Events and News

Mark your calendar. Attend a program and learn something new.  
Have your say.  Hear what others have to say.  Celebrate. Connect with the past and present.


Events Calendar pdf
Online Event Calendar
Online News Room


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.


Winter / Spring 2020

All programs are free and open to the public, unless otherwise noted.  If reservations and or payments are needed, you will be linked to the online event calendar, directed to call (440) 774-1700, or send an email to to request a registration form.


Community Programs / Activities


February 1 (Saturday, 11:00 a.m.) A History of Race and the Right to Vote in Reconstruction Ohio

The right to vote, perhaps more than any other symbol of equality, has sparked some of the most significant Civil Rights struggles in American history.  Professor Ric Sheffield (Kenyon College, Gambier, OH) discusses how African Americans, even in Ohio, literally risked life, limb, and livelihood to claim their places at the polls. The program is a joint collaboration between the Oberlin Heritage Center (OHC) and the Oberlin African-American Genealogy & History Group (OAAGHG).

The event is supported by the Doug & Shirley R. Johnson Endowment Fund and Ohio Humanities, the state-based partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Location: Oberlin Public Library Community Room 


February 1 (Saturday)   Community Award Nominations Due

The Oberlin Heritage Center's Awards program, now in its 19th year, welcomes nominations of individuals, businesses, or organizations whose accomplishments are in keeping with the Heritage Center's mission.  Awards include: 1) Community Historian, 2) Heritage Guardian, 3) History Teacher or Community Teacher of the Year, 4) Keep Oberlin Beautiful, 5) OHC Volunteer of the Year, 6) Business Leader Service, or 7) Youth Community Service.  For further details download a nomination form


March 10 (Tuesday, 7:15 p.m.) Females in the Field

Have you ever used a field guide to identify a specimen? Field guides are important tools for any naturalist, but the genre is not as old as you might think. Celebrate women's history month by learning how female naturalists of the early 20th century helped develop and popularize the use of field guides for an increasingly outdoorsy public. Interspersed with stories from Oberlin and Ohio, this program examines women's pioneering achievements in promoting outdoor recreation, education, and conservation.  Presenter Jen Graham graduated from Oberlin College in 2012 and was a former AmeriCorps member at the Oberlin Heritage Center (2013-14).  Location: Kendal at Oberlin's Heiser Auditorium


March 25-27 (Wednesday-Friday, 9:30 a.m.-4:00 p.m.) Spring Break Camp: Legends, Mythology, and Folklore

Update 3/14/2020: The Oberlin Heritage Center will be closing to the public and in the best interest for the health of our guests, volunteers, and staff will need to cancel our Spring Break camp. Those who have already registered will be contacted directly. Thank you.

Often, there is a bit of truth and history to our world's greatest legends. During this three-day program, campers will explore mythology, folklore, and fairy tales, learning about history along the way. Students will experience these stories and their main characters through readings, skits, and hands-on creative activities. At camp’s end, participants will perform a puppet show of their favorite stories.

Camps are designed for boys and girls ages 8-13. Cost is $75 per child ($65 for children/grandchildren of OHC members). Register by March 1 to receive an "early bird" discount of $5 per child. Partial scholarships are available to those who qualify for schools' free or reduced lunch programs. Camp is taught by OHC Museum Education and Tour Coordinator Amanda Manahan.  Register on-line or request a registration form by contacting (440) 774-1700 or  Location: Oberlin Depot


April 1 (Wednesday, 6:00–8:30 p.m.)  OHC Annual Meeting and Community Awards

The Oberlin Heritage Center's Annual Meeting and Community Awards has moved to Wednesday, July 8. Please scroll down to read more or click here. Those who have already registered can have their registration transferred to the new date or request a refund by contacting Bethany Hobbs (


April 4 (Saturday, 10:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.) Smithsonian Museum Day: Please a Pollinator, Befriend a Beekeeper, and Explore History

The Oberlin Heritage Center looks to the future as much as the past. Come lend a hand for an hour or two as OHC volunteers build and prepare pollinator-friendly plant beds on the museum property. The Heritage Center will provide some gardening tools and gloves; participants may also bring their own favorites (please mark with your name).  Tom Roth, a local beekeeper with more than 22 years of experience, will be on site to answer questions about bees and beekeeping from 10 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.  Come inside and learn more about Oberlin’s early history through a self-guided tour of the 1866 Monroe House.  All activities are free as part of Smithsonian Magazine’s annual Museum Day.  Present the Museum Day Admission Card available at Location:  Oberlin Heritage Center grounds and Monroe House

If you have questions in advance or would like to let us know you're coming to help, please contact Museum Education and Tour Coordinator Amanda Manahan at (440) 774-1700 or at


April 24 (Friday, 4:00 – 5:00 p.m.) Book Reading with Gene Schmiel 

Come for a discussion, reading, and book signing with Gene Schmiel.  Schmiel has written several books related to the Civil War, including an award-winning biography of Oberlinian Jacob Cox.  In 2019 he published two new books, one about the Battle of Antietam and one about the Battle of Franklin, in both of which Cox played a prominent role. Schmiel is a Civil War historian, author, and lecturer who visited Oberlin in 2014 to present programs about Cox's military and political careers.  He has a Ph.D. in History from Ohio State University, and his web-site is  Space is limited for this free program, so please reserve ahead on-line or by calling (440) 774-1700. Location: OHC Monroe House parlor


April 28 (Tuesday, 7:00 p.m.) A History of Redlining and Housing Discrimination in Oberlin  - CANCELLED

This event has been cancelled as all Oberlin College students have been sent home for the rest of the semester, We hope to reschedule it for a future date.

Oberlin Heritage Center college student intern Colby Jeannine Fortin presents an open community forum about the history of housing discrimination and activism within Oberlin. She will share a timeline of known events and people in Oberlin’s housing history and then invite interested attendees to talk about these or other events and how they have laid a framework for people’s experiences today. Fortin, from the Adirondacks area of New York, is a second-year Comparative American Studies major at Oberlin College. Location: Oberlin Public Library Community Room.


May 15 (Friday, 3:30-4:30 p.m.) OHC Members-Only Field Trip to the Allen Memorial Art Museum

OHC is privileged to visit Oberlin College's Allen Memorial Art Museum and be led on a guided tour by Andria Derstine, John G. W. Cowles Director, and curators of the museum. The tour includes entertaining stories about highlights in the permanent collection plus a look at the current special exhibitions.   

This free tour is a special offering to OHC members and advance reservations are required due to limited space. Reserve on-line or by calling the OHC at 440-774-1700. Not yet an OHC member?  Join now online (visit the website and click on the “Join Now” button at the top of the home page) or contact Location: Allen Memorial Art Museum


May 16 (Saturday, 9:00 a.m.-Noon) OHC Grounds Clean-up Day

Volunteers are critical to keeping the Heritage Center's lawn, plants, and trees looking happy and healthy and we need your help this spring.  Join a merry band of volunteers for an hour or two and help spruce up the grounds for the busy summer visitor season.  Projects include trimming, weeding, and yard clean-up. Tools and supplies are provided, or volunteers are welcome to bring their own. Location: Oberlin Heritage Center Grounds


May 22-24 (Friday-Sunday)  Oberlin College Commencement/Reunion Weekend

The Oberlin Heritage Center offers a number of options for guided tours and themed history walks this special weekend. Some tours are free, others range in fee from $3-$6 for adults.  (Remember ALL tours are free for OHC members, college students and children under 18.)  Drop-in visitors are welcome for the Oberlin Origins “Sneak Peek” tour while all other tours require advance registration.

Friday, May 22

10:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. Self-Guided Tours of the Monroe House


Saturday, May 23

10:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. Sneak Peek: Oberlin Origins Tours, every half hour  (last tour begins at 4:30 p.m.)  Location:  Monroe House

11:00 a.m.                   "One Step More": Oberlin Women's History Walk

2:00 p.m.                     Freedom's Friends: Underground Railroad & Abolitionist History Walk

5:00 p.m.                     Oberlin Architecture History Walk


Sunday, May 24

10:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.  Sneak Peek: Oberlin Origins Tours, every half hour  (last tour begins at 4:30 p.m.)  Location:  Monroe House

11:00 a.m.                    Oberlin Architecture History Walk

2:00 p.m.                      Freedom's Friends: Underground Railroad & Abolitionist History Walk

5:00 p.m.                      Scholars & Settlers Tappan Square History Walk


Tablet Tours (for touring at your own pace) are available for rent Friday through Sunday, 10:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. Options: Picture the Past: Downtown Oberlin; Freedom's Friends: Underground Railroad & Abolition ($5/hour; 20% OHC member discount)


June 4 (Thursday, 3:00-4:00 p.m. or 6:00-7:00 p.m.)  Field Trip to Republic Services Recycling Center

Recycling has seen major shifts since the early 1990s, from an increase in programs and recyclable materials, to shifting prices, to the closing of major export markets.  What do these changes mean for the future of recycling? For that matter,  what can we recycle anyway? Is our recycling actually being recycled? What happens to the recyclables at the recycling facility? These questions and more will be answered by Lisa Beursken, Recycling Coordinator for Republic Services, when we visit its Recycling Center (just 3 miles from downtown Oberlin). The visit includes a 45-minute video and discussion that takes place in the observation room, followed by a 15-minute facility tour. Visitors of all ages are welcome for the video presentation but guests must be 18 or older to enter the facility. Participants should know that there is one flight of stairs on the tour and that there may be strong smells and noises. Tour participants must wear long pants and sturdy close-toed shoes or boots. Additional safety gear will be provided.

OHC and Republic Services have arranged for two tour times, so pick the one that works best with your schedule.

Thursday, June 4   3:00 p.m.

Thursday, June 4   6:00 p.m.

Fee is $6/OHC members; $8/non-OHC members. Pre-registration is required by May 30 and your fee supports the programs and services of the Heritage Center. Location: Republic Services / Recycling Center (Car-pooling is available upon request.) 


Jun - Aug (Saturdays; 11 a.m.) Freedom's Friends: Underground Railroad and Abolitionist History Walk

Prior to the Civil War, as many as 3,000 African Americans passed through or lived in Oberlin after escaping from slavery. Learn about Oberlin’s famous freedom seekers and those known to have helped them make their way to freedom on the Underground Railroad. History Walks take place every Saturday at 11:00 a.m. in June, July and August and reservations can be made on-line. Tour starting location: First Church of Oberlin.


Jun - Aug (Tuesday - Saturday; 10 a.m. - 3 p.m.) Outdoor Games for All  

Stop by with family or friends to enjoy some old-fashioned games in our yard. Choose from classics like ring toss, jump rope, hoop and stick, and more. Games are available for FREE; just sign them out at the Monroe House.


June 12 & 13 (Friday and Saturday, various times) Juneteenth

Juneteenth commemorates the ending of slavery in the United States and is a community-wide celebration of culture and history. The Heritage Center will participate along with many other area organizations hosting booths along Tappan Square on Saturday. For more event details, visit


June 20 (Saturday, 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.) Chalk Walk

Observe or take part in Oberlin’s 15th annual Chalk Walk celebration, which continues the tradition of festive, colorful sidewalk painting that began in 16th century Italy. All skill levels are welcome to work alongside master professional artists and local artists to create works of sidewalk art. High quality chalk is provided free. Stop by OHC’s table on South Main Street for a fun break! Learn more at Location: Downtown Oberlin.


July 8 (Wednesday, 6:00–8:30 p.m.)  OHC Annual Meeting and Community Awards

All are invited to an evening of history and fellowship at OHC’s Annual Meeting and dinner. Doors open at 5:00 p.m. for Social Hour. This year’s featured program delves into the story of an Oberlin museum that has ceased to exist. Did you know that Oberlin College used to house a natural history museum? Archaeologist Amy Margaris will discuss the history of the old “Oberlin College Museum” and current efforts to revitalize its remaining contents. In particular, she will share highlights of her ongoing collaboration with Alaska Native culture-bearers to learn more about a special group of 130-year-old cultural treasures from the Alaskan Arctic. Margaris is an Associate Professor and Chair of the Oberlin College Anthropology Department.

The evening also includes a brief business meeting and presentation of the 19th Annual Community Awards. Invitations with further details will be mailed to OHC members in mid-February. Add your name to the mailing list by sending an email to Location: The Hotel at Oberlin 

This event is sponsored by 

Summer History Walks

As warm weather returns to northeast Ohio, so do the Oberlin Heritage Center’s popular outdoor history walks. All ages can enjoy time outside and learn more about Oberlin’s unique history and architecture through these fun learning opportunities. Remember, OHC members enjoy FREE guided tours and history walks!

Freedom’s Friends History Walk: Underground Railroad & Abolitionist History Walk: Prior to the Civil War, as many as 3,000 African Americans passed through or lived in Oberlin after escaping from slavery. Learn about Oberlin’s famous freedom seekers and those known to have helped them make their way to freedom on the Underground Railroad.

Saturdays at 11:00 a.m. in June, July and August. Tour starts at the First Church of Oberlin


Volunteer Opportunities

Docent Training

Training is free and begins at the Monroe House; arrange to take a free tour in advance to see what it’s all about. To register for training or reserve a free advance tour, call (440) 774-1700 or e-mail Volunteers are asked to commit to leading at least four tours or history walks per year.

Upstairs / Downstairs Guided Tour: Small Town, Big Stories

April 18 (Saturday, 9:00 a.m.– 12:00 p.m.)

Learn how to present an engaging 75-minute tour through the Heritage Center’s three historic buildings while sharing stories of the community and college in its first century, from the 1833 founding through the turn of the 20th century. Register by April 14.


Freedoms Friends History Walk

April 25 (Saturday, 9:00 a.m.– 12:00 p.m.)

Learn about Oberlin's role in the history of abolition and the Underground Railroad and how to present it in the format of a 90-minute walking tour through historic neighborhoods surrounding downtown Oberlin. Register by April 21.

OHC Information Tent

Volunteers are needed for two-hour shifts to staff the Heritage Center’s welcome/ literature table for the following community events:

  • Commencement/Reunion Weekend (May 22-24 / Friday - Sunday)
  • Juneteenth (Saturday, June 13)
  • Chalk Walk (Saturday, June 20)
  • Family Fun Fair (Saturday, August 1)

Contact Amanda Manahan at (440) 774-1700 or to receive more information and sign up!



Ongoing Guided Tours

  • Upstairs / Downstairs Tour – Small Town, Big Stories – Every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday at 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. The Heritage Center’s three beautifully preserved historic buildings serve as backdrop for stories of Oberlin’s nationally significant history, from its founding in 1833 through its first century of progress. 75 minutes. $6/adults; free to OHC members, children and college students. Advance reservations encouraged; walk-ins welcome, too.

  • Sneak Peek – Oberlin Origins Mini-Tour – You’ll hit all the highlights of Oberlin’s first 100 years in this 30-minute guided tour of the first floor of the Monroe House. Offered Tuesday through Saturday between 10:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. Drop-ins welcome, although advance notice appreciated (440-774-1700). $3/adults; free to OHC members, children and college students.


Self-Guided Tablet Tours

Move at your own pace with our tablet tours of historic Oberlin! Borrow an iPad at the Monroe House between 10:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m., Tuesdays through Saturdays and explore Oberlin landmarks, stories, and historic images. Stop in, e-mail (, or call ahead (440-774-1700) to rent a tablet. The fee is $5/hour or $20/day; 20% discount for OHC members.

  • Freedom's Friends This tour is a self-guided version of the popular Freedom's Friends History Walk. The tour leads you to local landmarks connected to Oberlin's abolitionist history. Be inspired by the illustrated stories of sacrifice and freedom and learn more from added stories not included in the History Walk.

  • Picture the Past: Downtown Oberlin This tour covers a one-block radius extending from the corner of Main & College Streets. Filled with fun facts, historic photographs, and more!