"The Bedford Historical Society was founded in 1955 to collect, preserve and interpret the history of Bedford, Bedford Township, and portions of the Western Reserve.
"It is a member of the American Association of Museums, The Ohio Association of Historical Societies and Museums, The Ohio Historical Society, The National Trust and the Northeast Ohio Inter-Museum Council.
"The holdings of the Bedford Historical Society are listed with the Library of Congress in Washington DC. Archival information is available to researchers locally, nationally and internationally."
I had heard about the society over the years, but hadn't visited until last night. My specific purpose was to learn what might be available about a resident and his family between 1840 and 1900. I had done extensive research on this family on Ancestry.com and other local and national websites, but I wanted to see if more info was available.
The answer is yes there is--and it is well organized for the researcher. For example, the society has compiled indexes to many of their holdings, such as burial records for the Bedford Cemetery, justice of the peace court dockets, and family history books. So I regard the trip as worthwhile and I will visit again soon!
The society maintains its library and museum in the former Bedford City Hall. Here are some of the features of the museum: The Abraham Lincoln and Civil War Room contains a historical collection of over 700 books, plus periodicals, pamphlets,other documents, portraits and artifacts on our 16th president. It also includes books on the Civil War era from both the Union and Confederate points of view with special emphasis on Ohio's role. Book publication dates range from the 1860s onward. The room also has a collection of Lincoln portraits, models, weaponry, camp equipment and other effects.
There is an area devoted to memorabilia of Archibald Willard, the artist from Norwalk, Ohio, who created the famous painting, "The Spirit of '76."
Many historical maps of Bedford and the surrounding area are on display, as are artifacts, furniture, and clothing items from the city's 200-year history.
Check out the society's website at http://www.bedfordohiohistory.org/index.php for more information.