2301 West River Road, Dayton, OH 45417

Phone: 937-268-8199

Saturday & Sunday: 10a – 4p
CLOSED Monday – Friday

Adult $7.00
Child $6.00
Senior $6.00
2 and Under – free

Harvest Gathering

October 7 | 5:00p-8:00p

Take a step back in time and join us on October 7th for the Harvest Gathering at SunWatch! This educational and entertaining evening will celebrate the harvest season and include outdoor dining inspired by Ohio’s earliest inhabitants.

Enjoy up-close experiences with artifacts, tours of the village, and a delicious dinner catered by Amber Rose. Our curator, Jill Krieg, will cap off the night and speak on the importance of SunWatch Village. Guests will get the opportunity to participate in our village reconstruction efforts by helping us place cedar markers within the post holes of the Cedar Lodge house-pattern. A unique and special experience only for those in attendance.

So, join us on October 7th, to celebrate a bountiful harvest and share a meal with us. We will also say goodbye to our center pole as we give thanks to the tree that will begin its second life as SunWatch’s second reconstructed pole.

Don’t miss our 3rd annual gathering, it’s sure to be a beautiful night.

Tickets are $75/person
Gather friends and family, table reservations (8 guests) are $600

Our Humble Beginnings

SunWatch, originally named the Incinerator Site, was first excavated and reported on in the 1960s by amateur archaeologists John Allman and Charles Smith. When news came in the early 1970s that the City of Dayton planned to expand a nearby sewage treatment plant onto the property and impact the site, Allman and Smith contacted James Heilman, the Curator of Anthropology at the Dayton Museum of Natural History, in hopes of recovering as much valuable information from the site as possible. In 1971 the Dayton Museum of Natural History (now the Boonshoft Museum of Discovery) began “salvage” excavations at the site with just this goal in mind……

….On July 29, 1988, after 17 years of excavation and research by the Dayton Society of Natural History, SunWatch opened to the public. Seasonal excavations continued through 1989. The years of excavation at the site, combined with additional analysis and research, have resulted in a remarkable understanding of the site’s original inhabitants. SunWatch currently combines experimental archaeological research, including the reconstruction of the Fort Ancient structures in their original 13th century locations, with an interpretive center that exhibits many of the artifacts that have been recovered from the site. The village reconstruction includes five lath and daub structures with grass thatch roofs, portions of a stockade, and a native garden and prairie with plants typical of the period. Inferred astronomical alignments originate from a complex of posts at the center of the village that have also been replaced. There is also a picnic shelter and picnic tables overlooking the village and are available for visitors to relax.

Some of our Sponsors

The Jesse and Caryl Philips Foundation
Kettering Family Philanthropies
Mr. and Mrs. Irvin G. Bieser, Jr.

The Berry Family Foundation


NOW OPEN! Located on the second floor of the museum. There is plenty of seating and selection for your enjoyment.

Bieser Room of Wonder

Coming Summer 2022! A complete transformation of the Bieser Discovery Center has begun on the first floor of the museum. The final step in a multi-year project to better display more artifacts from our 1.8 million object collection

Observation Beehive Returns

Honeybees are coming back to the Boonshoft! Thanks to a sponsorship from Scherzinger Pest Control, the observation beehive in the treehouse will be abuzz by Summer 2022! Honeybees play an invaluable role in our lives through pollinating many agricultural crops and native plants.

Upgrades At SunWatch

We won the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Grant to help with a multi-year project that has begun the construction phase in 2022. Through a matching grant for capital improvements by the National Endowment for the Humanities, we are making some much needed updates to the SunWatch Interpretive Center!

Discover With US!

Visit Both of our locations. SunWatch and The Boonshoft Museum of Discovery. We look forward to seeing you!