General Policies for Event Rental

 The primary purpose of the Ohio History Connection is to preserve the state’s historical, archeological, and natural heritage through research, collecting, education, and exhibition.We welcome the opportunity to expand our educational outreach efforts in the central Ohio area by allowing use of the museum and Ohio Village for business and social functions. However, the care and security of the exhibits and collections must be of primary importance during the event planning and the event itself. Therefore we ask your cooperation in helping to preserve the integrity of our facilities. The following guidelines are designed to assist you in planning your event. Specific items and terms will be listed in your contract, as well as our contracts with your caterer and special agents. As a result the Ohio History Connection requires adherence to the following policies:

The use of the facilities administered by the Ohio History Connection (OHS) is subject to the following limitations:

  1. Regular operational needs and scheduled OHS activities shall have the first priority.
  2. Activities must be consistent with the activities of the Society.
  3. Use of Ohio History Connection administered facilities shall be regulated by administrative policies established by the Board of Trustees.

Because it is the mission of the Ohio History Connection to stimulate public interest in history, groups are encouraged to include an educational or historical component in conjunction with their event. Ask your facilities use coordinator for more information.

Types of Events

Use of the museum/Ohio Village facilities may be available for the following types of events:

  1. Ohio History Connection sponsored events which present activities to the public, including lectures, dinners, workshops, exhibit openings and presentation ceremonies.
  2. Internal events which are either nonpublic or attended by staff volunteers, or members of professional organizations, including board meetings, annual meetings, staff events, etc.
  3. Events hosted by nonprofit groups, corporations, organizations, or individuals, and involve the use of the museum or Ohio Village facilities, including business meetings and seminars, corporate events, banquets, wedding ceremonies, social receptions, etc.

Rental of space includes approximately one hour of set up before the event and one hour of tear down after the event. Rental rates include house lighting, heating and air conditioning, general site security, janitorial services for public areas, restrooms and lobbies, and on-site event personnel the day of your event. The revenue generated by these events benefits the annual operating fund of the Ohio History Connection.

Scheduling an Event

All events are scheduled and coordinated through the Facilities Use Office. All event details must be approved by your facilities use coordinator, including, but not limited to food service, entertainment, florists, event planners, production companies, decorators, invitations, print materials, etc. The procedures for scheduling an event are as follows:

  1. All facility users are required to complete an initial application requesting the use of the facility, which will be reviewed by a staff committee. Requests will be considered with the museum’s needs in mind, including security, custodial needs, conservation, staffing, building logistics, and the Society’s own programming schedule.
  2. Upon approval of the application, the facility user will receive an event contract credit application, and a copy of the “General Policies for Facilities Use at the Ohio Historical Center and Ohio Village” from the Facilities Use Office to sign and return with a 50% deposit of projected facilities use rental fee for your event to confirm the date. No reservation will be confirmed until the signed contract, policies, credit application, and deposit are received by OHS.
  3. An estimate of the costs and description of services provided by OHS, Banquet Event Order (BEO), will be given to the facility user by the facilities use coordinator as soon as details of the event are firm. Full payment and a signed BEO are due 15 business days prior to the event unless otherwise authorized. Any additional costs incurred will be invoiced separately following the event. A credit card number is required for the final balance.
Available Hours for Private Events
  1. At the Ohio Historical Center, daytime events may be scheduled Monday-Sunday, 8 a.m.–5 p.m. for the nonpublic areas only. Evening events cannot start prior to 5 p.m. on any days the building is open to the public and cannont extend past midnight (cleanup by 1 a.m.).
  2. The Ohio Village hours of operation vary seasonally. Please contact the facilities use staff for details.
  3. All functions are to end at the agreed upon time. The society reserves the right to insist that guests, caterers and all vendors, etc. leave the building at the agreed upon time.
  4. Facilities may be scheduled Jan. 3 through Nov. 25 based upon availability. During the Ohio State Fair (at the end of July and the beginning of the month of August) and the OHS Holiday Season (Nov. 25–Dec. 31), space and resources may be limited. Please make special considerations during these periods.

The Ohio History Center and all of the buildings in the Ohio village are smoke-free environments. Please check with the Facilities Use Office to see where the designated smoking areas are located.


All alcohol must be purchased through the Ohio History Connection and be served by OHS staff. Ask the facilities use coordinator for the spirits and libations list. Any special requests will be considered. All persons serving alcohol must comply with Ohio’s laws and rules governing its use, and be covered for any liability. The Ohio History Connection is not liable for any injuries to guests or negligence where alcohol is involved. Bar service will be discontinued at least 30 minutes before the scheduled conclusion of the event.

Rental Equipment

The facility user must contact OHS to discuss all requirements of setup and electrical needs. All rental equipment is subject to the Society’s approval. Facilities users may rent available event equipment from the Ohio History Connection at a nominal fee. (Refer to the “Rental Basics” sheet.) The facility user will be charged the direct cost plus a 20% surcharge when the Facilities Use Office handles outside rentals.

Electrical Requirements

Normal electrical requirements are provided at no charge. Anything above this is charged at a rate of $35.00 per hour not including any special hookup, installation or other specialty fees.


You must advise OHS of your selection of vendors for your event. This includes anyone who may be delivering, setting up, or tearing down any items or equipment for your event. This list with phone numbers and contact names is due at least 15 business days prior to your event. OHS works with a list of approved vendors. Other vendors are welcome, but OHS may bar any vendor from the facility at its own discretion.


Clients may choose to use one of the Ohio History Connection’s preferred caterers (see the “Preferred Caterers” list). The Ohio History Connection, like most other facilities, charges each caterer a “Catering Usage Fee.” This fee, also known as a “facility fee” is charged to your caterer based on 15% of your food and nonalcoholic beverage costs. Some caterers may pass this fee onto the client. Caterers not on the preferred caterers list are charged a 25% usage charge and need to provide proper documentation. There are certain areas of the museum and Ohio Village where the service of food and beverages is restricted. Wedding receptions or events of 50 guests or more are required to have onsite service staff provided by their caterer through the dining portion of the event. Please consult your facilities use coordinator for more information.

Caterer’s Requirements

All caterers must provide the Ohio History Connection with a certificate of insurance from their insurance carrier stating that they have in force, bodily injury and property damage liability protection, including product liability, in the amount of no less than $1 million in combined single limit. The caterer also must provide proof of worker’s compensation insurance as required by law. All caterers shall provide the Ohio History Connection a copy of their current food service commercial class 3 license by the Health Department of the City of Columbus, Ohio. The caterer also warrants that all food service equipment, supplies, food and beverage services, used or furnished within the Ohio History Connection shall be in full compliance with all laws, rules and regulations of the Health Department, City of Columbus, Ohio, as if said laws, rules and regulations were fully rewritten herein. All caterers must adhere to all of the Ohio History Connection’s catering policies furnished by your facilities use coordinator.


All deliveries must be coordinated through the Facilities Use Office. All delivery staff must check in with the Facilities Use Office prior to unloading. The OHS staff has full authority to make corrective changes and oversee the supervision of deliveries, setup, production, catering, teardown and cleanup of the event. All catering, floral equipment, decorations and other materials brought in by the facilities users or any agent (vendor) of the facilities user may not be installed in any public spaces open to the general public prior to 5 p.m., the normal time the Ohio History Center and Ohio Village closes to the public. All the breakdowns must occur immediately following the event and all rental and decorating items removed the same night, unless special arrangements are made. The Ohio History Connection cannot assume any responsibility for items left by the caterer, rental company or facility user.


The delivery and set up of tents at the Ohio Village must be scheduled when the village is closed to the public, or after 5 p.m. on the same day of the event. Tents must be torn down and off the premises before the Ohio Village opening time (9 a.m.) of the following business day. All arrangements for tents must be approved by the Facilities Use Office.

Invitations and Printed Materials
The content of all printed materials relating to the event, including invitation copy, programs, and promotional material is subject to the museum’s approval. All material must be submitted to the Facilities Use Office before it is in the final printing stages.

Plans for all decorations, including floral arrangements and table centerpieces, must be approved in advance. Decorations must not endanger the Society’s collections, necessitate the moving of exhibits or affect their appearance. Signs on cases and walls are not permitted. Hanging large signs or decorations on the outside of the museum is not permitted. In consideration of the Society’s professional museum ethics, no artifacts from the society’s collections may be used for props or decorative purposes, not any actual antique or decorative arts item from a private collection where food is being served. Reproduction items are permitted in other areas on a limited basis, with the approval of the registrar of collections. The arrangements for deliveries, setups, and removal of decorations must be made through the Facilities Use Office. Balloons, bubbles, glitter, and confetti are not permitted at the Ohio History Center. Balloons, bubbles, rice or confetti are prohibited from being thrown or used at the Ohio Village Church and in the Ohio Village.

Music, Dancing, and Entertainment

All plans for music, dancing, and/or other forms of entertainment are subject to the museum’s approval and must be cleared through the Facilities Use Office. Facility users offering music for private events are subject to ASCAP (American Society of Composer, Authors, and Publishers) fees for copyrighted materials. The licensing fee will be included in the expenses. Dancing is restricted to a specific area in the museum and is permitted only in the outdoor Market House in the Ohio Village.

Rain Policy

Events that are scheduled outdoors at the Ohio Village are held rain or shine. Precautions of temporary shelters, the curtailment of certain activities or other rain alternatives should be considered during the planning process. The Ohio History Connection has the right to alter event plans if necessary due to weather if activities will in any way damage the facilities.


The Ohio History Connection reserves the right to deny use or continued use of its facilities to any person or organization not complying with the Ohio History Connection’s policies and procedures.


Each facility user shall indemnify and hold harmless the Ohio History Connection, its agents and employees against any and all damages, claims and liability due to the loss of property of others or any other liability arising out of its use of the society’s facilities. The facility user is responsible for the payment of damages to or loss of the Ohio History Connection’s property if occurred as a result of the preparations or clean up for, or during the actual event.


The facility user is required to maintain liability insurance for the event and shall name the Ohio History Connection as an additional insured on their policy.

Waivers and Discounts

Individuals or corporations may qualify for a limited waiver or discount of the facility fee based upon the level of contribution to the Society’s Corporate Associate program. Departments, boards, agencies, and commissions of the state government may use the Auditorium, Classrooms and Archives/Library Conference room at a special government rate during regular operating hours. All direct costs incurred by the Society will be assessed to users in this category as well as the site admission charges.


The Society reserves the right to cancel an event when a need arises for the use of the space for its own programming. This will only be put into effect when the Society has no reasonable alternative. A full refund will be made should this occur. If the facilities user needs to cancel the event, cancellation must be made 60 days prior for full refund of the deposit, less a $150 nonrefundable processing fee. If a cancellation is made between 30 and 59 days prior, 50% of the deposit will be returned less the nonrefundable processing fee. If a cancellation is made later than 30 days prior to the event, 100% of the deposit will be retained by the Society.