The 9 Best Historical Societies in Michigan

Historical societies bring the past to life, each with their own unique flair. In a state steeped in history like Michigan, there is plenty to learn and celebrate. If you’re wondering where the best historical societies in the state are, there’s good news ahead! Here are some great places to start if you want to learn a little more about the history of the Great Lake State. 

Historical Society of Michigan, Lansing, MI

If you're going to look into Michigan history, you might as well start with a historical society devoted to the history of Michigan as a whole. The Historical Society of Michigan represents the oldest cultural organization in the state, and offers a complete slate of special events and publications for users to check out the biggest events in the state and get some insight on what more specific items to look into. It's a great general starting point, so treat it as such.

Pittsfield Township Historical Society, Ann Arbor, MI

Ann Arbor is home to the Pittsfield Township Historical Society, which is something of an unusual development as it is. Pittsfield Township is just south of Ann Arbor, and was once a very big deal in the state. Known as the “Crossroads of Michigan” as it sat astride a pair of major Indian trails that eventually became the major roadways of US-23 and I-94, Pittsfield Township may have been a big deal, but today, it's Ann Arbor that's the much bigger deal.

Huron County Historical Society, Bad Axe, MI

A trip to Bad Axe will give you a look at the Huron County Historical Society, devoted to an entire county's history. It's not the only such county-wide historical society around, but the Huron County Historical Society encompasses several museums, as well as maintains a set of noteworthy books of interest, and even a lighthouse as part of its overall purview in the Harbor Beach Lighthouse. That's a lot to handle, so check these guys out for a big slug of history all at once.

Beaver Island Historical Society, Beaver Island, MI

Islands are fairly numerous in Michigan, and Beaver Island is one of these. There's also a lot of history involved with Beaver Island worth noting, including that Beaver Island was home to the United States' first and only kingdom. Those who want to find out more will need to check into Beaver Island's history, and the Beaver Island Historical Society will be a big help here.

Mary's City of David, Benton Harbor, MI

Billed as the third oldest Christian community in the United States, Mary's City of David not far from Benton Harbor represents not only a major attraction, but also its own historical society. There's quite a bit of history here, especially given how old the community is, and it offers both museums and tours for those interested to check out for themselves. Did you know this little town played in the first night baseball game back in 1930? That's just a sliver of what's waiting for you to find.

Saginaw Valley Naval Ship Museum, Bay City, MI

Right around Bay City, there's a historical society that's based around a decommissioned naval vessel. More specifically, it's the USS Edson, open most of the year except for a handful of days and the deepest part of winter. Offering both self-guided and guided tours, as well as a set of special events, those who ever wanted to learn about the Edson or about naval ships will have a good part of the job taken care of with the Saginaw Valley Naval Ship Museum.

Norwegian Lutheran Church Historical Society of Calumet, Calumet, MI

Up in Calumet, a surprising part of the Keweenaw National Historical Park sits complete with its own historical society: The Norwegian Lutheran Church. Built in 1898, the church is said to be a replica of the church located in the builder's home town of Kristiansund. Containing its original 1898 Packard Reed Organ, the church is a living, breathing chunk of history in its own right, and the historical society seeks to not only preserve the church, but the events it's contained since.

Copper Country Firefighters History Museum, Calumet, MI

Another of Calumet's entries, the Copper Country Firefighters History Museum, with its own historical society, contains a vital storehouse of information about the history of firefighting in the region, and those who engaged in the activity as well. Though the copper mines in the area shut down back in 1968, the firefighters remained, and thus the museum was born. Built around the original fire station constructed from local sandstone, the museum and the historical society that maintains it offers a look at the original structures down to a replica of the brass pole originally used to move rapidly from one floor of the building to the next.

Historical Preservation Society of Dundee, Dundee, MI

The Historical Preservation Society of Dundee, located in the town of the same name, focuses mainly on the Old Mill Museum in the same place. Restored during the 1980s, and wholly by volunteer efforts, the Old Mill now shows off the area's history, including not only the area's original inhabitants—the Macon Indians—but also the hydro-electric generator installed by no less than Henry Ford.

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8755 3rd Street, P.O. Box 302, Vestaburg, MI
222 South Sheldon Street, Edmore, MI
About This museum presents an historical collection of Western heritage. Educating people to the legends of the West, the museum is filled with me... Read More
221 East Main, Farwell, MI
History:  The Ladies Library Association was Incorporated in 1879. In February 1882 the Farwell Land Company gave property to "The Ladies Li... Read More
2222 Smith Street, Sanford, MI
About Us: The Sanford Centennial Museum began with a school house that was built in 1910. It was added on to in the 1938 by the WPA. In 1970, the t... Read More
7050 South Eberhart Avenue, Clare, MI
Mission: To preserve, advance, and disseminate knowledge of history of Clare County and surrounding areas Read More
311 East Bridge Street, Lyons, MI
The Lyons-Muir Historical Museum is located in a historic store front that was once the home of the Lyons Herald, a weekly newspaper serving the Ci... Read More
107 North Lincoln Avenue, Lakeview, MI
About the Museum: Organized by Gary Baker and Juanita Butler, the Lakeview area museum was established in 1995, housed in the old well house at 107... Read More
251East Main Street, Ionia, MI
A volunteer organization to promote and preseve our local history and heritage in the Ionia, Michigan, area. We are based in a Victorian mansion ca... Read More
213 North Franklin Street, Greenville, MI
Formed in 1967, the Flat River Historical Society & Museum drew up a mission to preserve, advance, and disseminate knowledge of the history of ... Read More
516 West Cass Street, Greenville, MI
About The Fighting Falcon Military Museum is dedicated to educating the public about the people, machines and personal history of U.S. war and con... Read More
221 West Cedar Avenue, Gladwin, MI
Museum housed in old Michigan central railroad depot. Can tour two restored cabins and a restored school house. All buildings and most items on dis... Read More
108 Hanover Street, Belding, MI
The Belding Museum is located in the historic Belrockton Dormitory, built in 1906 to house the large number of single women employed at the silk mi... Read More
The Portland Area Historical Society was founded in 1969 on the centennial of the founding of Portland, Michigan. Since then, we've been preserving... Read More
11009 Podunk Ave. NE, Greenville, MI
The Oakfield Pioneer Heritage Museum was established to collect, promote and display the history of Oakfield Township, Kent County, Michigan. The M... Read More
11009 Podunk Ave, S. of M-57, Greenville, MI
The Museum is housed in a 1901 structure built as the meeting place for the "Ancient Order of Gleaners"and then used as a township hall from 1931-1... Read More
Bridge Street, Saranac, MI
The purpose of this organization shall be dedicated to preserve the Boston-Saranac area history and to inform the residents of local historical fac... Read More
405 South Washington Street, Owosso, MI
Steam Railroading Institute History How we got here... The Steam Railroading Institute, dedicated to educating the public about steam-era railroad ... Read More
161 Main Street, Sunfield, MI
The Sunfield Historical Society operates the Welch Historical Museum in the former Welch Hardware building donated by the Welch family in 2011. Com... Read More
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