The Michigan History Museum: Where Looking Back Meets the Present and Hope for the Future

History Museum History Center Historical Center Feature

Make the Michigan History Museum Your Next Adventure

Michigan History Museum
702 W. Kalamazoo St. Lansing, MI 48915
517-335-2573

Michigan History Museum Reopens

The Michigan History Museum reopens to the public on August 6, 2021.

Have you visited the Michigan History Center Museum or Library?

The History Museum is reminiscent of my childhood memories and yet it’s very much geared towards today’s youth. The museum is almost fully hands-on and tells the story of the past in ways both kids not only understand but have fun while visiting.

After about 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.

I can say without hesitation – a great day of fun awaits you at the Michigan History Center in Lansing! Here’s why: 

10 Reasons Families Love the Michigan History Museum

The big tree growing in the middle of the History Center grounds is reason enough to love this downtown gem but there’s more.

1

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.

Michigan-History-Center-Giveaway-Feature Kids looking at Carl the tree
The lobby/entrance to the Michigan History Museum is a walkable circle to gaze on the big pine
2

FREE Sundays

On Sunday, admission is FREE to the Michigan History Museum.

Surprisingly, this day is usually pretty calm and non-congested and is a great way to spend a Sunday with the family.

3

One-way 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.

There is only one way in and one way out on each exhibit floor (with elevator access near in the middle.)

This makes trips to the museum with toddlers do-able and fun – especially if your little sweety is runner like my youngest. It also ensures you get to see every inch of the museum not to miss a thing!

Copper-Mine-replica-Michigan-History-Center-Girl-walking
Find and walk through the copper mine as you travel through the second floor
4

Interactive Exhibits

Most of the exhibits in the History Museum are made for kids and adults to interact and participate in a hands-on way.

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
– an old schoolroom to pretend

These, among others, are great ways for kids and families to tangibly learn and bond together.

Michigan Historic Center Museum Mine Tunnel Play Museum Downtown Lansing
The copper mine has places to touch, see and also hear recordings of miners working
Michigan Historic Center Big Lumber Wheel Play Museum Downtown Lansing
The lumber yard exhibit has a mini log pull that people can try out
5

The 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
The stage in the kid’s center gives kids the opportunity to act, play, and dream
Michigan Historic Center Museum Kids area books
This mini-library is located in the kid’s center
6

All Ages Learn and Play

Honestly, 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.

This is a great spot for parents with toddlers – BUT – I recently learned that this was a location for my cousin’s work party! Not many places can say they are fully functioning for all ages in this way.

Michigan Historic Center museum seating Play Museum Downtown Lansing
Rest area on the second floor overlooking the outdoor mezzanine
7

The Rotating Exhibit

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.

Girl-Painting-pet-rocks-Second-Saturdays-Michigan-History-Museum
Special events happen in the rotating exhibit area and are so much fun!
8

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 Michigan Ave 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
Beyond the gates in the background leads to the Downtown Lansing path and eventually to the Lansing rivertrail
9

Special Events

The History Museum special events are just that – special – from arts and crafts to riding in a vintage Model-T.

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 LFF events calendar or you can find their calendar here.

Model T Rides Car Historic Center Be a Tourist in Your Own Town
Be a tourist in your own town teams up with the Michigan History Museum for this super fun Model-T experience
10

Easy 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.

Be prepared to pay but there are times when the gates are open and parking is free of charge.

Michigan Historic Center Museum Parking Lot Sculpture Play Museum Downtown Lansing
Art structure you can see as you drive in or walk past as you enter the building

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

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.

Girl-touching-furs-Native-American-Exhibit-Michigan-History-Museum

Why Become a Member of the Michigan History Museum?

Why become a member of the Michigan History Museum?

For all of the benefits that come along with it, of course!

Our family loves to travel so a big reason for us to become a member is the traveler’s benefits. Which of these 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).

Kid-smiling-at-Michigan-History-Museum-entrance

5 Tips for a Great Visit to Michigan History Museum

If you’re a tip girl like I am this is most likely you’re most important portion of this article.

I love all things tips!

If you have some that I’ve missed and want to share we’d love to hear them. Comment below!

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 you and your kid’s blood sugar doesn’t fall below “hangry” mode.

All jokes aside, it has 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 us to what they are most interested in that day’s visit. 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 Museum.

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.

The Big Pine:

Don’t miss making a stop outside at the big pine tree. You’ll get a chance to see it from the inside when you arrive but, trust me, it’s great to see it outdoors too.

You’ll find access to this on level 2.

Volunteers:

You’ll find there are helpful volunteers along the way that will engage with the kids and explain exhibits as you have an interest.

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.

Michigan-History-Center-Kids-Playing

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