The Thornburg Carriage House is home to our collections
that pay homage to the businesses that represented the Industrial
Era here in Ashland County. Myers, Faultless Rubber, Hess and
Clark, Garber’s, and many others helped make this county great.
Be sure to see the Brucato glass exhibit by Sam’s sons, David and
Mike and their spouses, Amy and Becky
Upstairs, the Thornburg Natural History Museum houses our collection of primitive tools, and household goods, many of which
belonged to the very first settlers of our county, the Carter’s. There is a replica of the Carter cabin, the first, made out of the wood from the original cabin when it was torn down. The Thornburg’s were descended from the Carter’s and we are very lucky to have their collection. The Insect collection is housed there as well. Thomas Thornburg spent many years collecting and writing to other collectors all over the world to trade insects with them. The result is the second largest insect collection in the U.S.
Thomas Thornburg was born May 3, 1861 in Ashland County, and developed an early interest in entomology. By the age of seven or eight years old, Thomas started collecting insects. This interest continued for the next 70 plus years. In 1939, he donated his collection to Ashland High School. Unfortunately, the school ran out of space, and the collection was transferred to the College. It was kept in the Carriage House when the College owned the property. The collection contains 25,000 specimens. Some of the insects date back 150 years. There is one insect labeled by Dr. David Livingstone, the well known explorer of Africa. The really amazing part of the story is that Thomas Thornburg never left the United States. He did all this collecting by getting involved with other collectors, and writing to them and trading insects with them. In fact, years after his death, his children and grandchildren would still receive letters at the family farm, asking if they could spare a certain ant or orchard bug, and they would send one of the children to get one, process it and send it to the collector.