Michigan's Great Southwest has a varied and awesome history, as well as incredible learning opportunities. This week, we're rounding up some of our favorite museums in the area!
Dale Chihuly installation at the Krasl; racecars being restored at Eden Springs at House of David; inside the lighthouse with the Heritage
Located on Main St. in St. Joseph, the Heritage Museum and Cultural Center offers visitors exhibits ranging from Smithsonian sports to Fresnel lighthouse lenses to women’s fashions from the early 1900s. Entrance to the museum is free, and they are open Tuesday-Saturday 10am-4pm, and Sunday 12pm-4pm Memorial Day through Labor Day.
Tracy is the curator for the Heritage Museum and Cultural Center; she also organizes lighthouse tours. This is on the volunter training day!
There are awesome things to see inside the museum, but be sure you check out their walking tours, too! In addition to historic walking tours of downtown St. Joseph, they are the hosts for the lighthouse tours. The St. Joseph Lighthouse has undergone significant renovations in the last few years; join up with the Heritage for an inside view of the famous landmark.
Just up the hill from the Benton Harbor Arts District, the Morton House Museum sits overlooking the city of Benton Harbor, and is dedicated to celebrating the history of it. The stately white mansion is commanding, and has an interesting history.
It’s actually the oldest building in Benton Harbor! Pioneer Eleazar Morton and his son Henry Morton built the home in 1849; Henry is recognized as one of the founders of Benton Harbor.
Exhibits in the museum rotate, and volunteers are constantly updating the home and grounds. The Morton House Museum is open on Saturdays from 12:00-3:00; you can find their more information on their Facebook page.
Miniature train rides are available; volunteers are also restoring the old racing cars for the original track.
Not a traditional museum, but a worthwhile historical whirlwind! The amusement park was an attraction for Chicago tourists, originally operated by the House of David. It’s being restored at the hands of a dedicated volunteer team (we wrote more about it here). Bring your hiking shoes and few dollars for the miniature train ride!
Hours vary; you can find more information on their Facebook page.
Located on Lake Bluff Park in St. Joseph, the Krasl Art Center hosts art in their space, and also curates the contemporary public art throughout the Twin Cities.
The organization dates back to 1962, when local artists held a clothesline art exhibition along Lake Bluff Park in St. Joseph, Michigan. Those artists went on to form the St. Joseph Art Association which, through beneficence of George & Olga Krasl, built Krasl Art Center as we know it today in 1979.
Admission is free! To find more information, you can also visit their Facebook page.
The real Curious Kids' Museum is made of brick, not Lego! We loved this picture from the 2015 "Build Your Way Around Town" celebration that featured a Lego rendition of the museum on the bluff.
The other museums are kid-friendly, but this one is made especially for them! The Curious Kids’ Museum hosts over 100 hands-on exhibits, and offers a space where learning can be fun. We had a great time at our visit! The Curious Kids’ Discovery Zone is right below the bluff, too.