If you’re a history buff looking for a place to visit in downtown Muskegon, we’ve got the perfect suggestion for you. Visit the Muskegon Heritage Museum and relive all of Muskegon’s past glory!
The museum depicts Muskegon’s long and eventful history, through its historic industries, local businesses, and homes. The museum’s vast collection includes informational exhibits, relics, and picture displays related to Muskegon’s commercial sector and its glorious products like the original Raggedy Ann doll!
Most of the exhibits in the place are old engines and machines which were used to make these products that once supported Muskegon’s economy. The museum is also home to an Occidental hotel switchboard, a sample boarding room at Hathaway House, Kemperman’s grocery shop, and many other extraordinary relics.
What is unique about the museum?
The prime attraction of the museum is a 90 horsepower steam engine donated by the legendary (and one of the very first) steam engine companies Corliss Valve. The Corliss Valve steam engine weighs a whopping 18 tons and is put on public display for the museum’s visitors. The museum also has a robust collection of continental motor engines, including tank, boat, and aircraft engines.
Another star attraction at the museum is the creepy Raggedy Ann Doll which inspired the horror movie series, Annabelle. The reason this doll is so important to the area is that the first Raggedy Ann dolls were manufactured in Muskegon and, for a long time, supported its economy through its runaway popularity.
The museum also houses a working spring winding machine and a Brunswick pinsetter. In addition, you will see over 80 companies from industrial Muskegon featured in the museum exhibits.
What are some interesting exhibits at the museum?
There are several interesting exhibits put on display at the Muskegon Heritage Museum like:
It runs in the family: This exhibit features illustrious black-owned businesses in Muskegon. You can learn about the entrepreneurial journey of many prominent West Michigan business owners, such as the founders of 103.7 FM, The Beat and Urban Apparel, Baker Family Businesses, and Patterson’s Drug Store.
Made in Muskegon: This exhibition showcases several iconic American products that were manufactured in Muskegon.
You can see products from Muskegon Boiler Works, Non-Breakable Toy Co. (Raggedy Ann Doll), GMI Corp. (Spacelander Bike), and many other famous companies here.
Some stellar highlights of the exhibit include vintage gas pumps, musical instruments, a functional pinsetter, and two aircraft engines, all made in Muskegon!
Some other notable exhibit objects include:
Corliss Valve Steam Engine
Muskegon’s Brewing history
Engines manufactured by Continental
Foundries in Muskegon and the tools used
History of Sappi Paper mill
When can you visit the museum?
Here’s everything you need to know about the museum before visiting it:
Address – Muskegon Heritage Museum at 561 W. Western Ave., Muskegon.
Timings – The museum is open Wednesday-Saturday from 11:00 am-4:00 pm.
It is only open from May to October each year because of heavy snowfall in the winters.
The museum offers special group rates for large tour groups (10+ people). All further inquiries can easily be made via their website.
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