On May 27, 2004, the Dayton International Peace Museum was born from the vision of a small group of people who felt peace was incredibly overlooked in our country.
To honor the many peace communities in Dayton’s long history—many religious, but others not—the idea of creating what would only be the second peace museum in the country outside of the Chicago Peace Museum, was established. Within a short time, the Chicago museum would go dark, leaving Dayton as the only museum of its kind in all of the Americas.
The Museum too was founded on the inspirational achievement that was the Dayton Peace Accords, effectively ending the long and horrific war in Bosnia along with her neighbors less than a decade earlier. The genius of Richard Holbrooke, the mastermind negotiator at nearby Wright Patterson Air Force Base with its Hope Hotel and intense negotiations late into the cold late Autumn nights in Dayton, searching for an end to the fighting thousands of miles away.
Within a short time, what started in the basement of a church on the West side of Dayton, blossomed with the unlikely purchase of the Issac Pollock Mansion House on Monument Avenue, a faded 1865 Second Empire Victorian house that served as a home, an attorney’s office, the Board of Elections, and a dance school. The mansion would be revived into a ‘place to make peace’ just as Holbrooke had envisioned for warring nations at Wright-Patt. Holbrooke, in fact early on helped jump start the Museum’s humble start with a generous $10,000 check.
As many others have come and gone over the years, Ralph and Chris Dull, two of the original founders and leaders continue to support and serve the Museum. Others like Fred Arment have gone on to start Cities of Peace with hundreds of cities signing up—the very first being Dayton no less.