COSHOCTON -- The Johnson-Humrickhouse Museum in Coshocton will host the "Breweriana -- Preserving the History of the American Brewing Industry" exhibit from June 24 to Sept. 24.
Admission to the Breweriana exhibit at Johnson-Humrickhouse Museum, 300 N. Whitewoman Street, Coshocton, is $4 for adults and $3 for children.
The exhibit portrays America's brewing past through industry packaging and advertising over the past 130 years.
The term "Breweriana" refers to any article containing a brewery name or brand name, particularly collectibles. Hundreds of breweries will be represented by a wide array of objects from tin signs and trays to cans, bottles, coasters and taps.
Most of the breweries are long gone, but visitors will recognize the names of the cities and small towns where they once thrived. The diversity of items will quench your thirst for beauty, history, wit and comedy.
Were beer advertisements in 1916 any different than todays? Yes and no.
Beautiful people and sexy women were common. Humor was also used, often by showing serious people doing silly things. But there were eye-catching differences, too.
When breweries wanted to show how productive they were, they showed their plants spewing out smoke from their stacks and sometimes exaggerated the size of their brewery.
Another popular motif was to link the beer to Germany or England. Illustrations abound of people dressed in European clothing while drinking beer in their drawing rooms, at the local pub or while taking a break from a fox hunt.
Of course any time we look back a hundred years we are surprised by the stereotypes that were acceptable in that age. The brewing industry was no different than its times.
Today regional and microbreweries are popping up all over. One might call it a revival of 19th century American production styles, similar to Europe's ongoing approach.
Imagine a time when many towns (and all cities) had their own brewery and you'll have an idea of the diversity of places and brands represented in the show. Typically, breweries were located near rivers and canals to allow transportation of both raw materials and finished beer.
Take a look at just one river in Ohio, the Tuscarawas, which begins in southern Summit County and continues through Stark, Tuscarawas and Coshocton counties, eventually adding to the Mississippi.
While only 130 miles in length, 27 breweries used it or its adjacent canal for transportation. You'll see on display photos, signs, and trays from many of these breweries, such as Giessen & Bakers Brewery in Canton, Massillon Brewing Co., Dover Brewery, and Tuscarawas Valley Brewing Company in Niles.
Coshocton County is eminently suited to host such an extensive and unique display of brewing advertising. The specialty advertising industry was launched in Coshocton in 1884.
It began when newspaper man Jasper Meek made use of his steam printing press to lithograph a shoe store ad onto a burlap school bag. Only a few years later (1890), Henry Beach, Meek's competitor, developed a process to lithograph on metal signs using a steam press -- a first worldwide.
As a result, Coshocton became the center of advertising art in America and perhaps, for a time, in the world.
By the turn of the 20th century, there were more artists living in Coshocton than in any other American city, barring New York. They were creating images for signs and trays, most of which advertised breweries or beer from all over the United States and even Europe.
After prohibition was enacted in 1920, a number of companies went out of business; others survived by switching to advertising soda or making calendars. The Meek Company, renamed American Art Works, became known for its Coca Cola trays.
The Johnson-Humrickhouse Museum's Breweriana exhibit is one of the largest displays dedicated to the history of beer in America. Unlike Germany and other European nations, the US has no federal museum dedicated to beer. (A few private museums have been started in the past ten years).
Consequently, the exhibit is a must-see, not only for its historical value but for its wonderful graphic art.
Exhibit sponsors are the Beach Company, Joshen Paper and Packaging, and Novelty Advertising. The Ohio Arts Council also helped fund this event with state tax dollars to encourage economic growth, educational excellence and cultural enrichment for all Ohioans.
The Johnson-Humrickhouse Museum also has four permanent galleries:
The American Indian Gallery displays prehistoric tools and points and 19th century basketry and beadwork.
The Historic Ohio Gallery includes local history, a hands-on area for children, an impressive firearms display, and an advertising art display (including the printing press Jasper Meek used for the first articles of advertising art).
In the Asian Gallery, Chinese and Japanese sculpture, decorative arts and weaponry are displayed.
The Golden Gallery features a WWI display, a Victorian nook, and the Newark Holy Stones.
The Johnson-Humrickhouse Museum is open daily from 12 to 5 p.m.
The museum is located in Historic Roscoe Village, a restored canal-era town located along the former Ohio & Erie Canal. Roscoe Village offers many attractions. Costumed interpreters lead tours through the restored buildings, and numerous shops are situated within the village.
For more information contact the Johnson-Humrickhouse Museum, 740-622-8710, or visit its website at email@example.com.