The John Hay Center
The John Hay Center
5
Speciality Museums
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Tuesday
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Wednesday
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Thursday
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Friday
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Saturday
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
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Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.

5.0
16 reviews
Excellent
15
Very good
1
Average
0
Poor
0
Terrible
0

Ginny067
Lakeside Park, KY36 contributions
Jul 2020
I loved the first floor exhibits. There were so many details. Who saved all this stuff and how did it manage to get in a museum? I liked looking at the doctor's office display and the parlor with the square piano. Upstairs one room had sports items; there was an old basketball outfit, with the shorts and the warmup jacket. The log cabin village outside was interesting and very pretty. Didn't have time to go through it.
I would definitely recommend this museum.
Written 1 August 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Marjorie M
Salem, IN141 contributions
Aug 2019
The John Hay Center is made up of many historical buildings, some of which are at their original location (the John Hay House) and some of which have been moved there to make a village scene. The Stevens Museum has fascinating exhibits and offers small group private after hours tours as well as genealogical research.
Written 3 September 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

interceptpubs
Columbus, IN1,019 contributions
Oct 2018 • Solo
A few years ago, we set out to visit all of the counties in the state, including their county museums (if they had one). It took us about three years, but we did it. As might be imagined, the quality varied from county to county - some were good, some were bad, etc. The Stevens Museum here in Salem was one of the good ones. It is actually part of a museum complex (the John Hay Center) for Washington County - in addition to the Stevens museum, there is the small house that was the birthplace of John Hay - secretary to President Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War and Secretary of State for Presidents William McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt at the end of the 19th century, the pioneer village - a reconstruction of several building from the 1830s, and the depot museum - a Monon Railroad museum. We recently were back in Salem and decided to revisit the Stevens Museum.

The museum houses artifacts detailing the county's history in very fine detail. Almost all aspects are covered: early settlement, natural and Native American history, military service, business, religion, toys, education, sports, etc. Part of the museum tour is self-guided, while other parts are led by a knowledgeable docent. It took us about an hour to cover everything, For three dollars, it is a pretty good deal.

We were particularly impressed by the military gallery - as one might expect, much of the material on display involves the service histories of individual Washington County men and women during the nation's military conflict, but perhaps the most interesting material relates to Morgan's Raid in Indiana during the Civil War. His men passed through the county and on display is a carpet bag left by one of them, a note written by Morgan himself, and other artifacts relating to the raid.

While here, we also looked in on the John Hay birthplace. This modest house has been restored and redecorated with 1840 period furniture and decorations (Hay was born in 1838).

Although they were not open during our visit on an October Saturday morning, the center's other attractions also appear to be first class. The pioneer village recreates a number of structures from that same 1840 time period: jail, blacksmith, school, church, post office, general store, etc. The depot museum, as the name implies, reproduces a train depot - inside is a large HO scale model railroad layout, while a restored Monon caboose sits under cover outside. The Stevens Museum also houses a genealogy library and has a small gift shop, mainly selling books on local history.
Written 21 October 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Marjorie M
Salem, IN141 contributions
May 2018
The John Hay Center features the Stevens Museum, a geneology research area, and many historical buildings that were brought into the center to replica a village green. It also features the John Hay House. For a small community, the quality is excellent.
Written 23 September 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Kathy S
Clearwater, FL3 contributions
Aug 2017 • Family
Run by the most friendly and well informed people in their community ... we only visited once but got much more than expected ... was a very productive visit ..
Written 20 August 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

920piratejenny
Asheville, NC49 contributions
Aug 2017 • Family
My son and I were guided by a Hay Center history consultant to the 2nd floor of the artifact museum and learned so much, as well as visiting the first floor glassed in displays. Photos of my Mom and her family are displayed, and many of the items are donations from local families. I love the Genealogy Library and could study there for days.
Written 17 August 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Mavenhawk
Indianapolis, IN14 contributions
Jul 2017 • Family
Didn't really know what to expect. Only had time for the museum and unfortunately not the village and train depot. Talk about a well put together, stuffed full of history and immaculate museum. Completely worth the small price they charge for admittance.
Very glad we stopped.
Written 8 July 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

stargazerlilly2014
Alpharetta, GA137 contributions
Sep 2016 • Couples
I just can't tel you how gracious the folks are in Salem! Found this little gem of a museum and it was excellent. People have worked really hard and are proud and it is evident. If you have time, check it out!
Written 3 November 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

becarpenterjr
Pekin, IN85 contributions
Oct 2016
This is a really nice log cabin recreation and historical area. The Center has some really nice historical items you can view, including a selection of weaved coverlets.
Written 1 November 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

historylv2014
Albuquerque, NM95 contributions
Sep 2016 • Couples
I will admit that I tagged along with my husband who really had to go there. It was raining and there is not a lot to do in Salem. But we ended up staying all day. It was interesting and the staff and volunteers work very hard and are knowledgeable. It is a model for every other state historical group!
Written 8 October 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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The John Hay Center (Salem) - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go

Frequently Asked Questions about The John Hay Center

The John Hay Center is open:
  • Tue - Sat 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM