The people of the Woodland Indian cultures (from 800 B.C.E.) were the first people in South East Ohio to make pottery for storing and cooking food. Known to archeologists as the Adena, Hopewell and Late Woodland cultures, each group developed its own distinct pot shapes and decorations. European settlers later colonized the area and established small backyard potteries, known as Bluebird
The potteries operated out of small sheds and thus their openings were an annual spring event, just like the return of the bluebirds. With the onset of the industrial revolution, pottery manufacture became mechanized. Mass production of slip cast wares became common. The Art Pottery movement (1880-1940's) began as a response to the standardization of mass production. Many fine, collectible, individually made Art Pottery pieces were created until about 1950 when the industry again returned to production of large volume commercial pottery. The collection of the National Ceramic Museum and Heritage Center contains many fine examples of Art Pottery and other pieces that date from the 1880's to the present. Today, the region is still home to many excellent pottery manufacturers, producing high quality wares for discriminating buyers. Many fine artists, ceramic sculptors and potters also choose to live in the area and create their art works. The region is known as a global center for the production of pottery and ceramic arts.