Open Doors - Westerville
Touch Westerville History
Open Doors Ohio Celebrates Westerville
Westerville’s historical landmarks are part of the Ohio Open Doors celebration from September 9-18. Brought to you by the Ohio History Connection, Ohio Open Doors is a statewide event where Westerville joins other cities in opening historic buildings and landmarks to the public for special tours and programs.
Each site is open on different days and at different times. Check the list below for places you’d like to visit.
More information about each Westerville historical site is at Visit Westerville.
The Ohio Connection Open Doors lists every site in Ohio open for tours.
Towers Hall is the oldest building at Otterbein University in Westerville. The building was designed by architect R.T. Brookes, who also designed the original Columbus City Hall. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Towers Hall is known for its Victorian Gothic architecture. Otterbein University Archivist Stephen D. Grinch will offer an illustrated talk about the history of the school’s iconic landmark and then lead guests on a walking tour of the building. It is open Saturday, September 10, 1-3 p.m.
The Otterbein Mausoleum, dedicated November 30, 1924, sits along the southern bank of Otterbein Cemetery. As part of the Ohio Open Doors Program, the mausoleum doors will be open for visitors. The structure is 98 years old and is on the National Historical Register for its architectural style. It is open Tuesday, September 13 from 1-3 p.m.
Blendon Masonic Lodge
A member of Blendon Lodge will provide a guided tour of the Westerville Lodge Building. Visitors will then be invited to observe and participate in a short ritualized opening and closing of a Lodge “meeting” in the main lodge room that will include a question & answer session with the officers of the lodge. The evening will conclude with refreshments and additional time to look around the building. The tour is Monday, September 12, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
Hanby House, an Ohio History Connection site, will be open for tours on Thursday, September 15 from 1-3 p.m. View a short film about the life of William Hanby and his son Benjamin Hanby. William Hanby was a conductor on the Underground and editor of a religious newspaper. His son, Benjamin, was the revered composer of “Darling Nellie Gray”, a popular anti-slavery ballad, and the ever-popular “Up on the Housetop.” Tour the Hanby family home which contains family items and is a good example of an average family abode in the 19th century. (Editor’s note: Deleted incorrect reference the William Hanby being the founder of Otterbein University. The information reported was incorrect.)
Tour the exhibition “The Witness Blanket” made by multidisciplinary indigenous Canadian artist Carey Newman/Hayalthkin’geme. The Witness Blanket is a gallery-size sculptural installation made as a cedar “blanket,” woven with pieces of Indian residential school history. The Frank Museum is a historical building dedicated to global art. ODW seeks to move viewers beyond the single narrative toward more nuanced understandings of people, places, and cultures. Open September 10 and 17, 2022 from 10:30 a.m. - Noon and September 14, 15, and 16 from 11 a.m. - 1 p.m.
Westerville History Museum and Innovation Lab
Enjoy a walk through the Westerville History Museum’s archive and collection space and see what items are collected and cared for. Tour the library’s innovation lab to see what things you can do including reserve time in a recording studio, custom print large banners, use design software, 3D printing, and more. Follow signs for the museum on the first floor and the lab on the second floor. Wednesday, September 14, 2022, from 2-4 p.m.
Fisher Gallery and Miller Gallery at Otterbein University
Miller Gallery - Tour the Coping Mechanisms exhibition with the support of an arts professional. Coping Mechanisms takes place as America begins to reckon with its systemic racism, something that became especially blatant in 2020 – not only with the murder of George Floyd, but in the devastating and disproportionate toll of the coronavirus pandemic. September 10 and 17, 2022 from 2 - 4 p.m.
Fisher Gallery - Tour the exhibition Colour Works with the support of an arts professional. Colour Works highlights acts of reconciliation across Canada around the legacy of residential and day schools, which Indigenous children were forced to attend between the 1870s and 1990s. Orange T-Shirts, inspired by the experience of Survivor Phyllis Webstad, whose own orange shirt was taken on her first day of residential school, have become national symbols of remembrance and honor for the children, Survivors, and Intergenerational Survivors. September 10 and 17, 2022 from 1:30 - 3:30 p.m.
Minerva France Elementary School
The Westerville Education Foundation is inviting you to the first public unveiling of Minerva France Elementary School. The school is named for a woman of distinction who was a pioneer in the field of library science. Minerva France attended the Westerville Schools, was one of the first black women to study library science, and worked as a librarian at Wilberforce College. Sunday, September 18, 2022, from 2 - 8 p.m.
Inspired - Gallery of Fine Arts
Enjoy a walk through the 1849 home of Garrit Sharp, an original settler of Sharp’s Settlement, now Westerville. Discover the role the Sharp family played in the Underground Railroad and learn more about the exciting history and start of Westerville, all while viewing paintings, ceramics, and textiles in what is now the “Inspired – Gallery of Fine Arts.” September 9 and 16, 2022 from 3 - 5 p.m. and
September 10 and 17. 2022 at 11 a.m
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