Iron County Historical Museum – Iron River, Michigan - Atlas Obscura

Opened six years after the Iron County Historical and Museum Society was organized in 1962, this museum is the largest local museum in Upper Michigan, which visitors don’t need to be convinced of: The museum sits on a former mine site that takes up nearly 10 acres of land and is comprised of 26 different buildings, three special art galleries, and over 100 major exhibits.

In addition to showcasing exhibits for the many annual visitors, the museum also organizes frequent quilt, craft, and art shows as well as concerts, plays, and festivals throughout the year. The cultural center can seat up to 500 people.

On the National Register of Historic Places, the museum is considered a “pioneer village” as it’s built of a hodge-podge of different buildings - most made using traditional log construction - that each showcase exhibits commemorating a former era. The main building holds permanent exhibits on the local history.

Carefully curated sets of old photographs can be explored by visitors. They are meant to give a complete picture of how the local towns looked during boom times.

Some of the highlights of the museum include a hand-carved folk art model of a logging camp, a coin-operated model iron mine and railroad, beautiful waterfowl paintings, and a cubist mural of miners from the Chicago Art Institute faculty.

Know Before You Go

Located in Caspian, Michigan, just off M-189 (two miles off U.S. 2 in Iron River).

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October 28, 2010

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