History & Tourism

Fate Of Johnny Appleseed Museum Uncertain

14 Jun , 2020  

By: 1812Blockhouse Staff

Richland County and John Chapman, better known as Johnny Appleseed, were well acquainted back in the day.

He lived here, owned land here, and planted apple trees and orchards here through much of his adult life. Mansfield has long claimed Johnny as one of its own. And, of course, the Johnny Appleseed Historic Byway runs through the area.

On several occasions, we have shared stories focusing on some aspect of his connection to the area, as well as posts talking about those who promote his legacy today.

Two years ago, for instance, we shared information about a man seeking to pinpoint where Johnny is buried in Fort Wayne — a question with a surprisingly uncertain answer. We have also profiled a company that is selling “heirloom” cuttings so that you can own your very own Appleseed apple tree.

This summer, his legacy is back in the news with the suddenly uncertain fate of the Johnny Appleseed Education Center and Museum on the campus of Urbana University in Urbana, the largest collection of material related to his life and mission.

According to the Museum’s website, that includes:

  • A cider press (circa 1850) used to process apples from trees planted by Johnny Appleseed in Champaign County
  • Wood and bark from original trees he planted in Ohio and Indiana
  • Photos of monuments and markers dedicated to Johnny Applseed
  • Many publications about his life and legend, as well as pop culture items such as dolls, comic books, and corporate advertisements
  • Trees created from seedlings from the last of his known plantings.

Just two years ago, the facility moved and expanded.

This April, the University, operating most recently as a branch campus of Franklin University, announced its closure at the end of the Spring 2020 semester. All academics will be transferred to the main campus in Columbus. The fate of the Appleseed Center and Museum, however, is not known.

In FAQs shared on its website, the University shared the following:

Will the Johnny Appleseed Museum be impacted by this decision due to its location within Brown Hall?

A final decision has not been made regarding the Johnny Appleseed Museum’s current location on the Urbana branch campus. Officials are looking into all aspects of this question and will post an update when a decision is made.

We will continue to follow this story here at 1812Blockhouse and will share news of what is decided about the Museum.

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