Bringing History to Life Campaign

The history of Harbor Springs represents a small, yet rich, example of the settlement and generational growth of Michigan and the Midwest. Beginning in 1990, the Harbor Springs Area Historical Society has both stewarded and promoted that history and the lessons it can impart to an appreciative public.

To continue to offer valuable interpretation of our unique history, for the community’s benefit, the Historical Society has embarked on a comprehensive fundraising campaign – “Bringing History to Life” – with the dual goals of developing a Harbor Springs historical corridor and building a preservation and operational endowment. A fully realized corridor will ensure that Harbor Springs’ fascinating stories of early Native American cultures, 19th-Century settlement, logging, 20th-Century lifestyles, maritime activity and tourism will convey a vibrant sense of place and tradition for year-round and seasonal residents and visitors.

The emerging corridor sits at the eastern approach to Main Street, anchored by two iconic buildings – the unique hexagonal home of noted Harbor Springs resident and inventor Ephraim Shay and the 1886 former city hall, which since 2008 has served as the home of the Harbor Springs History Museum.

However, to serve as a solid foundation for meaningful storytelling, both buildings require significant capital funding – to restore and install innovative experiential exhibits in the Shay House and to undertake essential preservation repairs and technology-driven gallery updates in the History Museum. These critical improvements, coupled with a successful preservation endowment, will enable society staff to have state-of-the-art facilities from which to present captivating new exhibits and educational programs to current and future generations.

Finally, the History Museum houses a comprehensive archive of Harbor Springs area history and an extensive collection of one-of-a-kind artifacts. To properly care for these valuable items, and provide access to them for research and interpretive projects, the campaign seeks to create a much-needed operational endowment.

We ask that you join us in helping to preserve and share the history of our “town like no other.”  Your gifts of time and treasure, however large or small, are welcomed!

Kristyn Balog
Executive Director


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