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Warther Museum, Dover

#1 of 10 in Things to do in Dover
Must see · Specialty Museum · Museum
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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416 reviews
  • John at the Warther museum was a fantastic guide He was very informative and we enjoyed listening to him He even shed a little blood for us! He answered all our questions with enthusiasm We’ve...  more »
  • So, WOW! What a great museum this is. One may easily spend 2-3 hours here. Overflow parking exists in the rear of the building. The tour guides are very passionate and knowledgeable about the artist.....  more »
  • The story of Ernest Warther and his carvings is definitely interesting, and the museum is certainly worth a visit. The intricacy of the carvings is positively astounding and it is amazing to think of the time and effort that was expended to create these true works of art. The gardens seemed less impressive, but, I was there at a time before they could fully bloom. Count on spending a couple of hours to go on the guided tour, look around, and explore all the different aspects of this man's most fascinating obsession.
  • Love this museum & bring friends here when they visit. And their knives are the best anywhere! I love mine so much! The finest quality! It's amazing to have this in our small community. Mooney had such talent!!!!

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