The Michigan History Museum: Take a Walk Through Time & Connect with the Present

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

Have you visited the Michigan History Center Museum or Library?

After about a 25-year gap since visiting the beautiful downtown Lansing building, it has become one of my go-to spots in Lansing now that I am a parent.

Some of the Michigan History Museum is exactly the same as I remember it from my childhood, but there are plenty of new additions including rotating exhibits. Many of the exhibits are geared toward children, making it an ideal destination for family fun.

This five-story building tells us the history of Michigan starting with the very earliest people and goes all the way through the middle of the 20th century.

Most exhibits are hands-on and allow kids to actively participate while they learn.

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.


The Big Pine

One of my kids’ favorite things to do at the Michigan 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

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.


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 doable and fun – especially if your little sweetie is a runner like my youngest. It also ensures you get to see every inch of the museum and not miss a thing!

Find and walk through the copper mine as you travel through the second floor

Interactive Exhibits

Most of the exhibits in the Michigan 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 for pretending

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

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

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 also learning and having fun too.

The Michigan History Museum is perfect for this.

The museum is a great spot for parents with children, BUT I recently learned that this was a location for my adult 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

The Rotating Exhibit

The History Museum has some staple exhibits that haven’t changed in over 30 years.

The first-floor exhibit area, however, rotates throughout the year. Find out what’s happening now and what’s to come.

Special events happen in the rotating exhibit area and are so much fun!

River Trail Access

A perfect afternoon in our household could consist 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 Lansing 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 River Trail

Special Events

The Michigan History Museum’s special events are just that – special, from arts and crafts to riding in a vintage Model T.

Most of these events 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 the museum’s 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

Easy Parking

The Michigan History Museum parking lot has easy access located on Kalamazoo St.

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 & Tuesday: Closed
Wednesday – Saturday: 10:00am – 4:00pm

Adults (18+): $8
Seniors (65+): $6
Youth (6-17): $4
Children 5 & under: Free

Sunday: 1 – 5 pm & FREE Admission

Field Trips & Group Tours

Lower rates are available to groups heading to the museum. Learning experiences are available as well.

Field trips/group visits are welcome Monday-Thursday with a limit of 10 people.

Groups must be pre-registered.

Self-guided tours are $4 per student.

Guided tours are $7 per student.

Click here for more details on groups and field trips at the Michigan History Museum.


Why Become a Member of the Michigan History Center?

Why become a member of the Michigan History Center?

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?


  • 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
  • Quarterly e-newsletter
  • Time Travelers benefits

Visit their membership page to find out their membership levels, benefits, and how to sign up.


5 Tips for a Great Visit to the Michigan History Museum

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

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

Snacks and Hydration:

Eat before you come and bring snacks. This place is massive, so if your goal is to make it through the entire building, you’ll want to hydrate and make sure your and your kids’ blood sugar doesn’t fall to “hangry” mode.

All jokes aside, making sure nobody is hungry or thirsty really helps so you don’t find yourself stuck on an upper floor with unhappy kids. If you forget, don’t worry – they is a snack area located in the front entrance across from the gift shop.

Go with the Flow:

It has been beneficial to let the kids guide us to what they are most interested in during our 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 Michigan History Museum.

The fun is never-ending when the kids pick and choose what they’d like to learn about each time. Or, in my kids’ 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 from outdoors too.

You’ll find access to the Big Pine on Level 2.


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

If you’ve never stopped to let them tell you information, I encourage you to try it. The information and history they share are always insightful and fascinating.

Engaging with the volunteers ends up making our trips extra special.

Go with a Friend:

If you’ve read any of my other guides, you’ll know that bringing along a buddy is a staple tip of mine. Adventures are better in a group most times.

More hands mean more help – for everyone.


Enjoy making memories on your visit to the Michigan History Museum while you explore Michigan’s history with interesting exhibits the whole family will love.

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