Our Museums

Harbor Springs History Museum

In 2003, the Historical Society organized a Museum Planning Committee to look at the possibility of opening a history museum in town. In October 2004 the Historical Society signed an agreement with the City of Harbor Springs for a long-term lease of the historic City Hall building. The plan for the future was that a museum would grow in Harbor Springs.

And grow it did. The Harbor Springs History Museum officially opened to the public in 2008 and history found a permanent home in Harbor Springs.

Ephraim Shay Innovation Museum

Ephraim Shay, creator of the Shay geared locomotive, built the Hexagon House in 1892. He and his wife Jane lived in the home until their deaths (Jane in 1912 and Ephraim in 1916). This remarkable building was gifted to the Historical Society from Mary Cay Bartush Jones in 2016. The structure is unique not just in design and layout, but in the materials Shay used to construct it. Both the interior and exterior of the home are clad in panels of stamped steel. The steel was stamped or pressed into a variety of designs including an imitation of brick and tile on the exterior.

The Shay Hexagon House is listed in the National Register of Historic Places and was renovated in 1990 just after Jones first acquired the building. The outright gift of the building to the Historical Society has sparked its board of trustees to look toward the future, both for the historic structure and for the organization as a whole.

The restoration of the building is already underway and the home is currently closed for construction. When reopened in Summer 2024, the former home of famed inventor, entrepreneur and community leader Ephraim Shay will serve as a regional museum of ingenuity and innovation, reflecting the entrepreneurial spirit and accomplishments of its owner and builder. Interactive exhibit galleries on the main floor will demonstrate the importance of STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics) education to economic and societal progress.