The History Museum
The History Museum
4.5
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Monday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Tuesday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Wednesday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Thursday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Friday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Saturday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Sunday
12:00 PM - 5:00 PM
About
A stately Victorian mansion with original furnishings and stunning woodwork is the highlight of this museum complex, which also includes a children's museum, a gallery of Notre Dame history and an exhibit that chronicles the history of the St. Joseph River Valley. Our museum is also physically connected to the Studebaker National Museum. You can now visit two museums in one place!
Duration: More than 3 hours
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Most Recent: Reviews ordered by most recent publish date in descending order.

Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as wait time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

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4.5
4.5 of 5 bubbles156 reviews
Excellent
110
Very good
36
Average
6
Poor
1
Terrible
3

Travlex
Michigan54 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2024 • Solo
The museum was well done for a local museum. I came primarily to tour the Oliver Mansion which is included with the history museum. It was a great tour, along with the 1950's workers home. The young lady, Joie, was a phenomenal guide. She was able to answer questions, and knew a lot about not only the home but also the family that resided there. Tours are the best when done by someone who cares! If you are into history, and architecture I would definitely take a look at this home.
Written June 10, 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Bouffie
North Manchester, IN93 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2021
Took my teenage son on a rainy Sunday. Something for everyone. I really enjoyed the stories of the Oliver family (surprising). Well laid out. Very few docents - maybe the weekend or pandemic. Exhibits were in good shape.
Written April 11, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

hobbitmom
South Bend, IN32 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2011
We've been members of the Northern Indiana Center for History off and on (mostly on) for over a decade. When the kids were younger we'd take them to the museum winter weekends to play in the Kidsfirst Children's Museum, a big room in the basement, which was recently refurbished but now has much more limited hours. There they'd play with the wooden blocks and dress up and pretend to be pioneers or Native Americans for a couple of hours.

Now that they're older we do the temporary exhibits -- which are often excellent -- and tour Copshaholm every few years. Technically the tour starts with a slide show, proceeds to a worker's home, and proceeds to Copshaholm. Copshaholm is one of the homier mansions I've toured, and every docent we've had was very knowledgeable about the home and the Olivers, the family that lived there. Usually the Copshaholm tour lasts 45 minutes to an hour, but on a slow day when we had lots of questions it's stretched to two hours because many of the docents know more than they can say in any one tour. They decorate Copshaholm for Christmas and sometimes have special displays in the house as well, like mannequins in costumes from Copshaholm's hey day. The museum grounds are nice -- there's a fountain back by the museum, and the sunken garden has been restored.

Lately they've had a costume at the top of the stairs in the museum area that they change periodically. The museum downstairs is permanent; there are a couple of dioramas but most of it is just "stuff" arranged by era, and there's a 45 minute movie you can watch. Upstairs on the entrance level are the temporary exhibits, which can cover anything from Lincoln (complete with casts of his hands -- which were huge!), to Mammoths and Mastodons, to decorative glassware. Some of those are terrific, with excellent displays and artifacts that would interest anyone; others, admittedly, are just collections of photos with commentary, and more interesting to someone who lives here than the casual traveler. But usually there's at least one really good one going.

Copshaholm faces W. Washington Street, on the corner of Washington and Chapin. From Washington Street there's an entrance with some parking along the west side of the lot, however most of the parking is back behind the museum, off of Thomas Street. It's the "Museum Campus," the other Museum being Studebaker's, and the gift shop has Studebaker calendars and posters along with historical paper dolls and books and jewelry and the like. We keep thinking it's a cheap visit because we get in for free as members, but somehow we always manage to find something new we have to have every time we go.
Written August 2, 2011
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

AmarilisVos
Jabbeke, Belgium2,297 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2015 • Couples
We visited the museum on June 9. There is free parking in front of the museum (on Thomas Street). You can purchase a single ticket or a combo-ticket for 2 dollars more and you can visit the Studebaker museum on the same site. There are 3 levels. You can use the elevators. When you arrive, ask when the next tour of the mansion will be. If I am not mistaken there are only tours at 11 am, 1 pm and 2 pm. The mansion is not accessible by wheelchair.
Written June 9, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Laszlo N
South Bend, IN85 contributions
1.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2017 • Family
This should be an exciting place, for children, especially.But, as most things in this sad town that have been "modernized", it is sadly glum and morose.That they had to lump it in with the Studebacker Museum should be a tipoff..The clothing used in Downton Abbey on display, really? That is in the South Bend Museum? Why? It was very much better when it was located in the old courthouse downtown.The exhibits are worn and dull.Save your money and go to the zoo instead. A sad representation of our failing city.Was here last Saturday with people from out of town to see the Blue Gold game, and they were rather taken aback by the chintzyness of the place.
Written April 24, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Ted G
Toronto, Ontario, Canada11 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2014 • Business
Visited there for company function. Spent about 4 hours wandering thru it but wished I had more time. Not the attraction that I would usually go to but it was much more interesting than I would have expected. Great place to spend a few hours while in SB.
Written May 19, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

ImnowaHoosier
USA400 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2013 • Couples
The Oliver mansion is by no means "little" but it is definitely a gem worth visiting as part of the Center for History.

As part of an overnighter to SB, I scoured Trip Advisor for things to do and ran across the Center for History. We purchased our tickets using a AAA discount and then signed up for the next tour. We looked at one of the current displays about candy manufacturers in Indiana. I would have never guessed that there were so many and a lot of them are still open which would make a fun excursion some day.

We did not have time to devote to seeing the whole museum in detail but saw rooms with Notre Dame history, a Kid's museum, Women's baseball and an Indiana history display. That was interesting as they show the evolution in displays of time-saving devices that have been invented.

The highlight of the museum is the Oliver mansion tour which begins with a film about who they were and how they secured their fortune--by making a plow! Yes, a plow. Their factory site had over 30 buildings at one time before the demise of the simple plow by a newer invention. The fourth generation of Oliver's are the ones who donated the house and lands and all its furnishings to the Center for History. What a treasure!

The tour is lengthy and thorough and you get to see almost all of the rooms in this 38-roomed mansion with plenty of time for Q&A's. I'm glad we were able to make this stop on our whirlwind tour of South Bend!
Written May 15, 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Extradish
Kalamazoo, MI86 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2012 • Couples
While most cities have house museums and history museums, South Bend has a combined house/history museum. The star attraction is the tour of the Oliver Mansion (known as Cop-sha-holm) which is possibly the best house museum I have ever seen. Although the house was built in the 1890's, it was lived in by the family until the 1970's, and was given to the city with all its contents at that time. They wisely decided to display the house as they got it, with items from all time periods, rather than trying to take it back to one early time period. The result is a house museum that feels like real people lived in it. It's got bits of many eras, like most our our houses. Our tour guide for the house was Ken, and he was great... enthusiastic, knowledgeable, and opinionated about the house. They take you through most of the house, unlike some stingy house tours that only hit a few rooms. Because the tour was about an hour long, most of our group bailed out on the tour of the "workers' house" that followed, but it is also worthwhile, and does not take long.
The second part of the museum is the South Bend history section, which I found very good also. It included a good video about the history of african-americans in northern Indiana and southern Michigan. We also visited an interesting temporary exhibit about patent medicines and cures.
I plan to go back to this museum. We had been at the Studebaker Museum a few years ago and didn't want to do two museums (and their entrance fees) on one day, but I wish now we had not waited so long to get back. Don't delay if you enjoy house museums or Indiana history.
Written July 22, 2012
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

kathymY1120SY
Vancleave, MS, United States39 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2018 • Family
This Home/Museum is an amazing piece of history, and a step back in time to a wonderful era in America. A lovely home and history of the Oliver family and South Bend. You won't want to leave!
Written October 2, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

lewenray
South Bend, IN20 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2018 • Friends
The History Museum shares an entrance with the Studebaker National Museum, so if you have the time you may buy tickets for both venues at once. (The Studebaker Museum has world class changing exhibits, and also houses a large collection of Presidential carriages, including Lincoln's carriage used the night of his assassination.) The History Museum has a special tour several times daily of the Oliver Mansion on the grounds. Built in 1898, it was donated largely furnished with original pieces by the Oliver Family, which makes it a rarity among Historical Mansions. There are a few permanent galleries in the Museum building itself (downstairs, but accessible by elevator or stairs) and also changing exhibits on the main floor. This museum houses the history of the All American Girls Professional Baseball League (as depicted in the film: A League of Their Own). Former players have donated one of a kind items from the League. There is a changing exhibit of Notre Dame University history, curated in conjunction with the nearby University. There is a 1930's era Oliver Factory Worker's Home tour on the grounds. The changing gallery exhibits vary from the recent "Dressing Downton" and a showing of one of the surviving Lincoln Emancipation Proclamation copies to the current "Cabinet of Curiosities" highlighting odd, rare and priceless items donated to the Historical Society over the last 150 years. The website is HistoryMuseumSB.org
Written March 22, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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The History Museum - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (2024)

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