Preservation of the Oberlin Heritage Center Complex

Volunteers are the backbone of the Oberlin Heritage Center, a complex of historic buildings (including a 1830s one-room schoolhouse) that document the history of Oberlin and its role in the 19th century abolitionist movement. The Oberlin Heritage Center is open to the public for tours year-round and includes a Resource Center Library with holdings on Oberlin history.

Volunteers serve many roles at the Oberlin Heritage Center, including as board members, docents, office and program assistants, and community ambassadors. Volunteers at the center have the opportunity for training both when they begin and throughout their time with the center. New volunteers work with staff for one-on-one training to learn about specific tasks. Volunteers are encouraged to continue developing their knowledge through readings, meetings, field trips, workshops, and conferences.

Without the extensive volunteer program, the Oberlin Heritage Center would not be able to offer the wide range of services they provide today. Volunteers provide grounds upkeep, from lawn moving, gardening, and snow shoveling. Other volunteers conduct, transcribe, and edit oral histories. Volunteers also give tours, supervise hands-on history fun activities, and present public programs.

The Oberlin Heritage Center works to collect materials from the people of the local community. Using the collections, the center works to display exhibits that reveal the stories of Oberlin’s early activities, educators, inventors, and residents. Collections are also available for research by Oberlin College students and other interested parties.

Designated a Preserve America Steward in January 2009.