The Michigan Historical Museum doesn’t really have a ring to it. It just sounds boring; like the most interesting artifact might be a 300 year old piece of tattered parchment paper with three words of some treaty scratched on it.
We visited just before it was really warm enough to wear shorts, however; being the Michigan Historical Museum – I figured folks would understand the kids’ attire. As always, house shoes are appropriate museum footwear.
I thought we would spend a couple of hours there, tops. We ended up staying for four hours and left only because we had to be somewhere at a certain time. I am really happy to have found this place, because the exhibits are extremely engaging and have a lot of hands-on learning experiences.
Those are not fancy trains of the future. They are levels, which my kids know how to use expertly because of our pop up camper.
In that same area of the trains was an extensive Civil War exhibit. Having attended college in the great (southern) state of Georgia; I have a different take on the Civil War than most Yankees. I blabbed until my children discreetly snuck away from me and dressed up in Civil War era clothes. I’m not kidding when I say they sat like that and insisted I take their picture. At first I thought they were really getting into it; but then I realized they were just trying to make me to stop talking.
Longtime readers will recall that I came very close to homeschooling several times. We’re in a better situation now, and I am confident in the educational experience my kids are having; but a large part of the reason it was on the table for so long was that my children love learning together. I wish they were in a one-room schoolhouse like the one at the Michigan Historical Museum because separating kids by which year they were born in is silly. My kids asked me to be a ‘teacher’ which I gladly indulged in – and although they are cropped out of this picture there were two real, live old people who had been taught in a one room school house and the were delighted to be part of our ‘class’. It was a little weird, but I rolled with it.
There is also a great store with tons of Michigan made stuff (of course!) and a nice big cafeteria where we pulled out our lunch boxes and chowed down. We were there on a Saturday, and I think there is a little concession stand open during the week but it wasn’t while we were there.
After lunch the kids spent an awful lot of time in the Early Roads section. Their favorite was the exhibit that rolls back and forth on a track to re-create what it was like to ride in a wagon. In a word; bumpy.
I’m thrilled about this place and am doubly excited that my kids are too. It makes me proud of Michigan to have such a great resource, and although there is an outstanding Detroit section that made me feel really connected to where I was born it wasn’t too focused on any one time period or area. I especially loved the pre-history section, although my kids kind of buzzed through there. I was surprised that they were really interested in the “At Home In the 50′s”, but I guess to them that is pre-history.
Headed to Lansing? Make sure you plan a little extra time to check out the Michigan Historical Museum! It’s free on Sundays, but well worth the admission price every other day of the week.