Welsh-American Heritage Museum
Phone 740-418-5572 or 740-441-7246 to schedule a time.
Alternate numbers for weekdays only are:
The Madog Center for Welsh Studies at 740-245-7186
The Madog Center is open Monday-Friday from 8-5PM.
Welsh-American Heritage Museum Timeline
412 East Main Street
Oak Hill, Ohio 45656
1841 Welsh Congregational Church organized in Oak Hill village. The one other Welsh Congregational church was Bryn Hyfryd, organized in 1900 and located outside of Oak Hill.
1868 Original Welsh Congregational Church replaced with a brick structure. The bricks were made locally at the Aetna Brickyard. The new church had a tall, pointed steeple, along with a double walk-way and doors for men and women. One of the early ministers of the church was Rev. Evan Evans (Nant-y-Glo), being blind in one eye, was accused of praying with one eye open to keep an eye on his flock.
1871 The Church was founded and there were 175 members around 1890. After that a decline hit the church, the Welsh language was dying out in the area and membership declined.
1941 Although the Church has only 24 members, a three-day Centennial celebration is held in late September. A huge crowd arrived and a loudspeaker was used so the crowds outside the church could hear speakers the Hon. Thomas A. Jenkins of Ironton and Johnny Jones of Columbus.
1962 The Welsh Congregational Church was closed and the building sold to the First Baptist Church.
1971 As the First Baptist Church planned a new building in the eastern part of Oak Hill, a group of Welsh-Americans were planning a venture of their own, to purchase the church for the purpose of establishing a Welsh Museum. The core group consisted of Rev. James A. M. Hanna, Mildred Jenkins Bangert, D. Paul Morgan, Ben R. Evans and Evan E. Davis along with a host of interested citizens. The cost of purchasing the old Welsh Church was $10,000.
May 8, 1972 The Welsh American Heritage Museum, Inc. was chartered by Ted Brown, Ohio Secretary of State. At that time it was the only Welsh Museum in the U.S. Mildred Bangert was the first and only curator the Welsh-American Museum has had. The group set about collecting all items pertaining to the preservation of Welsh heritage and culture. Objectives of the corporation were:
- To foster Welsh family ties throughout the world
- To collect and preserve records, relics, heirlooms of Welsh families in a museum setting
- To preserve for all time as a heritage museum possession of the old Welsh Congregational Church in Oak Hill, Ohio
- To keep the Welsh culture and traditions alive in the area
- To permit civic-minded organizations use of edifice
June 1995 The first North American Conference for the Study of Welsh Culture and History is held on the campus of the University of Rio Grande.
May 1996 The second NAASWCH conference is held at URG.
June 29, 1996 Due to the response to the previous NAASWCH conferences and the support of the Welsh Museum’s board of trustees, the local Welsh-American community and Dr. Barry Dorsey, a Welsh Studies Center was established on the campus of URG.
Oct. 19, 1996 The Board of Trustees of the Welsh-American Heritage Museum celebrates the silver anniversary of the Museum by holding a concert featuring tenor Dafydd Edwards, from Dyfred, Wales. During the June 6th meeting of Museum trustees during the Silver anniversary celebration planning, it was the “consensus of the Board that the use of the resources of the Welsh-American Heritage Museum for a Branch Studies Center could not but enhance the Museum’s objectives to introduce the wealth of historical materials and their supporting artifacts held in the Museum’s collections to all who could benefit from them.”
The Welsh Museum is open Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday afternoons from 1-4PM and has a telephone answering machine at 740-682-6515 for appointments. Curator Mildred lives directly across the street from the Museum and is always willing to open the doors for those who stop by outside those posted times.
The Museum served as a meeting place for the Cardigan Club, a Welsh women’s group initially. Due to low membership, the Cardigan Club was combined with the Welsh-American Heritage Museum group officially in the spring of 2012. Other events held at the Museum include a gymanfa every three years, the Annual Advent Carol Sing in November and a learning lab for groups of local school children where volunteers brought the exhibits to life. The Museum trustees were active in planning the local St. David’s banquet in March of each year. The Museum was also designated as a stop on the Welsh Byway in 1997.
May 1, 2012 Mildred Bangert announces her retirement as curator after a career of nearly 40 years.