Michigan History Museum
With five levels of permanent and short-term exhibits that tell Michigan’s story from prehistoric times through the late twentieth century, you may find yourself struggling to choose what to do first when you visit the Michigan History Museum. Enjoy the copper mine, stroll down Main Street or experience the one-room school house. Pick up a museum map and plan your strategy. From there, check out some of the museum’s must-see exhibits.
Minds of Modernism – Michigan and Mid-Century Design
The Michigan History Center is made up of the Michigan History Museum and the Archives of Michigan. The Michigan History Center itself is featured front and center in the Minds of Modernism exhibition. The building’s architect, William Kessler is also an artist. This exhibit tells the story of building the Michigan History Center and includes a display of Kessler’s artistic work too. Another fun area is the mid-century modern living room, with the Jetson’s playing on the television. The exhibit continues until August 27, 2017.
Mark Harvey, Interim Director of Community Engagement and Director of Achieves at the Michigan History Center reveals the next temporary exhibit will be, The River that Changed the World starring the Au Sable River. It will open on September 30, 2017.
Nineteenth Century Exhibit
The museum just redesigned the nineteenth-century display. The new exhibit includes the first people of Michigan, and it’s dramatically different now. Visitors can interact with the native life mural through pullback panels. The wall revolves around the seasons and
includes more hands-on elements. In the archaeology section, you can piece a pot back together on a magnetized form. Pull out discovery drawers demonstrate the types of items found at different levels of the soil.
You can’t have a museum about historical Michigan without an exhibit or two about cars. The Michigan History Museum has an exhibit depicting the 1957 Detroit Auto Show, featuring a shiny red Corvette convertible and a beige and white Plymouth Fury. A Durant Motors auto dealership and Ford’s Highland Park workforce and manufacturing plant continue the automotive theme.
The museum uses many hands-on elements including interactive computers and audio-visual presentations. Plan to spend least 90 minutes for your visit.
Family days are the second Saturday of each month and engage families in fun innovative activities and art sculptures. You might find a maker box with hot wheels cars or a mini robot. The kids walk away with something they’ve made.
Dig Camp is an archaeology-based camp that concludes with an archaeological dig. Curious children who are fascinated with science, engineering, technology, or math will enjoy this experience. Dig camp will inspire youth ages eight to ten and eleven to thirteen to investigate our human past through digital quests and hands-on activities. Campers will discover new and exciting ways to explore the world around them. They will learn what archaeologists can figure out from an animal bone, a broken plate, or a change in soil color.
The new Curiosity Camp inspires nine to eleven-year-old children’s interest in Michigan’s stories. The Camp will expose campers to the best Lansing has to offer, from organic farming at the MSU Student Organic Garden where they gather from the garden in the morning and cook the bounty in the afternoon, to Maker spaces to the FBI. When they’re not out exploring Lansing, kids will fill their time with a variety of curiosity-inspiring activities on site at the Michigan History Center — breakout-boxes, design challenges, and virtual reality. To register for either camp experiences go on-line to www.seekingmichigan.org/camps.
Shopping the Museum Store
The Michigan History Museum store offers a wide variety of items related to Michigan’s history and the region. “Today, the store is carrying more made-in-Michigan products and the retail items are tying more directly to the museum’s themes. Magnets link to the mining exhibit, toy soldiers to the Civil War and retro candy ties to the 1960’s displays,” says Harvey.
An online store www.michiganology.com is a companion to the museum store. The site sells print merchandise from the exhibits. The 500-piece puzzles, buttons, and prints are all 100% made at the Michigan History Center.
Adults (18 – 64) – $6
Seniors (65+) – $4
Youth (6-17) – $2
Children up to 5 years – Free
Sunday admission and parking are free.
Monday to Friday: 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Saturday: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Sunday: 1 to 5 p.m.
Michigan History Museum
702 West Kalamazoo Street
Lansing, MI 48915