Westfield Washington Historical Society aims to engage, educate


The Westfield Washington Historical Society & Museum might be small, but its team of volunteers are mighty when it comes to promoting Westfield’s rich history.

WWHS & Museum was one of dozens of nonprofit organizations awarded grant funds from Hamilton County Tourism’s 2024 Tourism Gives program. The award, totaling $1,500, will help the volunteers bring history to life for residents and visitors.

“We increased our square footage with the museum and the cabin, so we thought we could use some items to represent ourselves at events,” curator Michael Kobrowski said about plans for the funds. “That is what we’ll use this for, for tourism events, at schools, at businesses, when we want to have a table up, we can have a display and make some signs.”

Konrowski said the intent is to create a traveling display and potentially purchase a laptop computer to get the word out about what the historical society does. He added that the museum is always looking to collect artifacts from those in Westfield Washington Township who may have them.

Hist society cabin
Visitors learn about Westfield history inside the 1835 Barker Family log cabin. (Photo by Marney Simon)

“History is precious here,” Kobrowski said. “With people coming in, others moving out or passing on, we’re still trying to get as much information from those families as we can. Westfield was part of the underground railroad, the Quakers who came here. Unfortunately, because it wasn’t legal, they didn’t write much down, so we’re always looking for ways to find any information that we can get: Diaries, old letters, old treasures that really are treasure.”

WWHS & Museum volunteers said grant funding from Visit Hamilton County over the years has helped address many of the organization’s needs and help build the small but well-organized collection of Westfield artifacts that are housed at the museum behind City Hall.

“They’ve always been very good about supporting us. When we were building the cabin, they were very supportive in collecting money for that and for grant funds,” said Diana Peyton, a long-time volunteer and former president of WWHS. “It’s not always a lot of money, but it’s (money) that we can do more with than what we have. Up until we had the cabin, we really didn’t have any money and it was very difficult to do much. Our dues are only $20 a year.”

April and May are some of the busiest times for the WWHS & Museum, with 1,200 students from Westfield Washington Schools visiting the museum and the 1835 Barker Family log cabin.

“We talk about Westfield history, we talk about the government, we take them over to the log cabin and have different places and stations to learn about things,” Peyton said. “It’s difficult to find the museum if you don’t know that it’s here. How many people know that our museum is here, and we would like for them to visit the museum. We’d like to have people in and out. You’d be surprised that people still don’t know that we have the cabin.”

The volunteers hope the new displays will encourage others to learn about what the museum has to offer.

“I think there are so many people who are moving to this area that don’t know that downtown Westfield exists,” said program director Barbara Day. “I have met so many people who have come here because their grandchildren are here. And they may live in housing subdivisions, but they have no reason to come downtown right now. So they don’t really know we exist, and they don’t know there’s a history in Westfield. We’re trying to get that out.”

The group is always on the lookout for volunteers.

“This is a community organization. Our cabin was built as a welcoming center and a community amenity. We would live to get more people involved, bring your kids in,” Peyton said.

Learn more by visiting wwhs.us.