The museum’s permanent collection has grown to include a vast representation of over 60,000 historical and cultural artifacts. The collection focuses on objects, photographs and documents that tell the stories of people, businesses, organizations and events that have impacted the Kalamazoo and the Southwest Michigan region. In addition to seeing the museum’s collection on display in person, visit a portion of the museum’s collection via our Online Collections Database, explore local stories via historical letters and diaries, and check out some of our more recent acquisitions.
The museum’s collection contains a wide variety of significant items related to the people and industries of Kalamazoo and the Southwest Michigan region, spanning over 200 years of local history.
In 1927, the former home of Horace B. Peck (son of Horace M. Peck, who made the initial donation of corals and fossils to establish Kalamazoo’s first museum) was purchased by the School Board and became the first standalone site of a public museum in Kalamazoo. The artifacts that Albert M. Todd and Donald O. Boudeman donated to the museum in the 1920s and 1930s, in addition to the collection from Horace M. Peck, were the foundations of the museum’s early collection.
While many of the museum’s objects are tucked away in storage to help preserve them for future generations, anyone can enjoy over 21,000 of the museum’s artifacts through our Online Collections Database. Photos, documents, books and three-dimensional objects make up the online database, and records are continuously being added and updated.
Other local institutions may also be of assistance:
The long-term preservation of historic artifacts requires attention to proper storage and conservation techniques, as well as careful handling. For the family heirlooms and treasures you have at home, the links below can help you take care of your family’s history, as well as provide you with referral information for conservation and appraisal organizations.
Please note that it may take up to 10 days for our team to respond to donation offers. We ask that potential donors please make an appointment with our collections staff before visiting the museum with your items. We are unable to accommodate walk-in inquiries without prior appointments.