NEW PHILADELPHIA (WJER) (Jan. 31, 2023) – Historic Schoenbrunn Village will be under new management when it reopens this spring.
The Dennison Depot announced last week that it was handing the site back over to the Ohio History Connection after 15 years as its caretaker. Executive Director Wendy Zucal is proud of the strides they’ve made to restore and promote the village, which celebrated its 250th birthday this past year. However, she says they need to focus on their primary site in Dennison (which has grown exponentially in recent years, and the Clay Capital Heritage Center they’re developing in Uhrichsville).
“When we took over Schoenbrunn, we did not have our Pullman Bed & Breakfast, which is going really well; our new streetside center which is across the street from the Depot in the former Masonic building; our business car. We’ve expanded train rides, and we just have a lot of irons in the fire that need attention as well as the expanding Clay Museum, which is under construction right now.”
The History Connection already owns Schoenbrunn and will manage it on an interim basis beginning March 1st. Chief Historic Sites Officer Jenn Aultman says it will likely be for the entire 2023 season as they talk with stakeholders and try to line up another managing partner.
“What it allows us to do is like do a little match-making with the new partner, right? So think about what the characteristics and qualities of that partner might be and who has the interest and then helping to just support them in ways so they’re able to step in as a manager feeling like they have all the support and skills and information.”
She had nothing but good things to say about the Depot, which was one of the first to step up when they were looking for local groups to operate the 58 sites in their network.
“They have just done a fantastic job with that site and we want to build on what they’ve done…It’s always great to take an opportunity when you have a pause to really be intentional about how you move forward.”
The History Connection is still finalizing an opening date for this coming season, which will be posted at historicsites.ohiohistory.org/schoenbrunn. As for the Lantern Tours, Food Truck Festival and other events the village is known for, Aultman hopes to make them happen but says they might look a bit different than in the past.