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“Small but interesting”
4 of 5 bubbles Review of The History Museum

The History Museum
Ranked #8 of 52 things to do in South Bend
More attraction details
Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Owner description: 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!
Rochester Hills, MI
Level Contributor
153 reviews
77 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 119 helpful votes
“Small but interesting”
Reviewed December 1, 2011

another little gem found by accident. The house tour is a bit long, but very interesting. The basement exhibits of the progression of common items from old to new (bowl and spoon to food processor) is very well done and would be of particular interest to younger visitors.

Visited November 2011
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1 Thank Tenormary
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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89 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
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Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
South Bend, IN
Level Contributor
33 reviews
26 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 34 helpful votes
“Copshaholm tour I'd give excellent -- museum, not so much"”
Reviewed August 2, 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.

Visited August 2011
Helpful?
5 Thank hobbitmom
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Antonio, Texas
Level Contributor
905 reviews
148 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 585 helpful votes
“Hidden in a neighborhood”
Reviewed July 21, 2008

It was a little surprising to find this museum. We parked
in front of a large Victorian home, and walked to the location
behind it. There's loads of parking behind this building,
but no signs.
The museum is basically a collection of photographs
with history information added, and some period artifacts.
There was an initial charge for one area, and an
added charge to see more areas. Both charges were nominal.
The docents were very friendly.
If you're into Indiana history, this is a fine place to visit.

Helpful?
1 Thank bobemac
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
South Bend, Indiana
Level Contributor
117 reviews
12 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 113 helpful votes
“Great Place”
Reviewed May 10, 2008

I have lived in South bend all my life, but this is the first time I visited the museum and Copshaholm home with my son's third grade class. The tour guide was so knowledgable and the grounds were well kept. I would highly recommend this place.

Helpful?
1 Thank bambam26
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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