Jack W. Hiles Memorabilia Museum To Be Dedicated, Free Tours Of Wolcott House To Take Place Saturday

The Wolcott House and accompanying grounds open to tours this season beginning on Saturday, May 11 at 11:30 a.m. The Wolcott House is located at 1035 River Rd. in Maumee. MIRROR PHOTOS BY KRISTI FISH
The dedication ceremony for the Jack W. Hiles Maumee Memorabilia Museum is on Saturday, May 11 at 1:00 p.m. The ceremony will celebrate the name change in honor of the late founder.

BY KRISTI FISH | MIRROR REPORTER — At the Wolcott Heritage Center grounds, old holiday decorations are being put away, rooms are being cleaned and new displays are coming out of storage.

In preparation for a Saturday, May 11 season opening, volunteers from the Maumee Valley Historical Society and at the Jack W. Hiles Maumee Memorabilia Museum have been hard at work to prepare for visitors.

“We have the opening of the Wolcott, and then the dedication for the name change on the museum to Jack Hiles is occurring at 1:00 p.m. on the property with the unveiling,” said site manager Mike Niebauer

For the opening weekend, on May 11 only, the tours at the Wolcott House, which are held at 11:30 a.m. and 1:00 p.m., will be free.

During the opening weekend festivities, city officials and community members are also invited out to celebrate the dedication of the Jack W. Hiles Maumee Memorabilia Museum, named for the late founder.

Hiles devoted much of his life to collecting pieces of Maumee’s history and making sure it was available to the community, said his sister, Char Nesper.

Jack W. Hiles

Since his passing in 2023, the volunteers at the memorabilia museum have been working even harder to familiarize themselves with the items on display and in storage, so visitors can find exactly what they’re looking for.

“We’ve been working all winter on Wednesdays,” said volunteer Debbie Parish. “We’re sorting, identifying and making some room for things so that they’re grouped together and it makes sense.”

There were some items, Nesper said, that did not pertain to Maumee, so the volunteers have been working to find their rightful homes in places like Toledo and Perrysburg.

For the items that are not on display, they have been working to organize them for easier access, said volunteer Karen Wagener.

That makes things easier for Parish, who has helped connect community members with more information on their historic homes, old businesses and even family members.

“Preservation of Maumee is the main goal with all of this,” Wagener noted.

Now that the museum has received a new name, recognizing the hard work of Hiles and his efforts to preserve Maumee’s history, the volunteers are excited to celebrate that moment.

Light refreshments will be provided at the 1:00 p.m. dedication, along with a speech from Maumee Valley Historical Society board president Jenny Barlos.

The community is encouraged to attend and show its support for the museum and accompanying Wolcott grounds.

Seven properties, including the newly minted Jack Hiles Maumee Memorabilia Museum, sit on the grounds.

The Wolcott House, which belonged to James and Mary Wells Wolcott, features several exhibits showcasing pieces of history from Maumee and beyond.

During Saturday tours, docents walk visitors through the space, providing more background information on the family and its involvement in Maumee.

“We work a lot with everyone next door (at the Wolcott House) and help each other out a lot,” Nesper said. “They are also looking for more volunteers to be docents.”

As part of the Wolcott Heritage Center, visitors can see several of the properties on the site, including an 1850s log house.

 

Guests can also see the schoolhouse, historic church, farm house, log house and train depot with caboose. Teas, camps and more are already planned for the Wolcott Heritage Center this summer, while Niebauer said he is looking to add even more events.

Guided tours at the Wolcott are held on Saturdays at 11:30 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. Admission is $6.00 for adults, $5.00 for seniors and $2.00 for students.

The Jack W. Hiles Maumee Memorabilia Museum is open from noon to 2:00 p.m. on Saturdays and is free for visitors.

The Wolcott House is located at 1035 River Rd. in Maumee.

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