I love history museums. Perhaps that is not surprising given that I was a history major in college. While I do enjoy visiting the run of the mill history museum, my favorite museums to visit are those quirky small scale museums. Here are three quirky Michigan history museums worth a visit.
Quirky Michigan History Museum: Michigan Firehouse Museum
110 W. Cross Street/Ypsilanti, Michigan/(734)547-0663
This quirky Michigan history museum is dedicated to preserving the history of firefighting. The 26,000 square foot museum includes a steam fire engine complete with full size replicas of horses and an original fully restored 1898 firehouse. There are twenty-five changing exhibits of antique fire trucks, historic firefighting tools, equipment and memorabilia. The Michigan Firehouse Museum houses the largest collection of fire truck bells in the nation.
Quirky Michigan History Museum: Eloise Mental Hospital
30712 Michigan Avenue/Westland, Michigan
Eloise was once the largest mental hospital in the nation. During the Great Depression it housed over 10,000 patients, ran its own post office, and had its own livestock and tobacco field. Now it is just a really quirky Michigan history museum. Eloise was originally a poorhouse that was converted into a mental hospital, indigent house and tuberculosis asylum. Across the street from the museum is a field containing the unmarked graves of over 7,000 former residents who died during their stay. Eloise is said to be haunted.
Quirky Michigan History Museum: R.E. Olds Transportation Museum
240 Museum Drive/ Lansing, Michigan/(517)372-0529
This quirky Michigan museum is focused on the history of all transportation, not just automobiles. Exhibits include buggies, bicycles, engines, rare vehicles, classic Oldsmobile’s and trucks. Rated one of “The Ten Best Automobile Museums in the United States” by Car Collector Magazine, this museum is a must see for car enthusiasts. Special exhibits change every three months, so there is always something new to see. For more information on Oldsmobile’s best models see Top 10 Oldsmobile Models of All Time.
Quirky Michigan History Museum: Fort Wilkins
U.S. Highway 41/Copper Habor, Michigan
Discover what life was like in the mid 19th century by visiting this quirky Michigan history museum. The museum is actually a group of fifteen buildings that made up Fort Wilkins, a U.S. Army post built in 1844. It is located inside Fort Wilkins Historic State Park.
Michigan Firehouse Museum
Eloise Mental Hospital
R.E. Olds Transportation Museum