Kalamazoo Valley Museum

Kalamazoo Valley Museum
The Awesome Mitten - Kalamazoo Valley Museum
Photo courtesy of Sally Thelen

Kalamazoo Valley Museum has everything you could possibly want in a museum.

And by “everything you could possibly want” I mean “a 2,300-year-old mummy with her very own Twitter account.” Because, I don’t know about you guys, but that’s pretty much everything I’ve ever wanted in a museum.

Started in 1881 as a “collection of curiosities” in the basement of the public library, the Kalamazoo Valley Museum now has its very own state-of-the-art building and a collection of 55,000 artifacts – everything from hands-on science stuff to historic knick-knacks and, yes, the social-media-savvy mummy.

The Awesome Mitten - Kalamazoo Valley Museum
Photo courtesy of Sally Thelen

The Museum houses a planetarium, a theater, and a variety of seasonal and permanent exhibits. It is also home to a number of festivals, including a storytelling festival and the Kalamazoo Fretboard Festival.

My personal favorite exhibit at the museum is the one on Kalamazoo’s history, Kalamazoo Direct to You. Being a relative newcomer to Kalamazoo, I’m always on the lookout for fascinating factoids and trivial tidbits about my new hometown. You know, so that when my family and friends ask me about Kalamazoo, I don’t have to just tell them the same boring stuff about the weather and my job.

Instead I can tell them all about how Kalamazoo was once a bog-ore-infested swamp! Because isn’t that what you want to hear when you ask someone about their new hometown?

The Awesome Mitten - Kalamazoo Valley Museum
Photo courtesy of Sally Thelen

In addition to learning a whole lot about Kalamazoo from this exhibit, I also learned quite a lot about celery. You see, Kalamazoo was once the world’s largest producer of the stuff, earning it the nickname “Celery City.”

The Awesome Mitten - Kalamazoo Valley Museum
Photo courtesy of Sally Thelen

Back in the old timey days, celery was believed to have medicinal properties and was used in lotions and potions promising to cure everything from blood disorders to “biliousness.” Whatever that is.

The Awesome Mitten - Kalamazoo Valley Museum
Photo courtesy of Sally Thelen

I can honestly say I’ve gained a whole new respect for celery. Maybe I’ll even start eating it now.

Another wonderful thing about the Kalamazoo Valley Museum is that it’s free.

I love museums, but, honestly, I have the attention span of a two-year-old. I can usually only get through one exhibit before I’m hungry and need to take a nap.

No admission fee means I can pop in and out of the museum whenever I want. Like, say, when I run out of fun facts about celery and need to find something else to tell my family and friends about Kalamazoo.

Kalamazoo Valley Museum

230 North Rose Street, Kalamazoo, MI, 49007

Phone: (269) 373-7990 (Museum Main Line)

Email: museumstaff@kvcc.edu

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Hours:

Monday – Thursday, Saturday: 9 am – 5 pm

Friday: 9 am – 9 pm

Sunday and Holidays: 1 – 5 pm

 

Have you been to the Kalamazoo Valley Museum? What was your favorite exhibit?

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Sally Thelen is a blogger, teacher, traveler, bacon-eater, beer-drinker, and self-professed scaredy cat. Sally grew up in Buffalo, NY, and then bounced around the globe for fifteen years -- taking up residence everywhere from Washington, DC to Brazil to Japan. In 2013, she moved to Kalamazoo, where she has made it her mission to drink ALL THE BEER. Her blog, Unbrave Girl (www.unbravegirl.com) has been featured on Huffington Post and TravelChannel.com and won the 2014 Weblog Award for Most Humorous Weblog.