42nd Annual AJHA Convention
Columbus, Ohio | Sept. 28-30, 2023
All photos courtesy Experience Columbus
Greetings from the Local Hosts
Columbus, Ohio welcomes the AJHA to our 42nd annual convention! Now is your chance to soak up the energy and creativity of “the heart of the heartland.”
This heart-shaped state has a booming tech industry, especially in the Columbus area. Of course, there’s a youthful, arty vibe given one of the largest universities in the United States is located in the city. The renowned zoo and aquarium is on the outskirts of town, and the Ohio Statehouse is just a short walk away from our hotel.
The Local Host Committee recommends several sights if you have time to linger in Columbus.
The city’s many historic neighborhoods include German Village, just to the south of the conference hotel. Built in the mid-19th century by German settlers, the area’s leafy streets are lined with traditional architecture, German-themed eateries like Schmidt’s Sausage Haus, and plenty of German beer halls and gastropubs. It is home to The Book Loft, which has 32 rooms filled with books, posters, greeting cards and board games.
The Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum is a research library affiliated with Ohio State, boasting the world’s largest collection of materials related to cartoons and comics, original art, magazines, journals, comic books, newspaper comic strips and clippings. The Cartoon Crossroads Columbus festival is being held the same weekend of the AJHA convention, but Jenny Robb, head curator of Comics and Cartoon Art at the museum has agreed to take time out of her busiest weekend of the year to speak at an AJHA panel. The museum is unable to accommodate our entire group at once, but individuals are welcome to attend various festival events as schedules allow. Robb’s talk will no doubt inspire some return trips for scholars interested in political cartoons and other historical treasures in the museum’s extensive archives.
If you want to enjoy some early-autumn air, the Scioto Mile is one of the city’s most beautiful green spaces and is just a few blocks from the conference hotel. This collection of parks and trails covers more than 175 acres in downtown Columbus with a network of paths following the Scioto River on both sides, offering lovely scenery along the way.
The Ohio Statehouse took 22 years to build, and you’ll see why once you have a chance to marvel at the interior details. The Greek Revival masterpiece completed in 1861 is just three blocks north of the hotel, at the corner of Broad and High streets. Guided tours are available every day, except on state holidays. Walk-in tours start on the hour, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on weekdays, and on the hour, 12 to 3 p.m. on weekends. Or feel free to go the self-guided route as your Local Host Committee did back in April. The building is on several acres of manicured gardens, and, of course, admission is free.
The Columbus Museum of Art is well worth a visit, housing outstanding late nineteenth and early twentieth-century American and European modern works of art in the permanent collection, as well as other temporary exhibitions and a fantastic museum store. The downtown museum is located at 480 E. Broad Street, a mile and a half from the hotel.
The Franklin Conservatory and Botanical Gardens is simply stunning. Don’t miss the John F. Wolfe Palm House, an enormous Victorian-era glass structure with lofty ceilings, grand staircase and ancient plants. A collection of vibrant glass works by artist Dale Chihuly is also on display throughout the conservatory, which also has distinct Himalayan, rainforest and desert biomes. The conservatory and 13 acres of gardens is located within a 88-acre City of Columbus park that borders several historic neighborhoods, and is 1.8 miles from the art museum, heading away from downtown on Broad Street.
COSI (Center of Science and Industry) offers 300+ interactive experiences, a planetarium and nine galleries within its 320,000 square foot facility, Science comes to life with world class traveling and permanent exhibitions that aren’t just for kids. A major player in downtown’s revitalization, COSI is on the Scioto River at 333 W. Broad Street, one mile from the hotel.
AJHA conference goers will have a chance to explore the hip and happening Short North Arts District at the end of the Friday afternoon history tour if they so desire. This corridor between the Ohio Statehouse and the Ohio State University campus is considered the “art and soul” of Columbus.
Don’t miss the North Market, which dates back to 1876 and has long been ranked one of the country’s best public markets filled with wares from independent farmers, merchants and makers. Eat, drink and browse for unique mostly food-related gifts. A locavore's delight, this downtown market is at 59 Spruce Street.