Mission, History, and Support of the Center
To preserve and share Oberlin’s unique heritage and to make our community a better place to live, learn, work and visit.
- Integrity: OHC commits to authenticity and accuracy and excellence in management and governance, and strives to be worthy of the public’s trust.
- Openness: OHC embraces diversity of participation, ideas, opinions, and action.
- Innovation: OHC nurtures creative thinking and active learning.
- Engagement: OHC seeks to involve the community in relevant and vital discussion and action.
- Sustainability: OHC commits to being a strong and visible organization that provides continuity and leadership.
- Stewardship: OHC strives to protect and preserve Oberlin’s history and historic buildings and resources for future generations.
- Leadership: OHC strives to be a leader among the historical organizations in the county, state, and nation.
Having grown over the past two decades to become a nationally-accredited and award-winning history organization and museum with strong local support, OHC now aspires to broader engagement with all sections of the Oberlin community. OHC strives to extend its membership base to include the rich diversity of Oberlin and to engage the remarkable resources of its staff, volunteers, and members in a widespread culture of participation. OHC hopes to position itself financially and organizationally to preserve, interpret and share multiple histories of Oberlin in ways that continue to engage its members, serve the Oberlin community at large, and interest and inform the many visitors to Oberlin.
The Oberlin Heritage Center originated in 1903 as a progressive era community improvement group known as the Village Improvement Society. The organization went through various transformations and merged with other community groups over the years. It took on varied projects such as improving sanitation, planting trees, providing playgrounds, operating visiting nurse programs, and creating the town’s park system.
In 1964 the organization merged with the Oberlin Historical Society to form the Oberlin Historical and Improvement Organization (O.H.I.O.) It acquired various buildings and artifacts with a desire to protect them for future generations. In the late 1980s and early 1990s the Board began planning to professionalize what previously had been a small, volunteer organization. Patricia Murphy, the Executive Director from 1993 to 2015, was initially hired as a part-time (and the only) employee. She worked with the Board, staff, volunteers, members, and community to help the Oberlin Heritage Center become a highly regarded and award winning professional museum, historical society and historic preservation organization.
The Oberlin Heritage Center is a non-profit organization currently supported by:
- Members and friends like you!
- The Community Foundation of Lorain County
- The Nord Family Foundation
- Nordson Corporation
- City of Oberlin Bed Tax Program
See our Fact Sheet and History Sheet for more information. Annual Reports since 2004.