Travel through time with a visit to the Michigan History Museum

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In the heart of downtown Lansing, only two blocks from the state Capitol building, stands the Michigan History Museum. 

The museum, at 702 W. Kalamazoo St., offers an array of exhibits for residents of Michigan. The exhibits, including ones from pre European settlements to the state’s impact on World War II, transport visitors into various eras in Michigan’s history.

Tobi Voigt is the director of museums for the Michigan History Center. She manages cultural resources for the state, which encompasses all museums and the state archives. She oversees the staff for 12 historic sites across the state, including the Michigan History Museum in downtown Lansing. 

Additionally, she supervises the teams that put together the exhibits and also looks over all of the artifacts for display. 

“I found museums and a love for history in my mid twenties… I wanted to know about what came in the place I was living before me. It created a spark and relevance to history… and now I love how museums may bridge a gap for people,” Voigt said.

Her hope is to uphold the educational values that the museum can provide for people, whether for a family or a group of students on a field trip. 

“One of the reasons that I love this museum is because it makes you think that you’re walking through time. I mean yes there is the exhibit panels with descriptions, but it really feels that you’re walking through a field or a capitol,” Voigt said.

For one museum visitor, Bri Altizer, found several parts of the museum that appealed to her. 

“My favorite part of the actual exhibits is probably the cool old cars. I also like the inclusion of some important women’s history that I’ve seen in exhibits. I also think its cool how you can see different eras through different parts of the building i’ve been to so far,” Altizer said. 

Another museum visitor said his favorite exhibit was one where he saw the true size of a totem pole. He would recommend the museum to other visitors.

“I really didn’t know it was going to be this big; it’s really cool!”

Voigt  recommends visiting the museum on a Sunday as it offers free admission. There is also a new exhibit on the first floor that focuses on the scientific method. It highlights innovators from Michigan and the differences they have made.

“When I see different generations of families come in and see something and it starts a conversation between grandparents and grandkids. That is so important to me, giving that spark of curiosity and wanting to learn more. That is what the museum is all about, wanting to learn more,” Voigt said.You can find the museum’s shop here and their website here.

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