Yes, there is more to Dayton than aviation. The Dayton Art Institute has a beautiful collection of ancient, Renaissance, and modern art. It's truly impressive. You need to allow at least a couple hours to really see it.
Founded in 1919, it was originally named the Dayton Museum of Fine Arts. Its early patrons included Orville Wright and the Patterson Brothers (who founded NCR). The present building was completed in 1930, funded by Julia Shaw Carnell and designed by Edward B. Green. It's a fine example of Italian Renaissance-style architecture.
The Dayton Art Institute is housed in a handsome Italianate villa on the north banks of the Maumee River, just north of the city center. It's an easy walk. The Institute has a small but interesting permanent collection, and regularly mounts fascinating temporary exhibits. They also have a rather good selection of contemporary paintings, sculptures and installations.
My favorites here include a beautiful "Immaculate Conception" by the 17th century Spanish artist Murillo, a full-length portrait by Joshua Reynolds from 18th century England, and the fetching "Song of the Nightingale" by the 19th century French saloniste William-Adolphe Bouguereau.
Nice cafe, too.
I wouldn't necessarily call this museum a must-see, but it is a nice, albeit small, art museum. You are bound to recognize a painting or two if you're an art follower.
The special exhibits are a must see. Not too long ago, the exhibits were on Ansel Adams and Monet.
Free admission; some special exhibits may charge an entrance fee.
There is a cafe and a museum store.
There is a lot of art to be seen here. The collections are great, especially the Asian Collection, but I am partial to that one. If you are looking for fine art, we have that too. Jean-Léon Gérôme, Charles Daubigny, Claude Monet, Edgar Degas, and Ker-Xavier Roussel can all be found in the museum as can cubists, and modern American artists.
There are other things that go on there, like a classic film series, Oktoberfest, Friday after work parties, the Art-ball, and the vanguard concert series.
Dayton has a very nice art museum featuring art from all continents along with a fairly large collection of European works including a few by famous artist (Monet, Rubens). Entrance is free but there is a charge for special exhibits.