Petoskey Area Blog

Here’s where the history of Harbor Springs, MI comes to life.

Posted on March 17, 2015

HS-History-Museum-300x199Writer Pearl S. Buck said, “If you want to understand today, you have to search yesterday.” If you’re going to research the past regarding Harbor Springs, the best place to go is the Harbor Springs History Museum.

If you haven’t visited this little gem in the heart of Harbor Springs, we suggest you do.  It doesn’t really matter if you have a past tie with the area – even if you’re visiting town for the first time, we think you’ll be intrigued by what you’ll find.

Photo courtesy Harbor Springs Historical Society archivesStart with the building itself – once the site of City Hall, the building sat vacant for a short time until the Harbor Springs Area Historical Society decided to do something about it.  A beautiful facility, this is the perfect location for the museum.

The Society was once a small group of volunteers, but with a vision for the future, that group grew and attracted a director with big ideas for this tiny town.  The museum now houses traveling exhibits, interesting local history exhibits and a Discovery Gallery with hands-on exhibits for kids.

Shay Hexagon House is open for tours during Shay DaysImmersing herself in the museum, its programs and the communities, director Mary Cummings describes the annual Shay Days as one of the Historical Society’s earliest events, first held in 1998. Shay Days is a salute to Ephraim Shay, inventor of the geared steam locomotive, whose former home still graces Main Street. Being held this year on July 17 – 18, the celebration is a family-friendly, two-day event featuring small scale live steam locomotives in Shay Park, kids games, self-guided tours of the Shay Hexagon House, crafts at the museum and other activities related to the life and times of one of Harbor Springs’ most famous residents.

Make time to explore downtown Harbor Springs and its shopsKeeping up with the times, the Harbor Springs History Museum now has their own YouTube channel where guests can peruse videos about the past.  They also have dedicated computers to access so locals and guests to the area can find out about those who people who helped shape this resort community on the shores of Little Traverse Bay.

The Harbor Springs History Museum is a great family and educational activity to do when visiting northern Michigan. Come and visit us for Shay Days, visit our Harbor Springs Lodging page for great lodging in the area.