Center for History Volunteers Honored
August 7, 2012 — Barbara Obenchain has been presented with the Mildred E. Cook Docent of the Year award by the Center for History for her exemplary service and dedication to the Oliver Mansion and the Worker’s Home. A docent for over 20 years for the Center for History’s guided tours of the Oliver Mansion, Obenchain helped to develop the tour and assisted in training the first class of docents for the historic house in 1989.
In addition to serving as a docent for the Oliver Mansion, Obenchain volunteers in numerous ways for the history museum. She serves as a docent for the monthly Insights in History program and the annual Mystery at the Mansion specialty tour. She also helps with decorating the 38-room Oliver Mansion at Christmas and serves on the Center for History’s Copshaholm Advisory Committee.
The Mildred E. Cook Docent of the Year award is given annually in honor of
Mildred E. Cook (1927-2009), who as a volunteer for over 20 years at the
Center for History epitomized the ideal of a docent as a teacher and guide.
Previous winners of the Mildred E. Cook Docent of the Year award are Angie Michalak and June Nowacki (2010) and Jo Borror (2011).
The presentation to Barbara Obenchain took place at an awards luncheon held
at Tippecanoe Place Restaurant on May 23. At the event, the Center for History also recognized Monica Radecki and Toni Cook for 30 years of volunteer service. Additional volunteers honored and their years of service are: 25 years – Norma Lu Meehan; 20 years – Jo Borror; 10 years – Patrick Albert, Nancy McBride, Davy Troxel; 5 years – Ron Daugherty, Julia Hostetler.
The Center for History offers 90-minute tours, led by volunteer docents, of its historic houses daily for visitors and school groups. Docents receive extensive training from the Center for History docents on conducting tours of the museum’s historic houses, the Oliver Mansion and the Worker’s Home. The museum’s training course provides in-depth information about the architecture and furnishings of the Oliver Mansion, the family who lived there, and the Oliver Chilled Plow Works.
The Oliver Mansion, or Copshaholm as it was called by the Oliver family, is an exquisite 38-room mansion located on the corner of Washington and Chapin Streets. It was home to the J.D. Oliver family, owners of the largest plow factory in the world, the Oliver Chilled Plow Works. Now, as a house museum with all furnishings original to the home, the Oliver Mansion can be seen as it looked when the family lived there.
The Center for History has over 150 volunteers, 47 of whom are docents. For
information about becoming a docent of the historic houses, call (574) 235-9664.