Update 03/14/2020: For the safety and health of our guests, volunteers, and staff, the Oberlin Heritage Center will be closed to the public as of Saturday, March 14 including all tours and programs. We will post updates on our website and social media pages when we return to normal business hours and tour schedules. We thank you for your support.
Bring a Group
Thinking of bringing a group of eight or more people? Visitors of all walks and ages enjoy touring the Oberlin Heritage Center, including families, bicyclists breaking after fifty miles of hard work, businesses treating their employees, and special interest groups that want to see something new (or old)! Whether you've lived in Oberlin forever or are new to the area, you'll find much to enjoy. Tell us your needs and interests and we will tailor the tour. If you are a leader of a youth or school group, see our page for youth group tours. If you have questions or want to schedule a tour, please call the Museum Education and Tour Coordinator at (440) 774-1700 or email Amanda Manahan. We look forward to hearing from you!
The Amazing Oberlin Race!
Click above to learn about this exciting group offering. Teams challenge each other to a smartphone-based scavenger hunt of local landmarks!
- Schedule your group tour between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday. Please make your reservation at least three weeks in advance to guarantee the date and time you prefer. Some history walks may also be available on Sundays.
- Groups tours are arranged for 8 or more individuals, or at that fee if fewer individuals are present
- $6 per adult for adult groups and families
- $5 per student for college groups
- A non-refundable deposit of $50 (or full payment if your total tour fees are less than $50) is required to secure your reservation.
See the Group Tour Information for details about reserving a tour and cancellation policies. Group leaders might also be interested in our outreach programs. Accessibility and ADA page
Visit three historic buildings at the Oberlin Heritage Center: the Monroe House (1866), the Little Red Schoolhouse (1836) and the Jewett House (1884). Learn about the founding of Oberlin, African American history, the Underground Railroad, women's history, scientific discovery, and turn-of-the-century reform movements. The tour takes approximately 90 minutes and can be modified to focus more attention on one building or subject, or abbreviated to accommodate a different schedule depending on the interests of your group. Special requests must be arranged well in advance of your tour date.
You may also request a walking tour element for your group tour, either in place of visiting one of our buildings, or in addition to the "standard" tour. For example, you may wish to visit the Monroe House and Little Red Schoolhouse, and then, instead of visiting the 1884 Jewett House, request a short walking tour to nearby abolition-related sites.
Note: A virtual tour is also available as an outreach program.
Historically Inaccurate Tour
Are you a myth buster? Can you call someone’s bluff? Come test your skills on this fun, thought-provoking 75-minute tour of the Oberlin Heritage Center's three historic buildings. This tour will include some Oberlin and national historical myths along the way, and at the end, we’ll explore what is fact or fiction. This tour is available year-round.
Music in the Home Tour
Listen and learn how music was used for entertainment, fellowship, and teaching in nineteenth and early twentieth-century homes during this 60-minute guided tour of the historic properties at the Oberlin Heritage Center. Musicians and non-musicians alike will enjoy his opportunity to view musical artifacts up-close and hear sounds of the times. This tour is available year-round.
Freedom’s Friends: Underground Railroad and Abolitionist History Walk
“Oberlin is perhaps the most important station along the whole line of the Underground Railway. It has rendered the most important services to Freedom. It is second only to Canada as an asylum for the hunted fugitive.” Hear stories about Oberlin’s most famous freedom seekers and people known to have helped them make their way to freedom. This 90-minute guided history walk is available for group reservations from April through October.
Note: The content of this history walk is also available as a bus tour and an outreach program.
Scholars and Settlers History Walk
Learn about the earliest residents of Oberlin and hear fascinating stories of the triumphs, debates, and scandals linked to the landmarks around Tappan Square. Compare the buildings of today to the buildings of yesteryear using historic photographs and walk away with a lively appreciation of Oberlin's unique heritage. This hour long guided walking tour is available for group reservations from April through October. The tour can be modified to focus on particular buildings or monuments, but this must be arranged in advance.
In 1834, John J. Shipherd pledged Oberlin’s commitment to “the elevation of female character” through education. Little did he know, there was dynamite in that promise, and women carried the matches. This illustrated 75-minute walking tour explores how Oberlin confronted and defined issues of femininity in the 19th and 20th centuries. Hear stories of powerful Oberlin women including Lucy Stone, Marianne Parker Dascomb, Adelia Field Johnston, Mary Church Terrell, and Lucy Stanton Day, and learn how they used John J. Shipherd’s promise to shape what it meant to be a woman in Oberlin and in the United States.
This guided walk highlights local perspectives, notable figures, and interesting stories on both the war and home front during the Civil War. From Luman Tenney and Henry Chester, who with the Second Ohio Cavalry travelled 22,000 miles and fought in over thirty battles and skirmishes, to Sarah Merion and Russell Hall, both of whom offer unique views into life on the home front for students, to O.S.B. Wall, a recruiter who was one of the first African-Americans to receive a commission as a Union officer, visitors will hear some fascinating stories. Find out about camp food, calls for emancipation, small-town life in the 1860’s, and Soldiers' Aid Societies through stories, landmarks and images. This hour and fifteen minute guided history walk is available for group reservations from April through October.
Walk with us through historic Westwood Cemetery. This guided tour promises a pleasing balance of Westwood's scenic landmarks and stories of some of the many spirited men and women of Oberlin who simply refused the status quo. Find out which resident was remembered as "gentle, soft-spoken, tolerant and yet nobody's fool." Visit the headstone of the man who escaped from slavery (twice!) and later served on the Oberlin village council. Meet near the entrance of the cemetery to begin this historic journey.
Downtown Oberlin Historic District History Walk
Explore the history and architecture of Oberlin’s downtown National Register Historic District. Compare old storefront photographs to shops today and learn about Oberlin’s early residents and the formation of our unique downtown. This tour can be used to discuss history, preservation, and architecture. This tour is available by group reservation from April through October.
Step-On Guides for Bus Tours
Request a step-on guide to provide the historic narrative to a driving tour of Oberlin. Please note that we cannot provide a bus or motorcoach – we can only provide the guide who will "step-on" to your bus or motorcoach. Pricing and availability for this specialty tour varies, so please contact our tour coordinator with questions and requests. More information can be found under Bus Tours of Oberlin.
If you have questions, need additional information, or would like to schedule a tour please contact Amanda Manahan, the Museum Education and Tour Coordinator, by email or by calling 440-774-1700.