Nestled in the fields of rural Northwest Ohio is Sauder Village, Ohio’s largest living history museum. Since opening in 1976, Sauder Village has grown to a 235-acre complex with more than 350 employees and 200 adult and youth volunteers. The Historic Village preserves more than 75 historic structures and over 50,000 artifacts, which allow us to share history through stories, demonstrations, and programs that positively impact nearly 100,000 guests from across the country and around the world each season. Our 501(c)3 non-profit organization also includes the 98-room Sauder Heritage Inn, the 87-site campground, the 350-seat Barn Restaurant, the Doughbox Bakery, and a banquet facility for seating 750 in Founders Hall. Profits from the hospitality areas help support the mission of the historic village.
Sauder Village was the dream of Erie J. Sauder, founder of Sauder Woodworking Company. Despite only having an eighth-grade education, Mr. Sauder knew the importance of a good education and the hard work it took to settle this region of Northwest Ohio, known as the Great Black Swamp. By the late 1960s, Erie was nearing retirement and began in earnest to create a place to help children learn about the region’s history and enterprising spirit. As he collected objects and buildings, his dream began to grow in scale, and we are proud to continue that mission of educating our guests in the living history setting. As Erie stated, “You can put all of this history in books, and it will never talk like the tangible history will.”
The historic Walk Through Time at Sauder Village allows guests to experience life in NW Ohio from 1803 to the 1920s. In our “Natives & Newcomers,” we share the history of the Native peoples that lived in the surrounding areas and the Europeans that worked to settle the Great Black Swamp. Moving further along our timeline, “Pioneer Settlement” shares the history of the earliest European immigrants to this region and how new communities were established as the Great Black Swamp was drained and farmland created. Agriculture was, and continues to be, a mainstay of NW Ohio.
Opened in the fall of 2020, the 1920s Main Street tells the story of small-town communities. Guests can stroll down a main street typical of Northwest Ohio, where they can visit our theatre, hardware, jewelry, bank, dry goods, grocery, barber and more. The 1920s Main Street will be the host of the conference’s annual “Salted, Smoked, and Pickled” reception Friday evening; you may even find our speakeasy- sshhhhh.
The 2023 ALHFAM Annual Meeting and Conference will offer conference attendees a wide variety of learning opportunities. On Friday, you can choose from twenty-two different on- or off-site educational opportunities. Saturday’s events include the plowing contest, workshops, the Sauder Village site visit, our keynote address by Claus Kropp and the fashion show. Sunday and Monday will offer fifty-eight different sessions, and, of course, the always entertaining auction.
The full conference program will be released soon, but Inn & Campground reservations are available for booking now. https://alhfam.org/2023-annual-conference. We are excited to welcome the ALHFAMily to Sauder Village this coming June 23-26, 2023!