Mission, History, and Policies 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.


Core Values

Integrity:   OHC commits to authenticity, 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.


Vision Statement

The Oberlin Heritage Center is a small and dynamic organization whose strengths lie in engaged supporters, quality programs, professional services, and positive collaborations. While OHC will continue to build on and draw from those defining strengths, strategic planning discussions revealed additional directions that will be key to the organization's continued relevancy in the community: 1) to seek out, explore, preserve, and encourage the sharing of histories that accurately reflect a diversity of individuals, perspectives, and experiences 2) to provide opportunities for individuals to connect with one another and with the community, and 3) to foster, especially in younger generations, appreciation for history and critical consideration of its impact on the present and future.

Working from these insights and the goals outlined in this plan, we envision that in five years the Oberlin Heritage Center will be an organization through which all community members can discover history resources relevant to their personal experiences. OHC will strive to have the financial, physical, and human resources necessary to achieve its mission and address future challenges. OHC will be regarded as a valued partner that supports community history projects and whose programs foster meaningful relationships and deeper connections within the community and region.



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:


Additional Information

Fact Sheet

History Sheet

Annual Reports since 2004

Non-Discrimination Statement

OHC Statement on Racism

Strategic Plan 2018-2023

Privacy Policy