50 Unique Museums in Michigan
No matter your interests, there are museums in Michigan for you. Whether you’re interested in art, science, history, technology, music, or something else entirely, you’ll be delighted to find a Michigan museum that caters to your niche.
From historic sites to state parks, Michigan’s museums are must-visits on your Michigan travel bucket list.
Check out our list below for some amazing local gems or unique places worth visiting.
Read on for 50 pure Michigan museums to visit.
Museums in Southeast Michigan
Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum
Where: 220 E. Ann St., Ann Arbor, MI 48104
Why You Should Go: The Hands-On Museum in Ann Arbor is certainly catered to children, but adults and teens will love the way the exhibits spark imagination and wonder. Exhibits for ages keep everyone engaged, and the Preschool Gallery specifically allows children 4 and under to experience the museum in an accessible way apart from older kids.
Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History
Where: 315 E. Warren Ave., Detroit, MI 48201
Why You Should Go: The largest museum of African American history can be found right here in Michigan. In Detroit, the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History looks at the resilience of African Americans from Africa to the Civil Rights Movement and beyond to modern day in it’s anchor exhibit “And Still We Rise.” See this among the other rotating exhibits for a unique and educational visit every time.
Detroit Institute of Arts
Where: 5200 Woodward Avenue, Detroit, MI 48202
Why You Should Go: The Detroit Institute of Arts is one of the best art museums in Michigan, and the country overall. Spend a day browsing nearly 7,000 pieces of art from all over the world across more than 100 galleries. The DIA is home to many iconic and historic pieces of art, including Diego Rivera’s Detroit Industry mural and Vincent Van Gogh’s Self Portrait.
The Henry Ford Museum & Greenfield Village
Where: 20900 Oakwood Boulevard, Dearborn, MI 48124 5029
Why You Should Go: Curated in part by Henry Ford himself, The Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village make history come alive. Museum pieces educate about history, technology, and innovation. In the collection you can find the chair Lincoln was assassinated in, the bus Rosa Parks was on when she refused to give up her seat, among many other historic presidential vehicles. In Greenfield Village significant historical buildings line the streets, including homes, workshops, and labs belonging to inventors like Edison and the Wright Brothers.
Where: 2648 W. Grand Blvd., Detroit, MI 48208
Why You Should Go: Home of Hitsville U.S.A., the Motown Museum transports you back to 1959. Learn all about the iconic music history of Detroit’s very own Motown style and see how it all connects to the future. Once or twice a year the main gallery is changed up to keep things fresh, meaning each new visit is different from the last.
Plymouth Historical Museum
Where: 155 S Main St, Plymouth, MI 48170
Why You Should Go: One of our favorite Michigan history museums, this tiny gem houses the state’s largest collection of Lincoln memorabilia. You’ll also find a charming production of a 19th century Main Street, complete with storefronts. During the holiday season, the Victorian-era Christmas exhibits are charming and interesting for all ages.
University of Michigan Museum of Natural History
Where: 1105 N University Ave, Ann Arbor, MI 48109
Why You Should Go: Operated by the U-M, this amazing museum has the largest collection of prehistoric life in Michigan, in addition to a wonderful planetarium that puts on amazing exhibits and light shows.
The museum has four major permanent exhibits, including the Hall of Evolution, which exhibits on evolution and prehistoric life, including fossils, models, and dioramas of dinosaurs, ancient whales, mastodons, and other organisms.
Museums in Michigan’s Thumb Region
Where: 6733 Prospect St, Caseville, MI 48725
Why You Should Go: Dedicated to preserving the history of this popular resort town at the tip of the thumb, the Caseville Museum is worth a visit if you are in the area. Featuring artifacts that tell the story of the area’s rich logging and fishing history, the Caseville Museum’s permanent displays include a circa 1910 Blacksmith’s shop and barn. Caseville is a charming resort town…pland t ovisit in the summer and you can enjoy the beaches, too.
Sanilac County Historical Village & Museum
Where: 228 South Ridge Street, Port Sanilac, MI 48469
Why You Should Go: There’s something special about historical villages and their ability to take you back in time to another era, and Sanilac County Historcal Village & Museum does just that. With over 10 acres of land and more than a dozen authentic historical buildings, you’ll see the way people lived in the village Port Sanilac centuries ago.
Wander the gardens, visit the barn theater, browse the general store, or admire the historic church for a day of educational fun. It’s just a short ride north of Lexington, MI.
Thomas Edison Depot Museum
Where: 510 Edison Parkway, Port Huron, MI 48060
Why You Should Go: Listed on the National Register of historic places this museum is housed in a former railroad depot. The museum celebrates the life of Thomas Edison as one of the greatest inventors of our time. The Museum is set inside the historic Fort Gratiot train depot built in 1858 by the Grand Trunk Railway in his boyhood hometown of Port Huron.
Museums in Mid-Michigan
Flint Children’s Museum
Where: 1602 University Ave, Flint, MI 48504
Why You Should Go: This hands-on museum features 40 educational and fun exhibits for kids. Don’t miss the Fractions Pizza Parlor in the Our Town exhibit area: you’ll love it as much as the kids!
Eli & Edythe Broad Art Museum
Where: 547 E Circle Dr., East Lansing, MI 48824
Why You Should Go: This contemporary art museum on the Michigan State University campus features over 10,000 works from the ancient to the present. It’s a surprisingly strong collection. You’ll find Greek and Roman antiquities; pre-Columbian sculptures and vessels; North American and European sculpture, prints, photographs, and paintings; and works in a variety of media from different African, Asian, Latin American, and Middle Eastern cultures
Michigan Heroes Museum
Where: 1250 Weiss Street, Frankenmuth, MI 48734
Why You Should Go: Devoted to the wartime experiences of men and women from the state of Michigan, this unique American museum focuses on the wartime experiences of men and women from the state of Michigan. Be sure and browse the unique displays of uniforms from Michigan Veterans of our six foreign wars and the space program.
There’s a lot to to in Frankenmuth, so plan some time to explore the town.
Michigan History Center
Where: 702 W. Kalamazoo St., Lansing, MI 48915
Why You Should Go: You can take a walk through the history of the Great Lakes State at this Lansing Museum. The story of Michigan, from Michigan’s first people, the Anishinaabe to the mid-20th century, is brought to life here.
Michigan State University Museum
Where: 409 W. Circle Drive, East Lansing, MI 48824
Why You Should Go: This Smithsonian-affiliated Museum is one of Michigan’s best-kept secrets You’ll find three floors and 15 galleries of changing and long-term exhibits, including a great natural science collection and our favorite, the folklife and cultural heritage collection.
Michigan Women Forward HERStory Gallery
Where: 105 W Allegan St, Lansing, MI 48933
Why You Should Go: This museum celebrates Michigan female trail blazers from Rosa Parks, Watergate prosecutor Jill Wine-Banks. Be sure and explore the gallery that tells the stories of Michigan women’s brilliance, talent, perseverance and achievement in Michigan.
R.E. Olds Transportation Museum
Where: 240 Museum Drive, Lansing, MI 48933
Why You Should Go: It’s one of the top-rated automotive museums in the country, featuring over 80 vehicles that range from 1886 through 2004. Be sure and check out the Oldsmobile that won the 1953 NASCAR Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Saginaw Railway Museum
Where: 900 Maple Street, Saginaw, MI 48602
Why You Should Go: Learn about trains and railroad technology at this museum housed in the restored 1907 Pere Marquette depot. Find an HO scale model train display, an operable diesel locomotive, cabooses, box cars and an interlocking tower here.
Museums in South Central Michigan
Ella Sharp Museum of Art and History
Where: 3225 4th St, Jackson, MI 49203
Why You Should Go: In Jackson, Michigan Ella Sharp was a social advocate for residents of the city and now her former home has become the Ella Sharp Museum of Art and History. Here you can find historic buildings that have been transported here to create a unique museum with seven galleries. Covering a wide range of topics from art to history to science, anyone can find something of interest here.
Honolulu House Museum
Where: 107 N. Kalamazoo Ave, Marshall, MI 49068
Why You Should Go: The Honolulu house is another historic 19th century house in south central Michigan. Built by a foreign diplomat in Marshall in 1860 to replicate a home he owned in Hawaii, the house now stands as a educational space.
Learn about the history of the house and the town it’s in while admiring the Victorian touches added in the 1880s. While this museum is a great experience for adults, it is still accesible for children; those under 12 even get free admission. Be sure and check out downtown Kalamazoo.
Kimball House Museum
Where: 196 Capital Ave, Battle Creek, MI 49017
Why You Should Go: The Kimball house in Battle Creek is a historic house that has been owned over three generations. In 1966 it was gifted to the Junior League of Battle Creek for use as a museum and has stood as an educational facility since. Here you can learn about all things Victorian Era Battle Creek.
Cambridge Junction Historic State Park
Where: 13220 M 50, Brooklyn, MI 49230
Why You Should Go: This historic preservation area in the Irish Hills is the site of Walker Tavern, a major stopping place for stagecoaches traveling between Detroit and Chicago in the early nineteenth century. Explore two historic buildings here, the Hewitt House and Walker Tavern.
Museums in West Michigan
Muskegon Heritage Museum
Where: 561 W Western Ave, Muskegon, MI 49440
Why You Should Go: You’ll be surprised to discover how man things were manufactured in Muskegon when you visit this heritage center. From Raggedy Ann Dolls to Continental motor engines to the first snowboard, you’ll enjoy this must-see Michigan museum collection.
Air Zoo Aerospace & Science Museum
Where: 6151 Portage Rd, Portage, MI 49002
Why You Should Go: West Michigan is an aviation hub, which makes it the perfect place for the state’s premier aerospace museum. The Air Zoo in Portage brings the history air and space exploration to life with engaging exhibits and activities.
See historic aircraft and cutting edge space tech. Take flight in one of their immersive flight simulators or airborne amusement park rides for a multisensory aerospace experience or get hands on with exhibits designed for children and adults alike.
Curious Kids Museum
Where: 415 Lake Blvd, St. Joseph, MI 49085
Why You Should Go: This hands-on kids museum in downtown St. Joseph offers interactive exhibits for kids ages 1-10. This fun spot is a great place to visit on a rainy day, a sunny day or any day in between.
An added bonus? It’s just across the street from silver beach Pizza, a must-visit spot for any visitor to St. Joe’s.
Grand Rapids Art Museum
Where: 101 Monroe Center St NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49503
Why You Should Go: Known by locals as the GRAM, the Grand Rapids Art Museum is more than just a world-class museum. With the goal of connecting people and building community through art, it’s easy to see what makes the GRAM special. Explore 20,000 square feet of gallery and exhibition space filled with art that will provoke thought, build connections, and inspire creative minds.
Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park
Where: 1000 E Beltline Ave NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49525
Why You Should Go: The Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park is a unique museum known to be one of the finest horticultural gardens and displays of sculpture in all of the United States. A narrated tram ride will guide you through the space, then take yourtime revisiting the areas and art pieces that interest you most. Over 150 acres with 200 sculptures means you can spend a whole day here and still not see everything, making it well worth multiple visits.
Gerald R Ford Presidential Museum
Where: 303 Pearl St NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49504
Why You Should Go: Explore the life and times of America’s 38t President, Grand Rapids-born Gerald R. Ford. The Ford Museum in Grand Rapids holds around 19,000 artifacts, an assortment of historical artifacts that illustrate the life and times of Gerald R. Ford. These objects include gifts received by the Gerald Ford throughout his life, including head of state and American bicentennial gifts received while President.
Gilmore Car Museum
Where: 6865 W Hickory Rd, Hickory Corners, MI 49060
Why You Should Go: In Michigan, the love of automobiles runs deep and the Gilmore Car Museum in Hickory Corners knows this. 90 acres of land house over 400 vintage cars that tell the history of automobiles in the United States.
This unique museum comes from the collection of Donald S. Gilmore himself, whose wife suggested he share his passion for automobiles with the world. From the oldest cars you could think of to newly vintage rides, the Gilmore Car Museum is a haven for any car lover.
Grand Rapids Public Museum
Where: 272 Pearl St, Grand Rapids, MI 49594
Why You Should Go: This fun museum in downtown Grand Rapids celebrates the cultural and natural history of the West Michigan with a collection of over 250,000 artifacts and scientific specimens. Exhibits like the “Pterosaurs: Flight in the Age of Dinosaurs”
Are both fresh and interesting to all ages.
Kalamazoo Valley Museum
Where: 230 North Rose Street, Kalamazoo, MI 49007
Why You Should Go: The Kalamazoo Valley Museum is a perfect family-friendly museum for anyone of any age or interest. Form history, to science, to culture, you can find plenty of fun among the educational exhibits.
See a real Egyptian mummy at the “Mystery of the Mummy “ exhibit, or learn about the local history of Gibson guitar manufacturing in Kalamazoo. Don’t forget to swing by the planetarium for a unique view of the world we live in and the universe around us.
Michigan Maritime Museum
Where: 260 Dyckman Ave, South Haven, MI 49090
Why You Should Go: Maritime history is rich along the shores of the Great Lakes and in South Haven you can learn all about it at the Michigan Maritime Museum. With values including collaboration, education, preservation, and more, the institution aims to help the public understand and appreciate the Great Lakes and the storied maritime history in a fun, exciting, and thought-provoking way.
Michigan Flywheelers Museum
Where: 06285 68th Street, South Haven, MI 49090
Why You Should Go: This unique Van Buren County Musuem is dedicated to the restoration and preservation of antique gas/steam engines and tractors. Located on close to 80 acres, the museum features displays of old farm machinery, a sawmill and shingle mill. Additionally, you can explore along with “Olde Town,” a 1920’s-era community.
Museums in Northern Michigan
AuSable-Oscoda Heritage Museum
Where: 114 E. River Rd., Oscoda, MI 48750
Why You Should Go: Located in downtown Oscoda, a popular travel destination on Lake Huron. You’ll find Indian artifacts, commercial fishing, shipping, ship wrecks, logging, Paul Bunyan legend, railroads, lighthouses, the AuSable River and its dams, the fire of 1911, Wurtsmith Air Force Base.
Benzie Area Historical Society and Museum
Where: 6941 Traverse Ave, Benzonia, MI 49616
Why You Should Go: Explore the history of life in beautiful Benzie county since 1867. With more than 37,000 artifacts in the collection, you can get a real feel for the lives of those drawn to this picturesque setting so many years ago.
Besser Museum for Northeast Michigan
Where: 491 Johnson St., Alpena, MI 49707
Why You Should Go: If you choose one museum to visit in northern Michigan, make it this one in Alpena. It’s so much fun, with exhibits ranging from local wildlife to those celebrating this rich history of the Alpena area. You’ll find art exhibits, a planetarium and more here.
Call of the Wild Museum
Where: 850 S Wisconsin Ave, Gaylord, MI 49735
Why You Should Go: A museum unlike any other, the Call of the Wild Museum in Gaylord is all about wildlife. Over 60 wildlife displays, a wildlife theater, and a hands-on learning center fill the museum space. It offers a unique looks at North American wildlife.
Additionally, a scavenger hunt makes the experience even more engaging. When you’re done, you can even head next door to the Call of the Wild Bavarian Falls Park for mini gold, go-karts, and bumper cars.
Dennos Museum Center
Where: 1410 College Drive, Traverse City, MI 49686
Why You Should Go: The Dennos Museum Center on the campus of Northwest Michigan College in downtown Traverse City is a best-kept secret. It has an amazing permanent collection of Inuit Art. Additioanlly, find some top-notch collections from modern and contemporary artists.
Little Traverse Historical Museum
Where: 100 Depot Ct, Petoskey, MI 49770
Why You Should Go: Located in an old Chesapeake & Ohio Railway Depot, this is a must-visit for anyone interested in learning more about Petoskey.
Added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1970, this museum houses a permanent collection on the region’s rich history as well as a collection on Ernest Hemingway. Hemingway had ties to the area.
Hemingway set to paper in perpetuity his love of this area, describing in reverent detail early days traipsing through this naturally beautiful land.
Mackinac Bridge Museum
Where: 231 E Central Ave, Mackinaw City, MI 49701
Why You Should Go: It’s no secret that the Mackinac Bridge is an engineering marvel. You can learn all about what makes it the “Mighty Mac” at the Mackinac Bridge Museum in Mackinaw City. The museum was created by J. C. Stilwell, an ironworker who helped construct the bridge itself.
Over the course of the museum’s lifespan, other ironworkers from around the country have contributed artifacts used in the Mackinac Bridge’s construction.
Old Mormon Print Shop Museum
Where: 26275 Main Street, Beaver Island, MI 49782
Why You Should Go: Beaver Island’s unique and colorful history is both documented and explored at this museum, just a short walk from the ferry dock. Lean about the island’s Mormon “King,” as well as the fishing, lumbering, and farming pioneer life of this Lake Michigan island.
The Richard and Jane Manoogian Mackinac Art Museum
Where: 7070 Main St., Mackinac Island, MI 49757
Why You Should Go: Located in a Native American Indian dormitory on the island, this museum exhibits fine and decorative art pieces. Additioanlly, you’ll find maps, jewelry and photographs from the island, documenting the islands history. Original photographs from the mid-19th to the mid-20th century also document the natural beauty of Mackinac Island.
Wexford County Historical Society Museum
Where: 127 Beech Street, Cadillac, MI 49601
Why You Should Go: Wexford County, home of historic Cadillac, MI, was once the heart of northern Michigan’s logging and lumber industry. Learn the evolution of the town from the 1800’s to present at this unique museum.
Wurtsmith Air Museum
Where: 4071 E Van Ettan St, Oscoda, MI 48750
Why You Should Go: Located in three old fighter hangars at the Oscoda-Wurtsmith Airport, this unique northern Michigan museum is dedicated to preserving the history of Wurtsmith Air Force Base. You’ll find exhibits on the Tuskegee Airmen. Also see artifacts from the World War Two, the Korean War, the Vietnam War and more.
You can read more about these museums in our Guide to the Top Museums in Northern Michigan.
Upper Peninsula Museums
A.E. Seaman Mineral Museum of Michigan Tech
Where: 1404 Sharon Ave, Houghton, MI 49931
Why You Should Go: Learn about the important role of the iron industry in Michigan history at this museum. The official mineral museum of the state of Michigan, the Upper Peninsula museum houses over 25,000 mineral specimens from around the world.
Coppertown USA Mining Museum
Where: 25815 Red Jack Rd, Calumet, MI 49913
Why You Should Go: Less than 100 years ago, Calumet was the biggest exporter of copper in the world. Learn everything about the copper mining industry and its impact on Michigan and the entire world at this interesting museum.
Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum
Where: 18335 N Whitefish Point Rd, Paradise, MI 49768
Why You Should Go: The Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum was founded in 1978 by a group of divers, teachers, and educators to support exploration of historic shipwrecks in Lake Superior. Today, they’ve become a successful museum with an abundance of artifacts recovered from infamous shipwrecks on the Great Lakes, including the bell from the 1975 wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.
International Frisbee Hall of Fame
Where: 110 Red Jacket Rd, Calumet, MI 49913
Why You Should Go: Who’d have thought that the game of Frisbee started here, in this small town at the top of the Keweenaw Peninsula, just south of Copper Harbor? It did, and this fun museum celebrates the origins of the popular sport.
Museum of Ojibwa Culture
Where: 500 N State St, St Ignace, MI 49781
Why You Should Go: The Museum of Ojibwa Culture in St. Ignace celebrates the culture of one of Michigan’s predominant Native American tribes. Explore both indoor and outdoor exhibits, or watch an educational video. Take plenty of pictures as you learn about some of the people indigenous to Michigan’s northern regions.
See a longhouse constructed to pay tribute to those created by the Huron Tribe. You can also explore the gift shop for the largest selection of native crafts in the area.
U.S. Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame and Museum
Where: 610 Palms Ave, Ishpeming, MI 49849
Why You Should Go: The birthplace of organized skiing in the United States, the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame celebrates the athletes, pioneers and visionaries who have significantly enriched the global sports of skiing and snowboarding in the U.S
About the Author-
Bella DiMascio is a Content Editor for mymichiganbeach.com. She grew up in the Detroit suburb of Westland. She later attended Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo where she majored in Communication Studies and minored in English: Writing. Creative writing has been a hobby and interest of Bella’s since she was in elementary school. She is thrilled to be using her talents to highlight the Great Lakes State. Outside of writing, Bella enjoys getting outside with her two Australian Shepherds, playing video games, and binging shows on Netflix.