Although our name is fairly new, the Michigan History Center's story goes back more than 100 years. That’s when the first effort to organize and sustain the Historical Society of Michigan was made. It was followed by a pioneer society organized in 1874, provision of museum space in the 1879 State Capitol, and the 1913 creation of the Michigan Historical Commission.
Since that time, through name and organizational changes, our collections have grown as state citizens and their descendants entrusted us with materials that have meaning for the future as well as the present. Our footprint has expanded through field sites and the Michigan Library and Historical Center. Opened in 1989, that facility was the first home for Michigan history built to encourage archival research, house museum exhibits and welcome learners of all ages.
In 2016, Public Act 470 created the center as an entity separate from the Michigan Historical Commission. Today, the Michigan History Center, which includes the Archives of Michigan, the Michigan History Museum and 11 museums and historic sites, continues to expand its reach – online, on trails and onsite. We share not only collections and ideas, but also the experience of asking questions, finding answers and reaching conclusions.
The Michigan History Center fosters curiosity, enjoyment and inspiration rooted in Michigan's stories.
We constantly seek new ways to provide opportunities for experiences that spark curiosity. We are as enthusiastic about the as-yet-untold stories of Michigan as we are about tales of Father Marquette or 19th-century lumberjacks. We are committed to providing opportunities for all people to see themselves as they experience our exhibits, our collections and our programs.