The Alpine Hills Museum by Kelly Kuhn, Museum Curator and Director
The Alpine Hills Museum and Sugarcreek Information Center should be the first stop on any visitors list of “to-dos” in Amish Country. Our quaint village is set off of State Route 39 down in what feels like a valley from a Grimm Brothers fairytale. As soon as a guest makes the turn off of SR 39 it’s like being transported back in time where the pace instantly slows down, the greetings are warmer, and the food is always the best.
Our main street is lined with beautiful Swiss style buildings that will have you wondering when you traveled to Switzerland. In the heart of this dreamlike village is the Alpine Hills Museum. The bright blue building decorated in Edelweiss, Alpenrose, and Eucin flowers is irresistible and begs to be explored. When you step inside one of our outstanding volunteers greets you and invites you to tour the three floors, at no cost of course. Browse the gift shop for items sure to please those that love the Amish and/or the Swiss heritage of our area. A 12 minute video is your first stop on the self-guided tour. The video explains the Amish lifestyle, Swiss cheese making, our Swiss heritage, and our annual Ohio Swiss Festival.
After viewing the video head back the hall to begin touring. Our first floor features multiple displays such as an Amish Kitchen, a cheese house, a woodworking shop, and a recreation of the 1890-mid 1900’s Budget Newspaper display. All of these displays feature audio/visual options. Don’t miss the Swiss costumes; lederhosen, dirndls, and trachtens.
After seeing everything on the first floor make your way to the basement. Farming equipment, an antique buggy, a rare photographer’s carriage, a black smith shop, a firehouse display and much more await you. From the basement continue all the way up the staircase to the second floor. This floor has something for everyone. Stunning Victorian dresses and accessories are displayed delicately amongst Victorian Era furniture. An authentic Shoe-Shine Station sits beside and early 1900’s barbershop display. Our tribute to America’s Armed Forces is sure to make any veteran proud. Uniforms from many American wars are proudly displayed. Antique guns, doctor’s house-call bags, embalming equipment, and arrowheads are sure to entertain young boys. The music room features stunning Alphorns as well as movie props from “Love Finds You in Sugarcreek, Ohio”.
Be sure to watch the video of our greatest benefactor, Ranson Andreas, playing the Alphorns and Dulcimer. Before leaving our lobby to explore the rest of the enticing village try playing the Alphorn we have at the front desk. We would be more than happy to get it down for you. Also, make sure to ask our volunteers any and all questions you have about the area, the museum, the Amish, the Swiss, and our rich history.
If the volunteer can’t answer the question they will find someone who can. Pick up helpful brochures and get directions to any local locations then enjoy the rest of your visit to the endearing “Little Switzerland of Ohio”.