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Explore Michigan History

Ways to explore Michigan history

From a robust system of museums and historical sites, to online museum and archives collections, to interactive maps, there are so many way to explore and learn about Michigan history.

Monument in Detroit depicts the Gateway to Freedom and features a bronze sculpture of six Underground Railroad travelers awaiting transport to Canada

Freedom Trail

Learn about Michigan's role in helping enslaved people escape to freedom. Michigan has 23 sites highlighting notable people and places that were part of the Underground Railroad story in Michigan.

A diver shines a flashlight over a shipwreck

Michigan Shipwrecks

The Great Lakes' cold, fresh waters preserve hundreds of shipwrecks — time capsules waiting to be explored. Learn about Michigan's shipwrecks, see their locations on a map, and see which ones you can access and how!

A green and gold historical marker in a park; tall buildings and a statue are in the background.

Historical Markers

More than 1,700 historical markers have been placed across the state. Each reflects an important story of a place, event or person. They powerfully show the importance a community places on its heritage and serve as a signpost of historical significance.

A shady trail features a sign on a post and a covered bridge

Heritage Trails

From the Iron Ore Heritage Trail in the Upper Peninsula to the Huron River National Water Trail in southeast Michigan, heritage trails connect people with the natural and cultural heritage of the landscape they are passing through.

A weathered brown wooden building sites next to a large tree and grassy area.

Museums and historic sites

The Michigan History Museum in Lansing presents an overview of the state's history. Other historic sites and museums throughout the state focus on themes in Michigan history.

Historic photographs on a table

Archives of Michigan

With documents dating back to 1792, we house much of Michigan's record heritage. Millions of state and local government records and private papers are available for research.


Michiganology logo

Engage with Michigan history at Michiganology, our companion website where we house our online digital collections, host a blog with unique stories we've uncovered through our collections and research, post information designed for young learners, and even sell Michigan history inspired gear!

Historic photographs on a table


Includes Archives of Michigan research guides and indexes, access to more than three million state and local government records, private manuscripts, maps and photographs.

A historical black and white photo from the civil war era in Michigan


Explore our story archive for a look at Michigan's stories and traditions from yesterday to yesteryear. Each post shares a unique story from Michigan's history written by our staff.

A family enjoying Michigan History Center

For kids and teachers

Discover how Michigan achieved statehood, about Michigan's state symbols, about archaeology projects around the state, and many other interesting facts about Michigan. 

Historical print of the West Michigan Pike available in the Michiganology shop


Unique, handmade products featuring images from the Archives, including puzzles, mugs, apparel, magnets, prints, jewelry and more. All items can be purchased online!