Learn more about the Museum's Mission, Vision, and History

Our Mission

To inspire people to work for greater peace and compassion through education and collaboration.

Our Vision

To promote a world that seeks alternatives to war and violence and encourages compassion.

Our History

How to Build a Peace Museum

A museum by definition is an institution devoted to the procurement and exhibition of objects that have artistic, cultural, religious, historical, or scientific value for people’s enjoyment and education. Aspell (2016), in her book Introducing Peace Museums, stresses the one challenge of creating spaces that display the material culture of peace, bring to light peace histories, show expression to peace cultures, and share peace narratives. First, peace as outcome, gets tucked under the glory and complex strategies of war – war as absolute, peace as ongoing- situating the ego of ‘power over’ as perhaps more spectacular than the humility of ‘power with.’ Around the world, many war museums capture the breadth of human history in our attempts to create peace from war.

The Gernika Peace Museum in Spain and the Kyoto Museum for World Peace in Japan gained support and provide consolation to the horrors of war, but they also project a future along a very different path. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s Preamble to the Constitution states “[t]hat since wars began in the minds of man, it is in the minds of men that the defenses of peace must be constructed.” (2)

Second, peace as process, is more easily captured by focusing on issues- human rights, civil rights, structural violence—looking for peace in the exploits of social justice. Peace is the absence of war, but true peace or “positive peace” depends on the existence of political, social, economic, and environmental justice, a respect for all human rights and respectful communication, the maintenance of nonviolence, and on the just resolution of international tensions.

Ralph & Chris Dull with Paul K. Chappell

Museum founders, Chris and Ralph Dull with Paul K. Chappell, founder of The Peace Literacy Institute.

A peace museum needs to promote an understanding of peace as a process that 3 promotes positive relations among people- a dynamic human condition in which neither the overt violence of war/armed conflict nor the covert violence of unjust systems is used against people and places.

The International Peace Museum was first suggested as an idea and then built in form by a small group of people near Dayton, Ohio. In 2003, Christine and Ralph Dull were on a road trip back from the United Nations, reflecting on their conviction to peace/nonviolence and to the Miami Valley, their home community. The nation recognizes Dayton for its crucial role in aviation and military air strategy, from the testing of the first plane at Huffman Prairie to the formal establishment of the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base and the concurrent growth of the National Museum of the US Air Force after WWII. Global inspiration certainly came from the historic 1995 General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina (Dayton Peace Accords) negotiated by Richard Holbrook at Hope Hotel on the Wright-Patterson AFB. “Dayton should have a museum dedicated to transforming our culture of violence into a culture of peace.”(4)

Completed in 1850, Dayton’s Old Court House is considered one of the finest examples of Greek-Revival architecture in the nation. U.S. Presidents Abraham Lincoln, Andrew Johnson, James Garfield, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard M. Nixon, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, and William J. Clinton have all campaigned on the building’s storied limestone steps.

During the Civil War, the Dayton community gathered at the Old Court
House for telegraph updates. Following the Great 1913 Flood, giant
banners were strung from its historic eves, encouraging area citizens to
donate to flood relief programs (thereby creating the Miami Conservancy District). And during World War II, the building became a backdrop for bond drives.


2021 National Education Television Association award for children’s programming through ThinkTV and PBS Kids.  

2021 American Association of State & Local History Award for excellence in exhibits: The Dayton Peace Accords in conjunction with Auut Studios.

Our Leadership and Staff

Kevin Kelly

Executive Director

Greg Humphrey

Director of Operations

Alice Young-Basora

Director of Education

William Meers

Membership & CRM

Tony Massoud


Ken Cohn

Donor Liaison

Lezley Pisone

Business Manager & Development

Lisa Chapman

Finance & Accounting

Wilderness Agency


Auut Studio

Digital Exhibitions

Jason Swiatkowski

Volunteer Coordinator

Daniel Hagenhofer


Robyn Angel


Genevieve Uhlman


Board of Trustees


Tom Roberts

Sinclair College, NAACP

Vice Chair


The United Way


Dr. Paul Morrow

University of Dayton Human Rights Center

Greg Schell


Rhonda Kline

Goodwill/Easterseals Miami Valley

Kelly Lehman

Social Entrepreneur


Bob Knechel

Nonprofit Executive - Retired

Steve Brown


Page Sources:
1. Apsel, Joyce. 2016. Introducing Peace Museums. Routledge Research in Museum Studies. Abington, UK. See especially Chapter 1- Introducing Peace Museums and Chapter 5- Dayton International Peace Museum. A Community Model. Both chapters support the content of this essay.

2. https://en.unesco.org/70years/building_peace

3. See especially published books and essays by David Cortright, Director of Policy Studies and the Peace Accords Matrix at the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, University of Notre Dame.  

4. Christine Dull in Apsel 2016, Chapter 5, p. 147.

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