The Mitten State is full of museums — big and small — that preserve and chronicle Michigan’s storied history. But, the Michigan Heroes Museum is one institution that Michiganders and out-of-town visitors don’t want to miss.
The museum is home to hundreds of exhibits and is full of photos, memorabilia, and more that chronicle Michigan’s military history. But what those exhibits represent more than anything else are the stories of hundreds of Michigan veterans and astronauts who served the country.
Lots of Michigan museums are filled with mementos and memorabilia of war, but the stories at the Michigan Heroes Museum are inspiring and honor everyday people who made the ultimate sacrifice.
About the Michigan Heroes Museum
The Michigan Heroes Museum is located in Frankenmuth at 1250 Weiss St. It is open daily except for New Year’s Day, Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.
The seeds of the Michigan Heroes were planted early in museum founder Stan Bozich’s life. As a youngster, he took up collecting military artifacts and memorabilia. Later, he served in the US Navy from 1951-55.
During a trip to the Soviet Union in 1974, Bozich and his wife were struck by the many local museums that told the stories of Russian veterans who served in WWII. That trip inspired him to one day create a museum that told the stories of Michiganders who served.
What began as a small collection housed in Royal Oak turned into a growing collection of memorabilia and stories of veterans housed in a rented space in Frankenmuth. In 1990, the museum had its own dedicated building constructed, which now houses more than 900 individual collections.
Things to Do at the Michigan Heroes Museum
Learn History Through Specialized Galleries
The museum’s collections, which tell the stories of more than 900 Michigan service men and women and their military service, serve as the museum’s main attraction. The museum features stories of Michiganders who have served in every major American conflict since the Civil War.
The museum’s galleries contain service members who have served in the Civil War, the Spanish-American War, both World Wars, Korea, Vietnam, Operation Desert Storm, Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan, and Operation Iraqi Freedom in Iraq.
Also, the museum is home to three special permanent galleries: One dedicated to Medal of Honor recipients, one for Michigan’s astronauts and space pioneers who were involved in the space program, and one for recipients of the service cross from different branches of the military.
Another noteworthy gallery is dedicated to Detroit’s Own Polar Bears, an infantry unit of mostly Michigan men who fought as part of the Allied intervention during the Russian Civil War. Bozich later befriended several of the Polar Bears, published a book about their experiences, and was eventually made an honorary Polar Bear.
Additionally, the museum honors six distinguished citizens — including five former Michigan governors — who served in the armed forces.
Participate in Educational Programs
The Michigan Heroes Museum offers a variety of opportunities to take part in educational programs. These programs offer specialized tours for students, community organizations, and even private groups, as well as traveling displays and lectures that are catered to specific audiences.
Pay Respect to Veterans on Veterans Day
The Mitten has more than a dozen spots where visitors can go on Veterans Day to pay their respects to those who have served the country.
The Michigan Heroes Museum is a good place to do that because it hosts an annual Heroes Next Door Dinner Gala to honor and remember Michigan’s veterans and astronauts.
The galleries here — spanning more than 100 years of US history — can affect visitors of any age because they celebrate Michigan veterans from all walks of life and all corners of the state.
“As the very knowledgeable docent explained…this museum goes beyond featuring historic artifacts, they focus on the stories of real people. Each exhibit focuses on actual Michigan natives who served in the military and/or NASA. You do of course, get to see actual uniforms, tools, medals, weapons…but more importantly, you learn about the stories behind the incredible service these individuals gave to our country…Admission is very reasonable, and you will leave feeling humbled.”
Exploring Frankenmuth Inside & Out
Any longtime Michigander knows what a special place Frankenmuth can be. Michigan’s Little Bavaria has something for everyone and can put a smile on the faces of visitors of any age.
Plan a Trip to Bronner’s CHRISTmas Wonderland
Around the holiday season, no trip to Frankenmuth is complete without a trip to Bronner’s CHRISTmas Wonderland. This Christmas paradise is the largest Christmas store in the world, and it’s easy to spend a couple of hours here looking at all of the Christmas decor.
Feast at Bavarian Inn Restaurant or Zehnder’s
After a trip to Bronner’s, hungry customers can sit down for one of Frankenmuth’s famous family-style chicken dinners at either Zehnder’s or Bavarian Inn. These meals are a holiday tradition for Michiganders and visitors alike, and the quality is second to none. Make sure to save room to sample a bit of everything.
Enjoy a Peaceful Stroll on the Riverwalk
Tucked behind the Bavarian Inn Lodge, the Riverwalk offers Frankenmuth visitors a chance to take a peaceful walk (especially after a filling meal). The includes a view of the Cass River and passes by Heritage Park, which is home to a baseball diamond, pavilions, and play structures.
Related: There’s plenty for visitors to do in Frankenmuth away from the popular tourist attractions.
Experience a Frankenmuth Christmas Outside
There’s plenty to see in Frankenmuth if you’re indoors (especially when there’s a nip in the air), but there’s something special about walking outside in Frankenmuth at Christmastime.
Visitors can go to outdoor markets and local shops to finish holiday shopping, walk across Zehnder’s Holz Brucke Wooden Bridge, and observe the magnificent light displays.
FAQs About the Michigan Heroes Museum
Where is the Michigan Heroes Museum?
The museum is located in Frankenmuth at 1250 Weiss Street.
What are the hours of operation at the Michigan Heroes Museum?
The museum is open year-round, every day from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and is closed on New Year’s Day, Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.
Is the Michigan Heroes Museum fully accessible?
Yes, the museum is fully accessible to individuals with disabilities. There is an elevator to access the second floor, and wheelchairs are available upon request.
What can visitors expect to see at the Michigan Heroes Museum?
With more than 900 exhibits on display, visitors can expect to see a variety of memorabilia, displays, photos, and more.
How long does it take to tour the Michigan Heroes Museum?
Each tour is likely going to vary by person or group, but visitors should plan to spend an hour or two exploring the museum and its exhibits.
Plan Your Visit to the Michigan Heroes Museum
Michigan’s role in both national and worldwide conflicts is well-documented — from Detroit’s role as part of the Arsenal of Democracy to Abraham Lincoln saying “Thank God for Michigan” at the outset of the Civil War to the Michigan Territory’s involvement in the War of 1812.
The galleries at the Michigan Heroes Museum are a magnificent showcase of hundreds of Michiganders who have served the country in different capacities and their personal contributions during those conflicts and many others.
Whether you’re coming to pay your respects on Veteran’s Day, you’re a history buff who wants to learn about Michigan’s role in some of the most important conflicts in history, or you just love museums, the Michigan Heroes Museum in Frankenmuth has a lot to offer to anyone who visits.