Take a trip through history at these mid-Michigan museums

Mining exhibit at Michigan History Museum
Posted at 7:49 PM, Jan 15, 2022

LANSING, Mich. — Looking for a way to learn about Michigan's history? Want to engage in some fun activities? Or maybe you're just looking for something to do that keeps you out of the cold.

Why not check out the Michigan History Museum in Lansing or the Ella Sharp Museum in Jackson? Both museums showcase the rich history of our state and the people, places, and things that make it so special.

Michigan History Museum
When you walk through the Michigan History Museum it's like you're walking through time. Nestled in Lansing, it tells the story of the state from the earliest days after the end of the ice age to almost modern times.

Michigan History Museum
Michigan History Museum

"We have like the original state capitol from Detroit that you can walk into there are some caves that talk about the mining period and Michigan history," director of museums Tobi Voigt said. "We have a one-room schoolhouse that people just love with desks you can sit at. So it's a fun way to come with your family walk through time and maybe share some stories about your own experiences growing up or living in this state."

The museum was built in 1989 and has a total of five floors. It's open to the public Friday through Sunday. General admission is $8 for adults $6 for seniors and $4 for children. Admission is free on Sunday.

Michigan History Museum
Michigan History Museum

"My favorite use is when multi-generations and families come maybe grandparents, parents, you know, children come and as they walk there, particularly on our third floor when we get into the 20th century where people can look at things and say I remember that I had that," Voigt said.

The museum also offers field trip opportunities. For more information on the Michigan History Museum click here.

Ella Sharp Museum
Down in Jackson, you can explore, and enjoy history and art at the Ella Sharp Museum.

"Ella Sharp was one of the founding women her family's in Jackson. She was actually a forester. They had a huge farm. She was one of the wealthy people in the Jackson region," executive director Julie Johnson said. "Basically it was just the house the Ella Sharp House, she donated it to the community to share the story of what she did in her life. And she wanted to show all of the people that couldn't travel, all the things from around the world that are part of her house, and some of her collections."

Ella Sharp Museum of Art and History
Ella Sharp Museum of Art and History

And over the years, the museum has grown tremendously.

"We added additional historic buildings, and we built this building that we are currently in. And it is the main building for all of our galleries, educational programs, and our community room events, space, etc," Johnson said.

Wednesday through Sunday you can check out six different galleries, learn about Jackson's history, or even take a trip through time and see different types of clocks made all over the world. Admission varies.

"We also have a wildlife exhibit. And in that exhibit, it focuses on the birdlife that you can find in and around Michigan," Johnson said.

And there are a few hands-on activities for the little ones throughout the museum.

Ella Sharp Museum
Ella Sharp Museum

"We have a train table, a car table, we have binoculars, the kids can look through and look at the birds and draw the birds or come up with their idea of what a bird would look like. And we have several other things throughout that they can play," Johnson said.

They also have other cool things like their own planetarium you can explore. 

For more information on the Ella Sharp Museum click here.

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