Local Spotlight: Heritage Village Museum

Heritage Village Museum is one of Ohio’s most unique hidden gems. It’s a well-preserved glimpse into the state’s rich history and heritage, just waiting to be explored. 

As a hands-on living history museum, Heritage Village has been hit particularly hard by 2020. But the museum’s centuries-old buildings have weathered tougher challenges. And as we look ahead to the fall and holiday seasons, Heritage Village Museum & Educational Center’s marketing director Bethany Jewell is confident the museum will stand the test of time.

Tell us a little about the Heritage Village Museum.

Heritage Village Museum and Educational Center is a living history museum consisting of 13 historical buildings that represent various aspects of family life during the 1800s.These buildings include historic homes, a train station, doctor’s office, general store and church. Our mission is to bring history alive, focusing on life in the late 1700s through the 1800s.

What’s something people may not know about Heritage Village?

Even though Heritage Village Museum is located inside Sharon Woods Park, it’s not part of Great Parks of Hamilton County. Heritage Village Museum is operated by Historic Southwest Ohio, a private, non-profit organization that owns and operates the buildings and collections. Heritage Village Museum receives no tax dollars. Funding comes from admissions, education programs, memberships, donations and grants.

How has Heritage Village been affected by COVID-19? 

COVID-19 has had a big financial impact on Heritage Village Museum. All of our education program field trips were cancelled in the spring. We’ve also had to cancel several of our events and programs. We are open for self-guided and guided tours, but attendance is down. We have devised ways to operate safely by requiring face masks, social distancing and practicing good cleaning protocols. We are currently working out the details for how to hold larger events, such as Haunted Village, in a safe manner. We are also working on creating education program videos so that we can teach students about the history of Southwest Ohio virtually.

What kinds of things do families learn about at the museum?

[At Heritage Village] Thirteen restored 19th century buildings set the stage for fun and exciting learning opportunities. Families are immersed in history and can experience a day in the life of their 19th century counterparts. A visit to Heritage Village Museum gives insight into life in the 1800s and relates the past to today’s society.

The holidays are approaching and it’s a busy time of year for you. What are some of your upcoming events, and what can people expect this year?

Haunted Village is our biggest fundraising event for the year! It will run on Oct. 9, 10, 16, 17, 23 and 24 from 6-10 pm. Our 19th century village is the perfect setting for a for a family-friendly, slight-fright Halloween event! This year, we will require advanced registration with timed entry to allow space for social distancing — and most of the event will take place outside.

Looking ahead, Holly Days will take place on Dec. 12 and 13 and lets families travel back in time to experience what the holidays were like during the 1800s. Children can make traditional holiday crafts, sample holiday treats and listen to holiday music. Each day there will be a reenactment of the first Christmas Dinner in Cincinnati — “Columbia” as it was known in 1788 — when Native Americans, settlers and soldiers sat together for a peaceful holiday celebration.

How can families support Heritage Village?

There are several ways that families can support Heritage Village Museum: attend events and programs, become a member, volunteer or make a donation. Your support helps us continue to provide high-quality programs and maintain our historic buildings. You can find information about our events, membership, volunteer opportunities and donations at heritagevillagecincinnati.org.

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