Whether you are learning about the history of the State, just curious or exploring in Lansing, this is place tells you all about Michigan's wonderland.
Know going in that there is a lot to absorb and it is all totally worth it. Do not rush your visit. There is a cost for all age groups while Sundays are free. Call for hours. Lot parking is available and there is a charge so have singles. There is a dollar bill changer on the 1st floor.
There are three floors and two mezzanines. Explore them all.
The second floor Mezzanine is great for kids as it has a one room schoolhouse, which really were still operating in Michigan until 1965. Of course, Amish schoolhouses are still one room and have about 3-4 teachers.
The second floor feature George Sidman's Congressional Medal of Honor, the sword of Guv Lewis Cass and other important artifacts. What's really unique about this floor is that it shows the various road and early highway styles of Michigan, according to the very knowledgeable guard. The road is plank and then becomes an uneven paved road.
Showcased are Michigan's first inhabitants, brave souls and gifts/medallions that were given to them. The fascinating Civil War display which also portrays women spies. Of course, you'll see the letter thanking Michigan for its pivotal role in the Civil War, particularly at Gettysburg. There's a Territorial Church and the Woodward Diorama.
On the 1st floor is a topographical map which arches up to the second floor. Pieces of gypsum, limestone, coal and oil are on view and can be touched.
The State tree, White Pine, is in the center of the building surrounded by glass. It's really an awesome architectural marvel. Our state was decimated by the lumber barons and the climate changed from that of a rain forest to what it is today.
There is also a special exhibit gallery which frequently changes.
On the Third Floor there are era rooms depicting the 1920s and a speakeasy, the Great Depression, railroad depot, WPA mural, Battle of the overpass bloody shirt, and the original Pearl Harbor Newspaper.
There's also a State Archives -- I didn't have time to explore it though. There's stairs and elevators.
If you get hungry there is a dining area and also a pop machine.
Of course, who can pass up a gift store, which has quite unique items like the UP and "D" key chains, necklaces in walnuts, State stuff and more. This store has the largest on-site collection of books for sale about Michigan in all categories.
Take time to see this. It's a fun way to learn. Oh, did I mention that it is just 2 blocks from the Capitol?
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