DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – This weekend the Dayton Peace Museum will host the inaugural Peace Festival downtown. There will be dozens of free events Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. The one of-a-kind museum is hosting a first of its kind event. Organizers hope success this weekend will create a new annual favorite.
Kevin Kelly, the museum’s executive director, says, “We want to establish the Dayton Peace Museum as a space to make peace that people are more aware of.”
They’ll get the opportunity over the next few days as the inaugural festival kicks off on Monument Avenue. Alter HS alum and former NFL linebacker Chris Borland got the ball rolling. Kelly says, “He had this idea after the Oregon shooting to do something special for Dayton. And that’s what this weekend is about.”
For three days the museum will host seminars and events, book discussions and yoga, food and beer, prayers and games. They intentionally cast a wide net. Kelly says, “We talk about mental health, we talk about gun control, we talk about civil rights, racism, homophobia, all the things that affect many Daytonians and people around the world.”
The 1995 Dayton Peace Accord set the framework for peace in Bosnia. Now the only peace museum in North America has a permanent exhibit commemorating the talks. Kelly says, “Dayton is a city of peace, known throughout the world. In Bosnia, for example, if you say the word Dayton they know exactly where Dayton is and what that means in relation to the Dayton peace accord.”
Kevin Kelly hopes to attract new volunteers and partnerships with other organizations, but he wants to make an impact most of all. “To see young people, especially, makes me very hopeful. We want to be more active in all communities, but especially with young people.”
Outside of the festival this weekend, the museum is open every Friday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. You can also call ahead to schedule your own tour.