Bring a Youth Group
***COVID-19 Pandemic Procedures***
Group tours must be reserved at least three weeks in advance.
Masks are not required for visitors as of 1/1/2023. Visitors who have COVID-19 concerns are invited to contact us about private tour options as well as request that the docent wear a mask during tours
If you have any questions or concerns about our history walk operations, or would like to make a reservation, please call 440-774-1700 or email the Museum Education and Tour Manager.
Bring your class, club, or family for an enjoyable day at the Oberlin Heritage Center! Spend time touring historic buildings, investigating mysterious old objects, and trying historic lessons and games at the Little Red Schoolhouse. Learn about history by seeing, hearing, and doing – not just reading and listening. Past visitors have included classes, Girls Scouts, Boy Scouts, clubs, day care centers, home schools, family reunions, and after-school organizations.
A note to educators: Our tours meet state and national academic content standards within Social Studies, Science, and Language Arts subjects. A sampling of these standards includes history, geography, government, citizenship rights, science and technology, and communication. Students learn individual and community history, and make connections to national history themes that can otherwise seem impersonal and far removed from their daily lives. This helps make history more personal, relevant and fun. Information about academic benchmarks.
Within reason, the Heritage Center staff is willing to tailor the tour length, content, and route to meet the needs of educators and their students. Tours are recommended for children aged seven and older but can be altered to meet the interests of younger children if enough planning time is allowed. Groups with very young children are encouraged to try the "Lessons in the Past" and "I Spy Oberlin" programs, or contact us to create a personalized tour. Group leaders might also be interested in our outreach programs.
Educators may wish to apply for a field trip grant offered by Target. Grant information.
If you have any questions or would like to schedule a tour, please call Stephanie Bohnak, the Museum Education and Tour Manager, at (440) 774-1700 or email [email protected]. We look forward to hearing from you!
- 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.
- $3 per child (under 18 years old)
- Adult chaperones are free
- 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 pdf for details about reserving a tour and cancellation policies. Accessibility and ADA page
[Printable Handout for Teachers. Note: Some tours are also available as classroom programs]
Lessons in the Past
Attention teachers, home-school associations, scout leaders, youth ministers, and other youth leaders! Looking for a fun and educational activity for kids? Lessons in the Past is an hour-and-a-half program available for youth and school groups, ages 7 and above. Experience what a school day may have been like in the early 1800s. Visitors will be welcomed to the Heritage Center's pioneer-era one-room schoolhouse by a costumed interpreter and immersed in historic school lessons including reading, penmanship, arithmetic, and more. The program lasts approximately 90 minutes and includes lessons and stories in the Schoolhouse and old-fashioned games in the schoolyard. Reservations are required; minimum group size is 10; maximum 25. Lessons can be tailored to meet specific standards, and additional tour options are available by pre-arrangement. The fee for this program is $3 per student.
I Spy Oberlin: History and Architecture Scavenger Hunt
This fun program is designed for children age 5-11 with an adult companion. Families will be guided through historic Oberlin while keeping their eyes peeled for historic markers, decorative details, and Oberlin oddities. Fun and engaging for all! The "hunt" begins at the Monroe House and traverses outside in fair weather; we will "spy" inside our historic buildings if it's raining. Reservations are required for this program, so please check our Event Calendar or call to reserve a group program.
Upstairs/Downstairs Guided Tour: Small Town, Big Stories
Visit three historic buildings at the Oberlin Heritage Center: the Monroe House (1866), the Little Red Schoolhouse (1836) and the Jewett House1884). Learn about the founding of Oberlin, African American history, the Underground Railroad, women's history, scientific discovery, and turn-of-the-century reform movements. See how people kept their houses warm, washed clothes, cooked meals, and spent time in the evenings. 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. Although all visitors are welcome, this tour will be of most interest to children above the age of 7 years.
We are ready to work with you to make the tour fit your needs and interests! Ask us about tailoring your tour to address certain interests, academic content standards, or badge requirements. You also have the option of requesting a walking tour element, either in place of visiting one of our buildings, or in addition to the "standard" tour. For example, a group 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 Underground Railroad-related sites.
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 history walk is available for group reservations from April through October. History walks are recommended for those aged 9 and above but can be modified to meet younger visitor’s interests with advanced preparation. The tour can be modified to focus on particular buildings or monuments, but this must be arranged in advance. Whether you've lived in Oberlin forever or are new to the area, you'll find much to enjoy.
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 hour and thirty minute guided history walk is available for group reservations from April through October. History walks are recommended for those aged 9 and above but can be modified to meet younger visitor’s interests with advanced preparation.
Note: Much of the content for this tour is also available as an outreach program. Contact the Museum Education and Tour Coordinator at [email protected] for more details.
"One Step More": Oberlin Women's History Walk
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 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.
Soldiers and Civilians History Walk: Oberlin and the Civil War
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. History walks are recommended for those aged 9 and above but can be modified to meet younger visitor’s interests with advance preparation.
Radicals and Reformers History Walk
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. History walks are recommended for those aged 9 and above but can be modified to meet younger visitor’s interests with advanced preparation. 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 linked to history, preservation, and architectural lessons in the classroom. This tour is available by group reservation from April through October. History walks are recommended for those aged 14 and above but can be modified to meet younger visitor’s interests with advanced preparation.
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.
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.