The Main and North galleries serve as the temporary exhibit spaces for the museum, hosting traveling exhibits from other institutions and rotating exhibits created in-house. Generally, a new temporary exhibit is installed every summer. Below is a list of current and past temporary exhibits. Visit our museum galleries page to learn more about the other spaces in the museum.

Homecoming: A History of the Harbor Springs High School - 2019

High School Exhibit image web

This exhibit is filled with Rams memorabilia, artifacts and photographs and includes activities that let visitors become a part of the story. Visit the display to learn more about the history of our community's iconic school on the bluff and while you are there, be sure to sign the yearbook and take a photograph with the class of 1900!


The Life and Work of Ephraim Shay - 2018 (moved to Shay Hexagon House)

The Life and Work of Ephraim Shay shares the story of one of Harbor Springs most famous citizens, Ephraim Shay. The exhibit chronices Shay's life, from his service in the Civil War to the invention of the geared locomotive that made him a household name in the lumber industry. Shay retired to the Harbor Springs area in 1888. During his “retirement” he created over twelve miles of water mains to bring running water to the city, designed and built his unique Hexagon House and started a logging railway known locally as the Hemlock Central. 

This exhibit has been moved to the historic Shay Hexagon House, at 396 E Main Street. It is currently open on Fridays and Saturdays from 11:00am to 3:00pm through October 12, 2019.  


Just the Artifacts, Ma'am - 2016/2017

This exhibit showcased unusual and never-before-seen artifacts from the Historical Society’s Collections. It is now closed.

The Historical Society is home to thousands of documents, photographs and objects, and this exhibit serves as an opportunity to share those items with the community. Highlights in this exhibit include a collection of dental tools belonging to Dr. Frank A. Graham and several loaned artifacts from the original Petoskey Brewing. Long after memories fade, these artifacts remain to enrich our understanding of the unique history of this special place. The Historical Society is honored to be a steward of this history and hopes you enjoy viewing some of the unique items brought out from behind the archive’s door. 

1997.011.76 Bark and Quill Bowl 1 teeth web 2013.001.1 WWI Sewing Kit 2


Anishnaabek Art: Gift of the Great Lakes - 2015

The Harbor Springs History Museum's newest temporary exhibit, Anishnaabek Art: Gift of the Great Lakes, is on display now through August 27, 2016. The exhibit showcases Anishnaabek (Odawa, Ojibwe and Potawatomi) art from throughout the Great Lakes region, focusing on various media, styles and tribes. Using handcrafted items such as wooden tools, quill boxes, baskets and beadwork, the exhibit explores the political, religious, cultural, and social changes the Odawa and other native groups navigated throughout their history.

Anishnaabek Art was developed primarily from the private Robert W. Streett Collection. An avid collector, Streett loaned the majority of the artifacts for this unique exhibit. The exhibit also features work from contemporary native artists and artifacts from the Historical Society and Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians collections.

This exhibit is now closed.

Click here to view the PDF version of our exhibit catalog. 

   IMG 5666 IMG 0311 web HSAHS Anishnaabek IMG 0321 web


A Shadow Over the Earth: The Life and Death of the Passenger Pigeon - 2014 

 Created to commemorate the centenary of the passenger pigeon's extinction, this exhibit featured two rare taxidermied birds courtesy of the Grand Rapids Public Museum as well as educational panels created by Project Passenger Pigeon. This exhibit is now closed.

472px John J. Audubon Passenger Pigeon Google Art Project pigeon exhibit shadow over earth


Turning Point: The War of 1812 from the Native American Perspective - 2013

Turning Point: The War of 1812 from the Native American Perspective was produced in collaboration with the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians and its Repatriation, Archives and Records Department. The exhibit examined the War of 1812 and its impact on the Odawa people of Little Traverse Bay region. Though the exhibit is closed, you may still download a PDF file of the exhibit text with bibliography here.

 Turning Point exhibit artwork 8th grade Turning Point web 


A Delightful Destination: Little Traverse Bay at the Turn of the Century – 2012

This exhibit was created by the Clarke Historical Library at Central Michigan University and explored the Little Traverse Bay region’s transportation, cultural, and economic growth during the period between 1890 and 1920. During this time tourists and seasonal residents flocked to waterfront communities around Little Traverse Bay including Petoskey and Harbor Springs. Luxury hotels opened, railroad and steamship companies created elaborate advertising campaigns and an economy and way of life still visible today were created. 

Ivan Swift, Artist and Poet – 2011 

This exhibit was created by HSAHS with support from the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs and the Cheboygan Area Arts Council.  The display offered guests a rare opportunity to see the original works of artist and poet Ivan Swift, who was a resident of Harbor Springs throughout much of his life.

Earl H. Mead, Architect – 2010

Produced by HSAHS, this exhibit explored the life and work of architect Earl H. Mead. Mead was a practicing architect in Lansing, Michigan, in the 1890s who began his connection to Harbor Springs by designing summer cottages for resorts such as Harbor Point, Roaring Brook and Wequetonsing. Mead also designed a number of public and commercial buildings during his career including the Harbor Springs High School, Erwin building, Stein building and more. 

EarlMeadExhibit web mead exhibit 2 web


Native American Treaty Signers of the Great Lakes – 2009 

This was a special traveling exhibit by the Clarke Historical Library at Central Michigan University. The exhibit featured 22 full-color lithographs of Native American leaders drawn by James O. Lewis and printed between 1835 and 1836. The images reveal the proud, detailed profiles of legendary Indian leaders focused on achieving the best possible treaties for their people.

Ships of the Great Lakes – 2009 

This small exhibit showcased 11 ship models including passenger ships, freighters, icebreakers, car ferries and the simple Mackinaw boat. Paired with artwork, photographs and documents, these models gave a glimpse at the interesting cross-section of vessels that once arrived at docks in Harbor Springs. 

Exhibit Hours

Friday & Saturday
11:00 am to 3:00 pm

Office Hours

Tuesday - Friday
9:00 am to 5:00 pm

January 1, 2020

Museum Address

349 E. Main Street
    Harbor Springs, MI 49740

(231) 526-9771

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