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Awesome Mitten’s Guide To The Best Museums In Michigan

No matter where your interests lie — history, science, art, or music — you’ll find museums in Michigan to engage and delight you. From the Upper Peninsula to the Detroit Metro Area, you can spend a day or a week exploring one or more of these amazing Michigan museums.

Best Museums in the Upper Peninsula

Great Lakes Ship Wreck Museum

18335 N Whitefish Point Rd, Paradise, MI 49768

One of the most famous shipwrecks on Lake Superior was memorialized in a song, “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” by Gordon Lightfoot. The Great Lakes Ship Wreck Museum brings that song to life along with the stories of many other lost sailors.

This Michigan museum is open every day from May 1 to Oct. 31. Your ticket gets you into the museum for a self-guided tour, the Whitefish Point Light Tower, and the 1923 Surfboat House for a guided tour. 

Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum, Whitefish Point - Terrific Museums
Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum

Coppertown USA Mining Museum

25815 Red Jack Rd, Calumet, MI 49913

Operated by the National Park Service, the Coppertown USA Mining Museum is part of the Keweenaw Heritage Sites. If you collect national park stamps, the sites here all have them.

The copper mining industry was vital to this area of Michigan from pre-historical times through the 1960s. This Michigan museum highlights the mining history with interactive exhibits that bring the stories to life. The museum is open June through Oct, Mon through Saturday. 

International Frisbee Hall of Fame

110 Red Jacket Rd, Calumet, MI 49913

For disc sports lovers, this museum in Michigan is a must-visit destination. It’s located on the second floor of the Calumet Coliseum and includes USA Guts Frisbee as part of the Hall of Fame.

The museum has a variety of memorabilia and information on inductees. The Keweenaw Peninsula is where the sport of guts frisbee was invented and where the Coca-Cola International Frisbee Tournament is held. 

Museum of Ojibwa Culture

500 N Street, St. Ignace, MI 49781 

Celebrate Ojibwa culture at this Michigan museum. You’re free to wander through indoor and outdoor exhibits, watch a video, and take pictures.

Among the outdoor exhibits is a longhouse constructed to pay tribute to those created by the Huron Tribe. Also, the museum is the sight of the grave of Fr. Jacques Marquette, the explorer priest. The gift shop has the largest selection of native crafts in the area.

Museum Of Ojibwa Culture, St Ignace - Terrific Museums
Museum of Ojibwa Culture | photo via @twilight80

The Richard and Jane Manoogian Mackinac Art Museum

7070 Main St., Mackinac Island, MI 49757

In terms of art museums in Michigan, this one is small. However, the collection focuses on all things Mackinac.

The collection is eclectic and includes photographs by renowned photographer William H. Gardiner. It includes one-of-a-kind articles from the Victorian era about the island. The building that houses the museum dates from 1838 and was formerly an Indian Dormitory.

The Richard And Jane Manoogian Mackinac Art Museum, Mackinac Island - Terrific Museums
The Richard and Jane Manoogian Mackinac Art Museum | photo via @oneluminousthread

Awesome Northern Michigan Museums to Visit

Besser Museum

491 Johnson St., Alpena, MI 49707

This art, history, and science museum in Michigan is dedicated to making education enjoyable for everyone who visits. It’s a large museum and includes a planetarium, an 1890s avenue of shops, historic buildings, artwork by the likes of Dali, Chihuly, and Warhol, and much more.

You can easily have a great day out with the entire family here. Be sure to check out the Alpena Flyer Exhibit. 

Besser Museum For Northeast, Alpena - Terrific Museums
Besser Museum for Northeast | photo via @ck_nickole

Dennos Museum Center

1410 College Drive, Traverse City, MI 49686

The Dennos Museum Center is a fine arts museum located on the campus of Northwestern Michigan College. Known for its exceptional collection of Inuit art, the collection is shown on a rotating basis, so one visit is never enough.

The kids will love the hands-on gallery that allows them to interact with art and science. This Michigan museum regularly holds events to engage the public. 

Dennos Museum Center, Traverse City - Terrific Museums
Dennos Museum Center | photo via @reetakukkola

Mackinaw Bridge Museum

231 East Central Avenue, Mackinaw City, MI 49701

This free Michigan museum is located upstairs at Mama Mia’s Pizza. It seems like the ideal way to enjoy learning about the bridge and eating some tasty pizza.

Created by the restaurant’s owner, who worked on the bridge, it’s a tribute to the ironworkers who made this marvel possible. Though the owner has passed away since then, his legacy has not. You can walk through this museum anytime the restaurant is open.

Mackinaw Bridge Museum, Mackinaw City - Terrific Museums
Mackinaw Bridge Museum | photo via @lauraphotoadventures

Old Mormon Print Shop Museum

26275 Main Street, Beaver Island, MI 49782

The Old Mormon Print Shop Museum has an eclectic collection that the name doesn’t completely exemplify. While it does tell the history of the Mormons under King James Jesse Strang, the history of Beaver Island and its strategic importance to the area is on display.

This surprisingly fascinating museum is a great way to spend an hour or two while visiting Beaver Island Michigan.

Call of The Wild Museum

850 South Wisconsin Avenue, Gaylord, MI 49735

This is not one of your usual museums in Michigan. It’s a wildlife museum with over 60 wildlife displays, a wildlife theater, and a hands-on learning center. You can take part in a scavenger hunt which is fun for everyone.

The Call of The Wild Bavarian Falls Park next door offers miniature golf, Go-Karts, and bumper cars. It makes for a fun and educational day out for the entire family. 

Call Of The Wild, Gaylord - Terrific Museums
Call of the Wild | photo courtesy of @lorakasik

Best Museums to Visit in West Michigan 

Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park

1000 East Beltline Ave NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49525

This Michigan museum is one of the finest horticultural gardens and displays of sculpture in the country. Enjoy a narrated tram ride to get your bearings, and then take your time visiting the areas of interest to you.

With 158 acres and more than 200 sculptures, you can spend an entire day and more here. Be sure to appreciate the Chihuly sculpture in the cafe when you stop for a bite to eat. 

Frederik Meijer Gardens &Amp; Sculpture Park, Grand Rapids - Terrific Museums
Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park | photo via Robert Maihofer II

Grand Rapids Public Museum

272 Pearl St, Grand Rapids, MI 49594

The collection of art, science, and cultural artifacts is phenomenal and so extensive at this museum in Michigan that only 5% of them are on display at any given time. With a motto like “Be Curious,” you can count on the entire family exploring and being entertained.

Highlights include a 1928 Spillman Carousel and the Roger B. Chaffee Planetarium. 

Grand Rapids Public Museum, Grand Rapids - Terrific Museums
Grand Rapids Public Museum

Air Zoo Aerospace & Science Experience

6151 Portage Rd, Portage, MI 49002

Comprised of two facilities, the Kalamazoo Air Zoo brings to life the history of air and space exploration. The whole family will be engaged by the multisensory experience.

You can take part in a flight simulation, airborne amusement park rides, and be entertained in the theater. Hands-on exhibits will hold the attention of children and adults of all ages, and there are many of them. Come and see why this is one of the favorite museums in Michigan.

Air Zoo, Portage - Discovering Kalamazoo, Terrific Museums
Air Zoo | photo via of Jennifer Bowman

Gerald R Ford Presidential Museum

303 Pearl St NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49504

Begin your visit by watching the 20-minute film introducing the 38th President of the United States, Gerald R Ford, and his wife, Betty Ford. Raised in Grand Rapids, President Ford always considered this his home.

He and Mrs. Ford chose to have their final resting place within the grounds of the Presidential Museum. If you like Presidential trivia, the Gerald R Ford Presidential Museum will not disappoint.

Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum, Grand Rapids - Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum, Terrific Museums
Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum | photo via @matthias_dream

Muskegon Heritage Museum

561 W Western Ave, Muskegon, MI 49440

The storefront where this Michigan museum is located is deceptive. You would never guess that the museum is as extensive as it is.

It has 12,000 square feet of displays over three floors, highlighting the industrial, economic, and social history of the Muskegon area. Watch the original 1893 engine run and learn about black-owned businesses. Made in Muskegon items are featured as well.

Muskegon Heritage Museum, Muskegon - Terrific Museums
Muskegon Heritage Museum | photo via @vintage_michigan

Don’t Miss These East Michigan Museums

Flint Children’s Museum

1602 W. University Ave., Flint, MI 48504

Created to entertain and educate children ages 2-10, this is a hands-on museum and a great place to spend time with young kids. Exhibits like “How Things Work” have a variety of things for kids to try.

No one will say “don’t touch that” at the Flint Children’s Museum. Kids are encouraged to put their hands on and into things. Lots of learning happens along with fun. 

Flint Children's Museum, Flint - Terrific Museums
Flint Children’s Museum | photo via @megradaz

Thomas Edison Depot Museum

510 Edison Parkway, Port Huron, MI 48060

A satellite location of the Port Huron Museum, this historic depot is where Thomas Edison worked from 1859-1863 as a news reporter. Today, it’s home to a hands-on museum that tells the story of one of the premier inventors in American history.

Young Tom spent much of his childhood in Port Huron, and it was not always an easy life. A restored baggage car holds a replica of his early mobile lab. It’s a fascinating museum for adults and older children. 

Thomas Edison Depot Museum, Port Huron - Terrific Museums
Thomas Edison Depot Museum | photo via @porthuronmuseums

Saginaw Railway Museum

900 Maple Street, Saginaw, MI 48602

Situated in a former Pere Marquette Rail Depot formerly located in Hemlock Michigan, this is one of the smaller museums in Michigan. However, it highlights the impact that the railroad had in this part of the state.

Outdoor displays include a diesel locomotive, cabooses, boxcars, and an interlocking tower. It offers fun for adults and kids alike, especially railroad buffs. 

Saginaw Railway Museum, Saginaw - Terrific Museums
Saginaw Railway Museum | photo via @whittnee_nicole

Michigan Heroes Museum

1250 Weiss Street, Frankenmuth, MI 48734

This museum is dedicated to Michigan residents who have gone above and beyond in their service during wartime. It’s unique and highlights the personal experiences of those who have served in the military and space programs.

Over 140 displays and 850 individual exhibits honor, respect, and remember their sacrifice, sometimes the ultimate one. These are stories that need to be told, and this Michigan museum is excellent for history buffs. 

Michigan Heroes Museum, Frankenmuth - Terrific Museums
Michigan Heroes Museum | photo via @adamkostus

Sanilac County Historic Village and Museum

228 South Ridge Street, Port Sanilac, MI 48469

This museum encompasses more than 10 acres and offers over a dozen historical buildings to visit. You can wander the lovely gardens and see firsthand what life was like in the village of Port Sanilac.

Permanent exhibits include shipwreck items, Native American artifacts, and military memorabilia. Enjoy the barn theater, general store, and historic church as well.

Top Mid-Michigan Museums to Visit

Eli & Edythe Broad Art Museum

547 E Circle Dr., East Lansing, MI 48824

When it comes to art museums in Michigan, the campus of Michigan State University has a contemporary gem. The permanent collection has more than 10,000 pieces with exhibits that are always changing. Designed by Zaha Hadid, the building itself is a work of art. Entrance is always free too!

Eli &Amp; Edythe Broad Art Museum, East Lansing - Terrific Museums
Eli & Edythe Broad Art Museum | photo via @sami.norcutt

MSU Museum

409 W. Circle Drive, East Lansing, MI 48824

The Michigan State University Museum is a science and cultural museum for the entire family. It’s one of the oldest museums in the country, dating from 1857.

The facility is the steward of almost 1 million objects in natural science, folk arts, anthropology, and history from around the world. Changing exhibits keep the museum fresh, and entrance is free. 

Msu Museum, East Lansing - Terrific Museums
MSU Museum | photo via @msumuseum

Wexford County Historical Society Museum

127 Beech Street, Cadillac, MI 49601

This museum is committed to showcasing and preserving the history and culture of Wexford County. The collection includes photographs, documents, artifacts, maps, paintings, and exhibits.

A historically significant building is home to this museum. It’s the former Cadillac Public Library. History lovers will find a lot of interest here, and if you have roots in the area, it’s a must-visit.

Wexford County Historical Society Museum, Cadillac - Terrific Museums
Wexford County Historical Society Museum | photo via @olivia_in_wonderland

HERstory Museum

105 W Allegan St, Lansing, MI 48933

In 2018, Michigan Women Forward took over responsibility for the Michigan Women’s Historical Center and Hall of Fame. The HERstory Museum highlights the Michigan women who have stories that need to be told and remembered.

By honoring the women who made history, we can inspire the women and girls of today to shoot for the stars.

R.E. Olds Transportation Museum

240 Museum Drive, Lansing, MI 48933

Car lovers will enjoy this walk through the history of the Oldsmobile, one of the iconic brands that was produced by General Motors in Lansing. The collection includes more than 80 vehicles dating from 1886-2004.

Ransom Olds was an inventor ahead of his time, and you’ll learn about him and his inventions at this small but fascinating Michigan museum. 

R.e. Olds Transportation Museum, Lansing - Terrific Museums
R.E. Olds Transportation Museum | photo via @benjaminmaddy

Southwest Michigan Museums Not to Be Missed 

Gilmore Car Museum

6865 W Hickory Rd, Hickory Corners, MI 49060

Located on 90 acres, this car museum is home to more than 400 vintage cars and tells the story of America through the evolution of the automobile. This one-of-a-kind museum was created from the collection of Donald S. Gilmore, whose wife thought he should share it with the world.

Gilmore began acquiring cars with a 1927 Ford Model T, a 1913 Rolls-Royce, and a 1920 Pierce Arrow that he restored. Come and share his passion for unique cars. The campus also includes a 1941 Silk City Diner.

Gilmore Car Museum, Hickory Corners - Terrific Musuems
Gilmore Car Museum | photo via Steve Tinker

Kalamazoo Valley Museum

230 North Rose Street, Kalamazoo, MI 49007

Largely focused on families, the Kalamazoo Valley Museum celebrates history, science, and culture. A combination of permanent and changing exhibits make this a place to return to time and time again.

The “Mystery of The Mummy” highlights a real Egyptian mummy and other artifacts, which includes a reconstruction of what she looked like. You can also explore the universe or the bottom of the Great Lakes at the planetarium.

Kalamazoo Valley Museum, Kalamazoo - Terrific Museums
Kalamazoo Valley Museum | photo via Sally Thelen

Curious Kids’ Museum and Discovery Zone

415 Lake Blvd, St. Joseph, MI 49085

What’s not to like about museums in Michigan with more than 100 hands-on exhibits and activities? Nothing, that’s what! If your children enjoy make-believe, this museum will be just the place to spend some time.

Whether it’s the veterinary clinic, orchard, farm, or “What If” exhibit, children can pretend they’re part of it. Created by educators and parents, this Michigan museum encourages kids to celebrate being children. 

Curious Kids’ Museum And Discovery Zone, St Joseph - Terrific Museums
Curious Kids’ Museum and Discovery Zone | photo via @crmavis

Michigan Flywheelers Museum

06285 68th Street, South Haven, MI 49090

Tucked away in South Haven, this museum strives to promote antique flywheel engines and tractors. On almost 80 acres, it’s a recreated 1920s community that features not only lots of farm equipment but also a sawmill and shingle mill, a blacksmith shop, a farm machinery repair shop, and an old-time jail.

This will be an educational experience for the entire family. 

Best Museums to Visit in Southcentral Michigan

Ella Sharp Museum of Art and History

3225 4th St, Jackson, MI 49203

The Ella Sharp Museum of Art and History was created from the former home of Ella Sharp, who was a social advocate for the residents of Jackson Michigan. Today, historic buildings have been moved to the grounds to create a unique and charming museum.

Seven galleries offer changing exhibits of art, science, and history. The Hurst Planetarium allows 50 visitors at a time to enjoy the starlit dome. 

Art Of The Brick At Ella Sharp Museum, Jackson - Terrific Museums
Art of the Brick at Ella Sharp Museum | photo via Rebecca Calkins

Kimball House Museum

196 Capital Ave, Battle Creek, MI 49017

This historic house museum in Michigan is the place to learn about all things Battle Creek. Owned by three generations of the Kimball family, it was gifted to the Junior League of Battle Creek in 1966 to be used as a community museum.

The Kimball House is open from 1-4 p.m. on the first and third Sundays of the month between April and December. It’s furnished to represent upper-middle-class life during the Victorian period in Battle Creek. 

Kimball House Historic Museum, Battle Creek - Terrific Museums
Kimball House Museum | photo via @bb_desiderata

Honolulu House Museum

107 N. Kalamazoo Ave, Marshall, MI 49068

Honolulu House is a unique building constructed by a foreign diplomat in 1860. He wanted his house here to resemble the home he had occupied in Hawaii. Another owner added Victorian touches in the 1880s.

The house can be visited on a guided tour, and there’s nothing else like it in Michigan, or probably anywhere in the continental USA. Although it’s geared more toward adults, children are welcome, and those under 12 get free entrance. 

Honolulu House Museum, Marshall - Terrific Museums
Honolulu House Museum | photo via @ohnow.nijeah

Excellent Metro Detroit & Southeast Michigan Museums

Motown Museum

2648 W. Grand Blvd., Detroit, MI 48208

Home of Hitsville U.S.A., this museum introduces you to the past of Motown while creating a bridge to the future. The main gallery changes once or twice a year to keep the exhibits fresh and to make visiting it over and over again a new experience every time.

It’s an intergenerational music experience that brings the sound that made Motown famous as relevant today as it was in 1959. 

Motown Museum, Detroit - Terrific Museums
Motown Museum | photo via Rebecca Calkins

Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum

220 E. Ann St., Ann Arbor, MI 48104

While this Michigan museum certainly caters to children of all ages, adults will find that it sparks their imagination as well. A Preschool Gallery allows children 4 and under to enjoy time away from older siblings and bigger children.

Discover your inner scientist at this museum, where you can learn how things work. Also, the “All About You” exhibit which explores the human body.

Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum, Ann Arbor - Terrific Museums
Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum

Detroit Institute of Arts

5200 Woodward Avenue, Detroit, MI 48202

The Detroit Institute of Art is one of the finest art museums in Michigan and the country. With more than 100 galleries and almost 70,000 pieces of art, be prepared to be blown away.

The collection includes American art, European masters, the General Motors Center for African American Art collection, and some stunning decorative arts. 

Rivera Court At Detroit Institute Of Arts, Detroit - #Mittentrip Detroit, Terrific Museums
Rivera Court at Detroit Institute of Arts | photo via Erin Bernhard

Henry Ford Museum & Greenfield Village

20900 Oakwood Boulevard, Dearborn, MI 48124‑5029

It’s the most amazing museum that almost nobody knows about.

Henry Ford brought together significant historical buildings to make Greenfield Village, a living history lesson. The Wright Brothers Home and Workshop, Edison Home and Menlo Park Lab, a historic carousel, Courthouse where Abraham Lincoln tried a case, and so much more await.

The Henry Ford Museum has a phenomenal collection of historical items, including the bus that Rosa Parks was on when she refused to move. You can sit in the same seat she did. Book a tour of the Ford Rouge Factory while you are here. 

Hallowe'en In Greenfield Village, Dearborn - Terrific Museums
Greenfield Village | photo via @cabochapan

Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History

315 E. Warren Ave., Detroit, MI 48201

Welcome to the largest museum of African American history in the world. “And Still We Rise” is one of the long-term exhibits at the museum. It looks at the resilience of African Americans in America from Africa to the Civil Rights Movement and beyond.

This single exhibit covers more than 20 galleries and is the anchor of this Michigan museum. Other exhibits change regularly to make this a museum that deserves more than one visit. 

Charles H. Wright Museum Of African American History, Detroit - Terrific Museums
Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History | photo via @zeke2p9

Frequently Asked Questions About Michigan Museums

What are some of the museums in Michigan?

Michigan has some phenomenal museums, including the Henry Ford Museum and the Detroit Institute of Arts. 

How many museums are there in Michigan?

Michigan has a museum that will appeal to every member of the family with more than 100 to choose from. 

Does Detroit have a natural history museum?

Yes, Wayne University in Detroit has a Natural History Museum. It’s located at 5047 Gullen Mall and offers guided tours. 

More Museums in Michigan to Explore

This may have seemed like a long list of museums in Michigan, but the state has so many more to see. For instance, you can find more museums among the many indoor things to do in Flint or Alpena indoor things to do.