About the Museum

28 Clay St. Tiffin, Ohio 44883

Open Wednesday–Saturday

   12 pm - 5 pm

Portrait of Della Shawan.

  Our Mission

 The vision of the Seneca County   Museum is to inspire a sense of place   and history for Seneca County by   collecting, studying, interpreting, and   preserving the region’s cultural and   natural heritage. The Museum will be   the resource for scholars, historians,   and educators as well as history buffs.   The Museum will preserve and catalog   important objects and documents and   will use those items to provide   educational and cultural programs for   the public.   

History of the Museum

The Seneca County Museum is the former home of local businessman Rezin W. Shawhan.  Born October 19,1811. Shawhan arrived in Tiffin in 1832 and opened a store with his brother Lorenzo. The store's success enabled Rezin to expand his interests into real estate and banking. 

 Rezin's first wife Elvira Shawhan died in 1880. Upon his death in 1887, his estate was valued in excess of $1 million.  Much of it was bequeathed to his second wife, Della Watson Shawhan.  He also left bequests to Heidelberg College, the library, and Tiffin churches.  The Greek Revival-style house, built in 1853, was passed down through the family, ending with Lynn Troxel who, in 1941, donated it to the county for use as a museum. 
The house is a part of the Fort Ball-Railroad Historic District, listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1979.  
The portrait of Rezin Wells Shawhan  hangs in the drawing room at the museum. 
Portrait of Rezin Shawan.

History of the Barnes-Deinzer Seneca County Museum Foundation

The creation of the Seneca County Museum Foundation, Inc. in May 1977 established a platform for individuals, corporations and foundations to make financial gifts to the  Seneca County Museum.  At that time, Seneca County, Ohio owned and operated the museum.  Through the formation of the Foundation there would be an avenue to assist in raising funds and conduct activites for the benefit of the museum.  
The sale of Myron Barnes' book, "Between the Eighties," provided the seed money to establish the Seneca County Museum Foundation.  In addition, Mr. Barnes, who served as Museum Director from 1978 until his passing in 1985, bequeathed a sizable trust fund to the Foundation.   Several years later, the estate of former Foundation member  George Deinzer provided another generous gift.  

 To recognize these gentlemen for their lasting gifts to the Seneca County Museum, the trustees renamed the Foundation, the Barnes-Deinzer Seneca County Museum Foundation.  Income from the funds continues to assist with educational programs, maintenance of collections and overall care of the Museum buildings.                                            
In January 2021, the Seneca County Commissioners contracted a lease agreement with the Barnes-Deinzer Seneca County Museum Foundation to assume operation of the Museum. 

The photo of Mr. Myron Barnes standing in the Fort Ball Room during his years as Museum Director and the other  photo is of Mr. George Deinzer.  

                  Foundation Board & Director

Fran Fleet 

Board Member - President

John Huss 

Board Member - Vice-President

Jim Supance

Board Member - Treasurer

Jane Supance

Board Member - Secretary

Suzanne Smith

Board Member

Tom Sullivan

Board Member

Roxanna King 

Board Member

Tricia Valentine

Board Member

Judy Dennison Smith

Board Member


Theresa Sullivan

Executive Director

Become a Friend of the Museum

Show your support for the Seneca County Museum by becoming a  Friend / Benefactor.
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