Oberlin Heritage Center Blog


Working as a Preservation Intern

January 27th, 2010

By Rachel Luczkowski (Oberlin College class of 2012)

Rachel interning at the Oberlin Heritage Center

Choosing a winter term project is always difficult. There is usually a good deal of flexibility with what you choose and practically anything can be justified and signed off on. For example, I have a friend who has been making balloon animals for the entire month of January. I decided to go the more conventional route and find an internship, preferably something in the museum world. Luckily, I already knew a museum that would serve my interests well. Having worked with the Oberlin Heritage Center through the Bonner Scholars Program I was easily able to set up an internship and have been volunteering with them regularly.

Although my role at first was not clearly defined, we finally settled on the title of Preservation Intern as my responsibility to the Oberlin Heritage Center. As a Preservation Intern, one is able to get their hands and minds into everything involved with the museum’s daily workings. The past month I have become an expert encapsulator of documents, an awesome archival box builder, familiarized myself with the collections management policies of the group, learned a great deal about historical tax credits and LEED certification, and carefully cleaned pieces from a dollhouse from the 1930’s.  What I learned was not restricted to just the Monroe House either. With the Heritage Center I visited the Mckay Lodge Conservation Laboratory and Steve McQuillin’s, a building preservation consultant, historic home. I was even fortunate enough to be sent on behalf of the Heritage Center to a symposium about Green Historic Preservation in Indianapolis and discussed with preservationists from all over the Midwest about how to address this new movement in preservation. All in all the Heritage Center provided me with an amazing well rounded experience and I hope that with my new skills I can continue to help them as long as I am at Oberlin, as well as apply myself in the museum world later.

Tell the World; Oberlin is a Preserve America Community!

November 4th, 2009

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What are the places in and around Oberlin that you think are most deserving of preservation?   Why? 

Send a comment or try our online survey

The City of Oberlin recently erected a sign on route 511 at the city limits that announces Oberlin’s important designation as a “Preserve America Community.”  Preserve America is a federal program that encourages and supports community efforts to preserve and enjoy our priceless cultural and natural heritage.   The program seeks to foster a greater shared knowledge about the nation’s past, strengthen regional identities and local pride, and increase local participation in preserving heritage assets and supporting the economic vitality of communities. 

Oberlin became a Preserve America Community in 2004 after a lengthy application was submitted that was prepared by the Historic Preservation Commission and City Planning Commission with assistance from the Oberlin Heritage Center.  The application provided extensive documentation to demonstrate that Oberlin protects and celebrates its heritage, uses its historic assets for economic development and community revitalization, and encourages people to experience and appreciate local historic resources through education and heritage tourism programs. 

Oberlin is one of very few communities in the United States that is not only a Preserve America Community but also the home of a non-profit organization that has been designated a “Preserve America Steward.”  The Oberlin Heritage Center earned the Preserve America Steward designation earlier this year for its excellent volunteer programs to preserve heritage and culture. 

Oberlin is featured in a color photograph on the cover of a new brochure about Preserve America which was distributed at the National Trust for Historic Preservation conference in Nashville, Tennessee in October 2009.

 As of October, 2009, there are 795 communities, neighborhoods, counties, and tribal communities in the United States that have been designated as Preserve America Communities.  There are 13 Preserve America Stewards.  For more information, visit the website:  www.preserveamerica.gov

So back to our opening question for you: What are the places in and around Oberlin that you think are most deserving of preservation?   Why?  We want to know!

 Online Survey

 

Morgan Street Bridge Railings

July 9th, 2009

 Morgan Street Bridge Railing at the Oberlin Heritage Center

Restored Morgan Street Bridge Railings
Installed at the Oberlin Heritage Center

Last spring Oberlin Heritage Center volunteers, including Walter Edling, Bert Latran, Dick Holsworth, Charles Pope and George Clark rescued and refurbished the century-old iron railings that had been removed from the Morgan Street bridge over Plum Creek.  This was a huge undertaking which took several months and included some heavy lifting help from members of the Oberlin High School football team.   The refurbished railing has been installed along the Oberlin Heritage Center brick heritage trail, just south of the Jewett House at 73 S. Professor Street.  

 

We are nominating this project for a history award and are seeking letters of support and comments about why and how this project provided a real service to the community.   We’d love to hear from you.

We are also still searching for photographs that show the bridge at its original location.  If you have any and are willing to lend them to be scanned, please let us know! 

Smile for the Camera

June 25th, 2009

Stofan Studio on East College Street in Oberlin (Photograph by Michael Wm. Kelly)

Stofan Studio on East College Street in Oberlin, circa 1970.
(Photograph by Michael Wm. Kelly) 

Andrew Stofan operated a photo studio in downtown Oberlin from the 1934 to 1974.  He took pictures of every Oberlin High School senior class during that time period except in 1936 and he documented countless weddings, graduations, and more.  Andy Stofan learned the trade from Oberlin photographer T.J. Rice who had begun taking pictures here in 1894 and whose studio was located upstairs in the building that formerly stood on today’s College bookstore site.   Andy Stofan took photos of every Oberlin College first year class standing on the steps of First Church and also took ID photos of each one for their “wolf” book – print version of today’s online Facebook or My Space.

The Stofan studio was located first in the storefront where Dave’s Army Navy is now at 29 S. Main Street, and later in the old house that formerly stood at 49 E. College Street (the site of today’s Sustainable Community Associates’ building that is under construction.)  He and his family lived in town and he was active in many community groups and served on City Council for 4 terms in the 1950s, including 4 years as Chairman.  An extensive article on Andrew Stofan was published in the Oberlin News Tribune on April 1, 1976 and a copy of it is on file in the Oberlin Heritage Center’s Resource Center.

Please share information or memories of Stofan and other photographers who have worked in our community over the years, and tell us about photo collections that have survived to tell our community’s history!

Comment on the New Website!

May 2nd, 2009

The new Oberlin Heritage Center website has been a work-in-progress for several years and we are very pleased to let the world see the result.  Please share what you think and help us continue to make improvements!