All programs are free and open to the public, unless otherwise noted. If reservations are required, you may register online or call (440) 774-1700. Street addresses for each program location are listed at the end of the calendar.
January 28 (Wednesday, 7:15 p.m.) Who Hauled Hall on Top of Hall? Oberlin College Professor Emeritus of Chemistry, Norman C. Craig, offers an entertaining and informative discussion of Charles M. Hall, Perkin-Medal-winning discoverer of the modern aluminum extraction process, and new developments in Hall’s historic legacy. Hall transformed the metals industry, enabled long-distance transmission of electricity, and made way for revolutionary modes of transportation. Through his wealth, he propelled Oberlin College into the 20th century. The program follows some of the “wanderings” of the College’s lightweight aluminum statue of Hall, the saga of the construction of Hall Auditorium, and the controversial story of Hall’s sister, Julia, and whether or not she played a significant role in her brother’s work. Location: Kendal at Oberlin’s Heiser Auditorium.
February 5 (Thursday, 7:15 p.m.) On the Home Front. Join us for an eye-witness view from the Civil War home front with family letters, songs, and images, presented by folksinger/author (and Oberlin Heritage Center board member) Judy Cook accompanied by her husband Dennis Cook. The program is woven from the letters of Judy’s great-great-grandparents, Gilbert and Esther Claflin who write of their Wisconsin farm, their mothers, her brothers in the army and their wives. Location: Kendal at Oberlin’s Heiser Auditorium.
February 17 (Tuesday, 4:30 p.m.) Rules of Engagement: Civil War Courtship Letters and the ‘Homefront Imaginary.’ Oberlin College Professor of History Carol Lasser draws on the correspondence of Oberlinians Giles Waldo Shurtleff and Mary E. Burton, as well as that of Elliott Grabill and Anna Jenney, and looks at the ways in which these soldiers turned to women on the homefront for emotional support and relationships beyond the battlefield to sustain them during the conflict. Mary and Anna responded, and eventually out of the correspondence came two long and successful marriages. This program is co-sponsored with the Oberlin College Archives and the Oberlin College Department of History. Location: Moffett Auditorium in Oberlin College’s Mudd Library.
March 26 (Thursday, 7:15 p.m.) An Evening with Antoinette Brown Blackwell. In celebration of Women’s History Month, Oberlin native Beth Marshall brings to life Antoinette Brown Blackwell (1825-1921), who studied theology at Oberlin College and became the first woman to be ordained a minister of a recognized denomination in the United States. Last fall, an Ohio Historical Marker was dedicated in Oberlin in recognition of Blackwell’s achievements. Ms. Marshall is the senior pastor at First Unitarian Church in Toledo. The event is co-sponsored with the Kendal Third Thursday Lecture Series. Free and open to the public. Location: Kendal at Oberlin’s Heiser Auditorium.
April 1 (Wednesday, 5 – 8:30 p.m.) OHC Annual Meeting and Dinner. Gather with OHC’s members and friends for dinner and an enlightening program by OHC’s Liz Schultz (Museum Education and Tour Coordinator) and Ron Gorman (volunteer docent and researcher) presenting “Old Secrets/New Stories of Oberlin’s Underground Railroad.” We’ll also salute the recipients of the Heritage Center’s 14th Annual Community Awards. Festivities begin with a social hour (optional) at 5 p.m., dinner at 6 p.m. and the program at 7 p.m., followed by a brief annual business meeting. Invitations will be sent to members in late February, or contact firstname.lastname@example.org to be put on the mailing list. Reservations required; cost is $33/members and $38/non-members (or $28/members and $33/non-members if reservation made by Friday, March 20). Location: Oberlin Inn. Click here to register on-line.
April 21 (Tuesday, 7:15 p.m.) Forever Young: the History of Case Western Reserve University. Western Reserve College was the first permanent college in the Western Reserve of Connecticut. It was a product of the dreams and aspirations of leaders in the region, though they had to temper their religious goals to deal with the politics of the times. Nearly six decades later, and 26 miles northwest of the college's home in Hudson, Leonard Case, Jr. left funds to create a school of applied science in Cleveland. Strangely, it was inevitable that the two institutions would get together one day, but it wasn't easy. Richard E. Baznik(author of Beyond the Fence: A Social History of Case Western Reserve University) presents the story of the two institutions and their eventual consolidation, which also offers insights into the development of the region. Baznik, CWRU Vice President Emeritus for Public Affairs and University Historian is also an Oberlin Heritage Center board member. Free and open to the public. Location: Kendal at Oberlin’s Heiser Auditorium.
May 27 (Wednesday, 7:15 p.m.) From Civil War to Civil Rights: Stories from the Oberlin Oral History Project. Oberlin’s roots in abolitionism in the 19th century affected the views of its residents well into the 20th century as the nation fought for racial justice through prayer, moral reasoning, politics and even violence. Sharing stories from Oberlin’s Oral History Project, Geni Poporad Vanek will trace the changes in attitudes from idealism after the Civil War to discrimination during the ‘30s and ‘40s and back to the idealism of the ‘60s in the “town that started the Civil War.” Vanek, an OHC Honorary Trustee, is the author of the Heritage Center’s oral-history-based publication Bonnets to Boardrooms: Women’s Stories from a Historic College Town. Free and open to the public. Location: Kendal at Oberlin’s Heiser Auditorium.
June 10 (Wednesday, 7:15 p.m.) Local Stories of Quarry Life. The history of Lorain County quarrying is presented in this illustrated program by James Hieb, Executive Vice President/CEO of the Marble Institute of America (Oberlin, Ohio). Jim is the author of Sandstone Center of the World: Images and Stories of Quarrying Life in Amherst, South Amherst, and Lorain County, Ohio which documents 160 years of quarry life in the region. He has researched quarry history and collected stories for many years from retired quarry workers, including Foyster Matlock, grandfather of Hieb's wife, Christa. The book is available in the Heritage Center’s Museum Store. The event is free and open to the public. Location: Kendal at Oberlin’s Heiser Auditorium.
February 25 through March 18 (Wednesdays, 1-3 p.m. – For boys and girls ages 8-13) Hands-on-History & Cultures of the World Home School Series. Each week we’ll explore a new culture and time period through hands-on activities and discussions of art, architecture, geography, food, religion and more. This year’s focus includes: the Swahili Coast, the Maya civilization, the Byzantine Empire, and the land of China. Participants register for the entire four-class series led by OHC’s Museum Education and Tour Coordinator, Liz Schultz. Reservations required; fee is $45, or $40 for children/grandchildren of OHC members. (Early Bird registrants receive a $5 discount if signed up by February 1.) Register on-line or download registration form here. Location: Oberlin Depot.
March 23-26 (Monday and Tuesday / Wednesday and Thursday, 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. – For ages 8-13.) Spring Break Mini-Camps. Choose one or both sessions: Introduction to Archaeology (March 23-24) or World Cultures (March 25-26) including East Asia, the Pacific Islands, Colombia, and New Orleans Mardi Gras. Reservations required; Fee: $45 per two-day camp; $40 for children/grandchildren of Heritage Center members. (Early Bird registrants receive a $3 discount per camper if signed up by March 1.) Register on-line or download a registration form for Introduction to Archaeology and/or World Cultures. Location: Oberlin Depot.
June 20 (Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.) Observe or take part in Oberlin’s tenth annual Chalk Walk celebration which continues the tradition of festive, colorful sidewalk painting that began in 16th century Italy. All skill levels are welcome – work alongside master professional artists and local artists as they create works of sidewalk art all over downtown Oberlin. High quality chalk is provided free. Stop by the Oberlin Heritage Center’s table on South Main Street for a fun break! For more, visit http://www.oberlinchalkwalk.com/.
Hands on History Fun Summer Day Camps (9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. for boys and girls ages 8-13). Registration forms and details will be available later in the spring; call (440) 774-1700 or e-mail email@example.com to add your name to the mailing list. Location: Oberlin Depot.
August 8 (Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.) Family Fun Fair is a community tradition featuring free family activities all over downtown and on the grounds of the Oberlin Heritage Center. Stop by the Heritage Center for hands-on history fun, lawn games, and mini-tours.
Upstairs/Downstairs Tour – Small Town, Big Stories
(Every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday at 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.) This in-depth tour includes three historic Oberlin buildings that serve as background for stories of the community and college in its first century, from the 1833 founding through the turn of the 20th century. Learn about Oberlin's beginnings as a perfectionist colony and the community's early commitment to universal education, and find out more about Oberlin's important roles in abolition and the Underground Railroad. Continue in time through the Victorian period and into the early 1900s’ Progressive Era with tales of college life, scientific discovery, and "new" ways to stay hygienic and healthy. Admission: $6/adults; Free to OHC members, college students and children under 18. Reservations appreciated; walk-in visitors welcome also. Allow 75-90 minutes. Click here to make on-line reservation. Location: Tours begin at Monroe House.
Sneak Peek/Oberlin Origins Mini-Tour
(Tuesday-Saturday, offered from 10 a.m. - 3 p.m.) Pressed for time? Looking for a quick outing when friends or family visit? Then the “Sneak Peek” is perfect when you want to move fast yet still hit all the highlights. This 30-minute guided tour of the first floor of the 1866 Monroe House includes stories and images of the individuals and events that shaped Oberlin’s first 100 years. Drop-in visitors welcome although advance notice is appreciated. $3/adult. Free for OHC members, college students, and children under 18. Location: Monroe House.
Amazing Oberlin Smartphone Race! (Reservations available April – October, Tuesday through Saturday between 10 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.) Like history, hiking, and a healthy dose of friendly competition? Friends and family can challenge each other to this fun new learning adventure. Two teams, ideally with two to four people per team, begin at the Heritage Center and are texted the first clue leading them to a landmark in Oberlin. When a team figures out an answer, they send a text or a photo back and receive the next clue. There are fourteen clues in all and the race is 2 miles and takes 90 minutes. Anyone can play, although each team will need at least one player with a smartphone to send and receive texts and photos. Fee: $25 per race; $20 for Oberlin Heritage Center members (the fee covers all participants in the race). Contact the Museum Education and Tour Coordinator Liz Schultz (firstname.lastname@example.org) to schedule your date and start time.
March 29 (Sunday, 2 p.m.) Women’s History Month Special Event! One Step More: A Walking Tour of Women’s History in Oberlin. Inspired by the 1834 pledge made by Oberlin “founding father” John J. Shipherd to “elevate the female character” through education, this 75-minute tour acquaints you with stories of powerful 19th and early 20th century Oberlin women. Hear how they used Shipherd’s promise to shape what it meant to be a woman in Oberlin and in the United States. Registration required; $6 for adults; free to OHC members, college students and children accompanied by adults (most likely enjoyed by ages 9 and up). Please register in advance on-line or by phone even if you are eligible for a free history walk.
April (various dates/times) New Tablet Tour Test Runs (for current OHC members only). Let us know if you’d like to be a “guinea pig” and try out one (or both!) of our new digital tours about the community’s historic downtown or the Underground Railroad in Oberlin and give us your feedback. Watch for future announcements in the E-Gazette and on Facebook, or contact Museum Education and Tour Coordinator Liz Schultz (email@example.com) for information. Your comments will help us prepare the final versions of these exciting tours that debut in May 2015.
COMING IN MAY 2015: NEW! Self-guided tours for visitors to follow on their own tablets or iPads (or borrow one of ours!). Topics include: Historic Downtown Oberlin and Underground Railroad Activity in Oberlin. Each tour is filled with fun facts, historic photographs, and more. Watch for more information on our website in the spring.
Freedom’s Friends (Underground Railroad) History Walk
Learn about Oberlin’s famous freedom seekers and those known to have helped them make their way to freedom on the Underground Railroad. Advance reservations required; start location provided when reservation is made. Fee: $6/adults; Free for OHC members, college students and children (best suited for ages 9 and older). Approximately 75 minutes.
Spring/Summer Dates: Every Saturday at 11:00 AM in June, July, and August.
Special Dates: Saturday, May 23 at 3:00 PM and Sunday, May 24 at 3:00 PM during Oberlin College’s Commencement & Reunion Weekend.
Scholars & Settlers (Tappan Square) History Walk
Hear stories of Oberlin’s earliest residents and the triumphs, debates, and scandals linked to the landmarks around Tappan Square. 24-hour advance reservation required; start location provided when reservation is made. Fee: $6/; Free for OHC members, college students and children (best suited for ages 9 and older). Approximately 75 minutes.
Spring/Summer Dates: First Sunday of June, July, and August starting at 1:00 PM.
Special Dates: Saturday, May 23 at 5:00 PM during Oberlin College’s Commencement & Reunion Weekend.