Museum Exhibits - Visitor's Guide

Welcome!Welcome to Syracuse's only comprehensive local history museum, a facility operated  by Onondaga Historical Association, a private organization that has been collecting, preserving and exhibiting Onondaga County's heritage since 1862.  This museum is free, however, we encourage donations.  To help us preserve the unique artifacts on display, we ask that you please refrain from touching them.  If you want more information on OHA, its programs, activities, membership and donation opportunities, please click on the appropriate links on this website, ask at the reception desk or call 315-428-1864.

Onondaga Historical Museum
321 Montgomery St.
Syracuse, NY   13202
(315) 428-1864
Museum Hours:
Wed-Fri 10-4:00
Sat-Sun 11-4:00

Getting to OHA is easy – just follow the directions and map, below:

From 690 Westbound:
Take Townsend St. exit.  Turn left at bottom of ramp.  Go to 4th light (Fayette St.) and turn right onto Fayette St.  Go to 2nd light (Montgomery St.) and turn left onto Montgomery St.  OHA is halfway down the block on the left at 321 Montgomery St.

From 690 Eastbound:
Take West St. exit.  At first light after off-ramp (intersection with Fayette St.) turn left onto Fayette St.  Go to 5th light (intersection with Montgomery St.) and turn right onto Montgomery St.  OHA is halfway down the block on the left at 321 Montgomery St.

From 81 Southbound:
Take Clinton St. exit.  Travel south on Clinton Street until 6th light at Fayette St.  Turn left onto Fayette St.  Go to the 3rd light and turn right onto Montgomery St.  OHA is halfway down the block on the left at 321 Montgomery St.

From 81 Northbound:
Take Adams St. exit.  Travel north on Almond Street until 5th light at Fayette St.  Turn left onto Fayette St.  Go to the 4th light and turn left onto Montgomery St.  OHA is halfway down the block on the left at 321 Montgomery St.

We recommend parking in the garage on the corner of Fayette Street and Montgomery Street.  The entrance is on Fayette Street, between State Street and Montgomery Street.  The price is lower than street parking for 2 hours – just $1/hour for the first 2 hours, and it is closer to OHA than the majority of street parking available (including many of those on Montgomery Street) and you won’t get an expensive parking ticket just because your meter time ran out!

Other parking facilities are marked on the map, and there is, of course, metered parking available on surface streets.

Main Gallery
Onondaga County:  The Heart of New York
permanent exhibition

A comprehensive presentation of the distinctive and diverse history of Onondaga County.  The area's people, commerce, architecture and transportation systems are highlighted using items from the extensive and unique OHA collections.

The Franklin and the rise of the Automobile Age
permanent exhibition

The saga of the once-grand Franklin automobile company, from its beginning in 1902 until its demise in 1934.

The 1902 Franklin light roadster on view is the first Franklin automobile ever sold!  It is on loan from the Smithsonian Institution.  Historic photos of the Franklin factory, autos, and employees, as well as, brochures, 1920's styling model of a Franklin sedan, and vintage driving attire are also on display.

Franklin Automobile Photographs Online

East Gallery
Freedom Bound:  Syracuse and the Underground Railroad
ongoing exhibition

A cutting edge exhibit that interprets the anti-slavery movement and Underground Railroad in Syracuse & Onondaga County.  Three of the carved faces from the basement of the Wesleyan Methodist Church are on display.  A provacative object theater offers a dramatic audio & light projection program that brings to life the struggles of escaping slaves and their journey to freedom.

Onondaga Historical Museum Auditorium
The Jerry Rescue - An Audio / Visual Presentation
audio-visual presentation

A dramatic, first person audio / visual interpretation of the watershed Jerry Rescue of 1 October 1851, a Syracuse anti-slavery event that resounded across the country, even inside the very walls of the White House!  Watch Lucy Watkins recall this momentous event on the big screen.


West Gallery
Syracuse China:
Fired Forms of the American Experience

The saga of a product that has taken the 'Syracuse' name to all corners of theglobe.  Rare artifacts and film.

GambrinusGambrinus:  Icon of Brewing
Syracuse Brewing History exhibit

The story of the famous Haberle Brewing Company and Gambrinus, a cast zinc sculpture that once projected from the brewery's facade..

Our Space

Housed in the landmark 1906 Bell Telephone Building, the engaging photos, paintings, maps and rare artifacts in the OHA Museum galleries can provide a fascinating backdrop for a meeting or reception.

OHA can provide the following to ensure that your meeting / event is a total success:

  • 600 sq. ft. conference room, seating 50 auditorium-style, 30 at tables.
  • Audio-visual theater, with projecting booth, seating 40-50.
  • Lobby / Gallery areas of 5,000 sq. ft., available for receptions.
  • Gift Shop offers a unique line of historically themed books and other gift items.
An alternative entertainment venue for your meeting / event participants:
  • Walking tours of the downtown historic districts
  • Ongoing and changing exhibits
  • Opportunities for research support to highlight the local historical aspects of your group / organization

If you are interested in additional information including applicable fees, please call:  (315) 428-1864

Group and School Tours can be arranged, call the Education Office at (315) 428-1864

The Basement


We use the basement for our Ghostwalks and Christmas events. To read about the flooding of our basement, please click here: The Flood of 2005 and our Recovery

Onondaga Historical Association
321 Montgomery St.,  Syracuse, NY. 13202
Phone 315-428-1864, Fax: 315-471-2133