Ohio Village will be bustling this summer.
The recreated town of Ohio in the 1890s, located on the Ohio History Connection campus, will be open Wednesday through Sunday through the end of October, with its homes and stores populated by a new group of characters more numerous.
“We were able to hire quite a few performers, focusing on building a diverse group,” said Lyn Logan-Grimes, 56, an African-American history experiment developer at the Ohio History Connection, and a member of the team that created this year’s characters.
“There is really an effort to make sure that we tell more accurate stories about the people of Ohio and that all voices are represented,” she said.
Andrew Hall, 29, a senior experience developer at the Ohio History Connection, also participated in village character development.
“When visitors arrive in the village, they encounter a number of characters in first person. These are individuals who have devoted hours to studying life in the 19th century, life in general, but also their specific areas of interest, ”he said.
“Especially over the past 10 years, Ohio Village has been run mostly by volunteers. But the organization has made significant investments in the Ohio Village to show just how much of a resource it is in central Ohio. They gave us the resources to have more staff, and that way we can have more interactions with visitors.
Most of the staff will be present on at least four of the five village opening days, with almost all of them available on weekends.
Volunteers will always be part of the mix, although most of them will only be there one or two days a week.
“Visitors who are particularly interested in meeting certain characters can chat with the staff here in the village about when they might meet certain people. For example, we have two volunteers who love to run the funeral home. We know they have their own small audiences, ”Hall said.
Among this year’s new performers is Tress Augustine, 43.
“My character is Mary Taylor. She returned to the village at the behest of her aunt, who moved to Columbus with her husband, but wanted to keep the family home open to any family member or person of color passing through the Ohio village. The Taylor House is a stopover, a home for those who may not have one. “
You could meet Marie at her home, answer letters, or greet guests. Or you might see her outside.
“You might find me in the clothing store I own or walking around chatting with my neighbors. I’m a bit of a social butterfly!
When Augustine, who volunteered for the Ohio History Connection and did community theater for years, discovered the opportunity to be a performer, she couldn’t resist.
“I’m an Ohioan from womb to grave, and there’s no better place than Ohio Village to show this love of Ohio,” she said.
Another novelty in the village this year is Monique Tondato, who plays Juliana Oliveira. Juliana runs the toy store with her brother.
“Her character is actually based on Katharine Wright, the Wright brothers’ sister, who was an inventor herself, but was not acclaimed by her brothers. As a village character, Juliana will struggle with many. the same things as Katharine Wright, trying not to be overshadowed by her brother, ”Hall said.
Tondato, 22, has just graduated from Columbus College of Art & Design.
“At the start of the pandemic, I dove deep into historical costumes, and then I started to learn more about living history. So when this opportunity presented itself, I jumped on it, ”she said.
Although the village is open five days a week, the weekends will be particularly busy, with several devoted to different themes.
• Saturday and Sunday: A “Sugar Social”, which, as the name suggests, is a pastry challenge, will be presented.
“We will have judges doing tastings and announcing a winner, and we will hand out original recipes, so visitors can prepare these foods at home. We will also have a number of food related activities throughout the weekend and sample ready meals for people to try, ”Hall said.
• July 31-August. 1: The last weekend in July will be devoted to ‘Busting Victorian Myths’ – including the fact that the correct way to drink a cup of tea is to stick out your pinky.
“The proper way to do this is to wrap your pinky finger around the base of the cup. Your pinky then supports the cup and helps keep it stable,” Hall said.
• August 14-15: The village will host a “Storybook Village” for children.
• August 28-29: “Crime and corruption” will take center stage.
“It was one of our most popular theme weekends because it is all about 19th century crimes. We will have circuit court trials, where visitors can participate and act as a jury and render a verdict based on the evidence they hear, ”Hall said.
• September 4-5: This weekend will be the “Ohio Cup”, in which 25 teams from Ohio and beyond will compete in 1860s-style baseball.
• 11-12 Sep: How about a “science fiction and Victorian invention”?
“We hope, especially with these themed weekends, and really with the Village in general, that people of all ages will find something to interest them. Our performers and volunteers are well trained to have an interaction with a 5 year old who is simply fascinated by a toy or with someone who is an amateur historian and knows a lot about historical medicine and wants to get into a real detailed conversation, ”Hall said.
Curious people can meet up with the villagers at 7 p.m. Thursday during a free show via Zoom or Facebook, where two mayoral candidates will visit the tavern, the hairdressing salon and other sites in the hope of winning votes, then participate in a debate at the town hall.
In one look
Ohio Village, at the Ohio History Connection, Interstate 71 and East 17th Avenue, is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday through October 31. Admission is $ 13 or $ 11 for those 60 and over and for students with an ID, $ 7 for ages 4 to 12 and free for children 3 and under. Timed tickets are required and can be purchased up to two weeks in advance.
Register online for the free “Meet the Villagers” program at 7 p.m. tonight, or watch it on the Ohio History Connection Facebook page and click on events. For more information about Ohio Village and the program, call 1-800-686-6124 or visit www.ohiohistory.org.