The school sat vacant for 50 years until 1963 when a group of concerned Oregon citizens organized the Oregon-Jerusalem Historical Society and began the restoration of the building. The school is now listed on the National Registry of Historical Places.
Today Brandville School is one of three buildings in the historical museum complex.
The first floor houses a number of displays that are changed regularly. The current displays have artifacts from the latter 19th century to coordinate with a recent luncheon tea with Emma Lazarus as the featured “first lady” speaker. An activist and poet following the Civil War, lines from one of her poems are inscribed on the base of the Statue of Liberty.
The second floor is the “military room,” with an ever-expanding display of military artifacts. The goal for this area is to have an artifact from all major conflicts in which the United States has been involved. On display is the nationally acclaimed Gilbert Gaul painting depicting “The Battle of Cold Harbor, Va.”
A one-room “sled” or portable school with a working classroom is also part of the complex. A “sled” school was moved throughout the school district as student populations changed.
A carriage house features farm tools, a sleigh and a replica of the Metzger Store, formerly housed at Wheeling and Navarre streets in Oregon. Additionally there are room vignettes of an early living room/bedroom; a barber shop; a doctor’s office; and an office and equipment of a local ophthalmologist.
Beginning Sunday, Oct. 5, the historical society is initiating a new program “Tea and Tours.” The complex will be open with trained docents to conduct guided tours between 2 and 5 p.m. At the completion of each tour, complimentary tea and sweets will be served.
“Tea and Tours” will be offered the first Sunday of each month thereafter.
There is a fee of $3 for adults; $2.50 for seniors and $1 students. Reservations will be required and can be made by calling 419-693-2956 or 419-693-7052. A gift shop, a recent addition to the complex, will be open during the tours.