The Start of It All exhibition mixes works of art and historical facts

LANCASTER — Who knew that the very first speeding ticket in the United States was handed out in 1904 in Dayton? The culprit was traveling an obscene speed of 12 miles per hour. Where America’s

LANCASTER — Who knew that the very first speeding ticket in the United States was handed out in 1904 in Dayton? The culprit was traveling an obscene speed of 12 miles per hour.

Where America’s first high school was approved by the Columbus Board of Education in 1909?

Or shock of shocks, Ohio State University didn’t work the first Ohio Script. This premiere was performed by the University of Michigan band as a sign of goodwill at the 1932 football game.

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These curious facts, and more, are paired with children’s picture book illustrations in the inventive ‘OHIO: The Beginning of It All’ exhibit, which runs through December 31 at the Center for the Decorative Arts in Lancaster Ohio. The more than 60 original children’s book works come from Findlay University’s Mazza Museum, home to the first and one of the largest collections of original picture book works.

Mazza Museum curator Dan Chudzinski mounted the exhibit with a theme similar to one that appeared in 2016 at the Riffe Gallery in Columbus. Each image is associated with a “first” fact in Ohio history and organized by theme across five galleries in the Center for Decorative Arts’ home in the Historic Reese-Peters House.

“My goal was to make it impossible for anyone to say nothing ever happens in Ohio,” Chudzinski said.

"Ribbit!" by Fred Bender

The exhibit includes Fred Bender’s whimsical illustration of a fireman frog from his flip-book “Ribbit!”, along with information that the first professional, fully-paid fire department in the United States has been established in 1853 in Cincinnati.

Beautiful two-panel depictions in acrylic, graphite and pen and ink of Brother Wright’s flights to Kitty Hawk, North Carolina – a hit, an accident – are from Alice and Martin Provensen’s book “The Glorious Flight”. With Dayton as the birthplace of Wilbur and Orville Wright, Ohio claims to be the birthplace of aviation.

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The fact of speeding is paired with an illustration by Steven Kellogg from “Barney Bipple’s Magic Dandelions” showing a police officer stopping a child driver in a yellow convertible. In real life, the driver at fault was of course not a child.

Accompanying the information on the first high school is a class scene from “Arthur’s Tooth” by Marc Brown, and the fact Script Ohio is associated with a cheerful watercolor of a marching band of children playing horns and drums in the Ted Rand’s book “My Shadow.”

"My shadow" by Ted Rand

Ohio’s participation in the Underground Railroad and other aspects of the abolitionist movement are noted in several illustrations, including Floyd Cooper’s beautiful watercolor and graphite depiction of a boy in a cotton field, “Juneteenth for Maize”.

There are many more facts and illustrations in this user-friendly exhibit that makes viewers want to stop and examine the works longer than expected.

The Mazza Museum – which began in 1982 as an idea of ​​its late founder, Jerry Mallett – now has 18,000 works of picture book art. The museum regularly presents exhibitions and programs.

Alongside “OHIO: The Start of It All,” an art exhibit fromHighlights for kids” magazine, whose business office is based in Columbus. The exhibit includes a copy of the first issue from 1946.

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In one look

“OHIO: The Beginning of Everything” continues through December 31 at the Ohio Center for the Decorative Arts, 145 E. Main St., Lancaster. Opening hours: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday to Friday, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Free entry. Call 740-681-1432 or visit