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“Really Neat, but a little small” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Blair Museum of Lithophanes

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Blair Museum of Lithophanes
5403 Elmer Drive, Toledo, OH 43615
419-936-2986
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Ranked #12 of 30 Attractions in Toledo
Type: Specialty Museums, Museums
Attraction details
Toledo, Ohio
Top Contributor
93 reviews 93 reviews
35 attraction reviews
Reviews in 36 cities Reviews in 36 cities
54 helpful votes 54 helpful votes
“Really Neat, but a little small”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 10, 2011

Really interesting place!! The staff are helpful and knowledgeable. The place is kind of hard to find. We ended up wandering around looking for the building because we parked far away. Bring the phone number, you might need to call for directions. We did and we still got somewhat lost. It was really worth it when we finally found it!

Visited December 2010
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15 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Toledo, Ohio
Top Contributor
140 reviews 140 reviews
74 attraction reviews
Reviews in 48 cities Reviews in 48 cities
143 helpful votes 143 helpful votes
“Visit the gardens and this museum!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 11, 2009

Both the museum, and the Toledo Botanical Gardens are FREE to visit! The Gardens and this Museum make the trip doubly worth it! I am told that this is the worlds only lithophanes museum. This is a great way to spend time!

Parking is free, admission is free except for special events.

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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ohio
Contributor
18 reviews 18 reviews
7 attraction reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
39 helpful votes 39 helpful votes
“A hidden gem”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 18, 2008

Who would think Toledo, Ohio, would have the only museum dedicated to lithophanes in the world?

This museum, located in a small house on the property of the Toledo Botanical Gardens, is filled with more than 2,300 antique lithophanes. Lithophanes is derived from the words "litho" meaning "stone" and "phane" meaning light. Basically, they are intricate porcelain castings that are lit from behind to reveal the image cast into the stone.

You can't really see this large of a collection anywhere else in the world!

The museum gives tours May-September from 1-4 pm on Saturdays and Sundays, which other days/times by appointment. The tour is free, with donations encouraged.

You start the tour in the main room of the house, watching a short video about lithophanes and Laurel Blair, the man whose personal collection is now the museum's holdings. The guide then takes you into the first room to explain what a lithophane is and show the process of making one.

From there, it's a magical experience, as you walk into each room and the tour guide flips the switches to suddenly reveal dazzling images in the lithophanes. There's everything from the Effiel Tower to Abraham Lincoln and from religious imagery to nursery tales.

Of special note is a recently acquired 3-D model of a Greek temple with a tiny lithophane inside, the largest known lithophane (an image of Mount Vesuvias erupting) and the largest simple-cast lithophane lamp shade (which features hunting imagery).

The tour lasts about 30-45 minutes, depending how many questions you want to ask and the tour guide you get. The place is staffed by a sweet group of older ladies who all take such joy in sharing lithophanes. We had the niece of Laurel Blair when we went through, and she was such a delight, sharing all her stories about growing up with lithophanes and starting the museum.

I can't recommend this museum enough to people who live in the Toledo area and to those who come to Toledo for a visit. The only down part is that they don't have more space -- they said they only have a fraction of the lithophanes out for display. I can only imagine what other near things are hidden away.

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