Vent Haven Museum

Vent Haven Museum is the only museum in the world dedicated to the art of ventriloquism. The Museum was founded by Cincinnati native William Shakespeare Berger. In 1894, when he was 15, W.S. began working in the mail room of the Cambridge Tile Company in Cincinnati, and in 1947, he retired as president of the company.

The collection began when W.S. purchased his first figure Tommy Baloney in 1910. At first, he kept the figures in his house, but the collection grew rapidly in the 1930’s and 1940’s. In 1947, he renovated his garage to house the dummies and in 1962, he built a second building.

From the late 1940’s until 1960, W.S. was the president of the International Brotherhood of Ventriloquists. His leadership helped the organization grow from about 300 members to over 1000. He also published a monthly magazine called The Oracle, which kept ventriloquists abreast of current events in the vent community.

Vent Haven Museum houses more than 800 figures, thousands of photographs, playbills, letters and an extensive library of related books, some of which date back to the 1700’s. On June 30, 1973, Vent Haven Museum was officially opened to the public with the dedication of the W.S. Berger Memorial Building. Ventriloquist legends Edgar Bergen and Jimmy Nelson performed during the ceremony.

All tours of the Museum are guided and by appointment.

Contributor: René Carson