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Drees Pledges $200,000 to Vent Haven Museum Capital Campaign

There is only one museum in the world dedicated to ventriloquism, and it's in Ft. Mitchell.

The Vent Haven Museum is looking to broaden its impact with a new facility and has set a goal to raise $1 million for the effort.

Thanks to the Drees Home Foundation, the organization is much closer. Drees pledged $200,000 towards Vent Haven's capital campaign.

The foundation cited the museum's alignment with its community-based endeavors "that enrich the local landscape."

“We are overwhelmed by the generosity of the Drees Homes Foundation,” said Vent Haven director/curator Lisa Sweasy, in a news release. “This is the largest single gift the museum has received, and we are very grateful for this show of support for us and our mission.”

Vent Haven opened as a museum in 1973 inside the home of founder and original collector W.S. Berger on West Maple Avenue. 

The collection of nearly 1000 ventriloquists’ dummies plus photos, playbills, books, and ephemera is housed in four small buildings on the property, one of which was originally Berger’s garage.

Its opening was attended by ventriloquism legend Edgar Bergen and Nestlé Quik spokesman Jimmy Nelson who performed for the crowd. In the 40-plus years the museum has been open to the public, the collection has doubled in size but the square footage of space has remained the same, thus the need for a new building.

The new facility will eliminate several current barriers for both tourists and collection management, a news release said. It will be fully accessible, provide space for onsite educational programming and research, have restroom facilities, and more.

Every ventriloquist you can imagine is represented in the collection – from Edgar Bergen to Jeff Dunham, Shari Lewis to Willie Tyler, Terry Fator to Paul Winchell, and thousands of others. The museum is also a great representative of 20th century American history with figures related to WWI, WWII, and the Civil Rights era, plus Jim Teter’s presidents figures Richard Nixon through George W. Bush.

Every guided tour is tailored to the visitor, and it’s never the same tour twice, the news release said.

-Staff report