2023-08-22.
  11. ^ Florence, Russell Jr. "TODAY: International Peace Museum celebrates grand reopening with exhibit spotlighting exclusive MLK photographs". dayton-daily-news. Retrieved 2022-07-19.
  12. ^ "TODAY: International Peace Museum celebrates grand reopening with exhibit spotlighting exclusive MLK photographs". dayton. Retrieved 2023-08-22.
  13. ^ "Dayton International Peace Museum to reopen today, feature rare MLK photos". WHIO TV 7 and WHIO Radio. 2022-06-02. Retrieved 2023-08-27.
  14. ^ "Not bad for 2020: Museum Initiatives Continued on | Dayton International Peace Museum". 2020-11-16. Retrieved 2021-02-09.
  15. ^ "International Cities of Peace – A Vision for Global Community". Retrieved 2023-08-27.
  16. ^ "Human Rights Center : University of Dayton, Ohio". Retrieved 2023-08-27.
  17. ^ "Partners". International Peace Museum. Retrieved 2023-08-22.
  18. ^ a b Moss, Meredith. "Museums expose hatred, embrace peace". dayton-daily-news. Retrieved 2021-02-09.
  19. ^ "The Dayton Peace Accords | Dayton International Peace Museum". 2019-10-04. Retrieved 2021-02-09.
  20. ^ "Museums expose hatred, embrace peace". dayton. Retrieved 2023-08-22.
  21. ^ "New exhibit at Dayton's International Peace Museum focuses on cluster bombs, Vietnam War". dayton-daily-news. Retrieved 2023-09-29.
  22. ^ "Dayton Peace Trail". International Peace Museum. Retrieved 2023-08-22.
  23. ^ "Chris Borland returns home to promote peace in wake of Dayton shooting". 18 September 2019. Retrieved 2021-03-18.
  24. ^ Archdeacon, Tom. "Archdeacon: Athletes, poignant moments open Peace Festival". dayton-daily-news. Retrieved 2021-03-18.
  25. ^ Kelly, Kevin; Columnist, Guest. "VOICES: Hatred of those who hate us robs us of our ability to love". dayton-daily-news. Retrieved 2021-03-18.
  26. ^ "VOICES: Now that the voting is over, can we pull up the yard signs and be neighbors?". dayton-daily-news. Retrieved 2023-08-22.
  27. ^ "IDEAS: Gov. DeWine should channel John Lewis and get into 'good trouble' when it comes to masks". dayton-daily-news. Retrieved 2021-03-18.
  29. ^ "The Curious History of the Isaac Pollack House | Dayton International Peace Museum". 2019-11-04. Retrieved 2021-03-18.
  30. ^ "Plan Your Visit". International Peace Museum. Retrieved 2023-08-22.

McCarty, Mary. Give peace a chance. Dayton Daily News.

Walsh, Andrew. Courthouse Square's Resilience: Challenges and Possibilities for Tomorrow. Dayton Vistas. 27 Sept. 2023.

External links[edit]