Michigan History Museum – Know Before You Go

Michigan Historic Center Museum Downtown Lansing_Header

Michigan History Museum in Lansing Is Both Nostalgic and New

When was the last time you visited the Michigan History Center Museum or Library? I had around a 25 year gap since visiting the beautiful Downtown Lansing building again. Now that I have kids of my own, the History Center is one of our go-to spots in Lansing. Although the History museum is reminiscent of my childhood memories, it’s now very much geared towards today’s youth. I can say without hesitation – a great day of fun awaits you at the Michigan History Center in Lansing! How can I be so sure you ask? Here’s why:

Michigan Historic Center Museum Native American Exhibit Interactive Play Museum Downtown Lansing

10 Reasons Families Love the Michigan History Museum in Downtown Lansing

The big tree growing in the middle of the History Center grounds is reason enough to love this downtown gem. Here is our big list of reasons families love the Michigan History Museum:

Fun and Practical Reasons Families Love the Michigan History Museum

The Big Pine: One of my kids’ favorite things to do at the History Museum is run around in the corridor outside by the big pine tree. You’ll find access to this area on level 2.

History Center Museum Kids Downtown Lansing

FREE Sundays: On Sunday, admission is FREE to the Michigan History Museum. Surprisingly, this day is usually pretty calm and non-congested. If you’re looking to spend a nice leisurely Sunday morning or afternoon, the History Museum is the ticket!

One-way Traffic/Exhibit Path: This beautiful and informative museum is set up in a way where you can move along like a river flowing through each floor. This makes trips to the museum with toddlers do-able and fun – especially if you’ve got a runner as I do.

Interactive Exhibits: Most of the exhibits in the History Museum are made for kids and adults to interact and participate. Some of these exhibits include furs from Native American history, a tunnel to walk through feeling the depth of a mine,  a miniature lumber wheel to pull under the life-sized wheel, a dinner bell to ring, and old schoolroom to sit or teach at. These, among others, are great ways for kids and families to tangibly learn and bond together.

Michigan Historic Center Big Lumber Wheel Play Museum Downtown Lansing

Kids Center: After you check-in on the first floor you’ll have the opportunity to stop by the kid’s room. This room is fully interactive with a stage, coloring table, mini-library, and rotating interaction stations throughout the year. You could spend your entire trip in this one room or head upstairs to the rest of the museum.

Michigan Historic Center Kids Room Play Museum Downtown Lansing

All Ages Learn and Play: If I’m honest I like to explore just as much as my kids do. The trifecta of adventures is when 1. they are getting energy out 2. they are learning, and 3. I’m both learning and having fun too. The History Museum is perfect for this. Fact – This is a great spot for parents with toddlers. But, I recently learned that this was a location for my cousins work party! Not many places can say they are fully functioning for all ages in this way.

Rotating Exhibits: The History Museum has some staple exhibits that haven’t changed in over 30 years. However, they have a first-floor exhibit area that rotates throughout the year. Find out what’s happening now and what’s coming here.

River Trail Access: A perfect afternoon in our household could conclude of a trip to the History Center, walking across the parking lot to the path between the Justice Building and the Michigan State Capitol and following that to the River Trail. From that point, the options are many for a great day in downtown Lansing.

Michigan Historic Center Outdoor Tree Play Museum Downtown Lansing

Special Events: If you’ve ever been to one of their special events you know that these are just that – special. Most of them are FREE of charge and are jam-packed with fun children’s activities. We love to keep you updated on these on our events calendar.

Model T Rides Car Historic Center Be a Tourist in Your Own Town

Great Parking: Their parking lot has easy access located on Kalamazoo street. Walk through the fantastic sculpture green area, or straight to the front door. Either way, you’ll always get a great spot and an even better view.

Michigan Historic Center Museum Parking Lot Sculpture Play Museum Downtown Lansing

What to Expect When Visiting The Michigan History Museum

Now that you know all of the great reasons to visit the History Museum in Downtown Lansing, here are some things you’ll want to know before you go.

History Museum Hours and Admissions:

Monday -Friday: 9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. and Saturday: 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Adults (18+) – $6 ($4 rate, if eligible for the Michigan recreation pass discounted admission) Seniors (65+) – $4 Youth (6-17) – $2 Children up to 5 years – Free

Sunday: 1 – 5 p.m. FREE Admission

History Museum Contact Information:

Address: 702 W. Kalamazoo St. Lansing, MI 48915

Phone: 517-335-2573

Group Rates for Field Trips and Home-school Groups:

Lower rates are available to groups heading to the museum. Learning experiences are available as well. Here is where you’ll want to start to get the ball rolling for your next trip to the Michigan History Museum in Lansing.

Why Should I Become a Member of the Michigan History Museum?

Why become a member of the Michigan History Museum? Why, for all of the benefits that come along with it, of course! I’m preaching to the choir here. We have a few other membership to organizations in our state but this one has been a long time coming. Our family loves to travel so a big reason for us to become a member would be the travelers benefits. Which of these below benefits would it be for you? General:

  • Annual pass (one or two based on single or family level) plus two single-use guest passes
  • 10% discount in Michigan History Museum stores and at Michiganology.com
  • Quarterly e-newsletter
  • Time Travelers benefits

Visit their membership page for all of the extras with their Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Tuebor Society (Platinum and Diamond).

5 Tips for a Great Trip The Beautiful Michigan History Museum

If you’re a tip girl like I am this is most likely you’re most imporant portion of this article. I love all things tips! Bring them at me! If you have some that I’ve missed and want to share we’d love to hear them.

  • Snacks and Hydration: Arrive after a meal and bring snacks. This place is massive. If your goal is to make it through the entire building you’ll want to hydrate and make sure yours and your kid’s blood sugar doesn’t fall below to “hangry” mode. All jokes aside, it’s been a huge help if I’m ready in this area while in the middle of the third floor of exhibits. If you forget, don’t worry! They have a snack area located in the front entrance across from the gift shop.
  • Go with the Flow: It has been a benefit to let the kids guide to what they are most interested in that day. This ends up being key because the stations they miss on one trip become a great “new” experience on their next trip to the History Center. The fun is never ending when they pick and choose what they’d like to learn about each time. Or, in my kid’s case, revisit the places they love so much like this picture of my youngest in the mine exhibit.

Michigan Historic Center Museum Mine Tunnel Play Museum Downtown Lansing

  • The Big Pine: Make a stop outside at the big pine tree. Trust me, it’s great. You’ll find access to this on level 2.
  • Volunteers: You’ll find there are helpful volunteers along the way. If you’ve never stopped to let them tell you information before I encourage you to try it. The information and extra information and history they share are ALWAYS insightful and fascinating. It ends up making our trips extra special when we engage with these helpers.


  • Go with a Friend: If you’ve read any of my other guides you’ll know this is a staple tip of mine. Adventures are better in a group most times. More hands mean more help – for everyone.

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