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Warther Museum, Dover

#1 of 10 in Things to do in Dover
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 Reviews
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377 reviews
  • We had a guided tour and then stayed and went through the museum, the button area, and the grounds. This place is one of my top recommendations. The hand carved trains and other items are incredible. ...  more »
  • I came to Dover on business. I had time to kill. They said go tour the Warther Museum. I loved it! The guided tour is wonderful and the carving / art is amazing. As is the story of this guy. That was ...  more »
  • Very nice tour. Tour guides are passionate about preserving the legacy of Ernest "Mooney" Warther. He was a genius and his carvings are beautiful. Loved the button room, too! His wife Frieda collected buttons and designed lovely creations. Can't wait to go back in the summer and walk the gardens.
  • Went to this museum last year. It was amazing to see all the wood carvings this man done during his life. You will not regret going. Also see the Button house on the same property done by his wife. Loved it. Can't wait to see it again.

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