11 July 2014

Follow Friday: Ypsilanti Historical Society in Michigan

Photography taken by Brenda Glover Leyndyke

Previously, I wrote about my road trip to the Ypsilanti, Michigan and my visit to the Historical Museum and Archives, but I wanted to dedicate a Follow Friday post just to them, it is that wonderful!  The Ypsilanti Historical Society operates the Ypsilanti Historical Museum and Fletcher-White archives and the volunteers do a terrific job of it.

A beautiful Italianate mansion is the home of the Ypsilanti Historical Society Museum and Fletcher-White archives.  It is located at 220 N. Huron St. in Ypsilanti Michigan. Ypsilanti is about 35 miles west of Detroit, Michigan.  The museum and archives are open from 2-5 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday, except holidays. I visited on a weekday, but I appreciate the archives being open on the weekend as I am sure many people are.

A volunteer guided tour of this local history museum will give you a sense of what it was like to live in the 19th Century in Ypsilanti, Michigan.  The mansion was built in 1860 by Asa Dow.  It was a home for over a hundred years, with the city of Ypsilanti purchasing it in 1966.  In 1970, the city offered the home to the Ypsilanti Historical Society. The society has spent years renovating the museum.

The museum starts in the foyer with a beautiful, open staircase leading to the second floor.  Two parlors, kitchen, dining room, library/music room, bedroom, costume room and more are lovingly recreated and cared for, and it is FREE to visit.

The archives are located in the downstairs portion of the home.  Entrance to the archives is to the left of the main entrance.  Materials found in the Archives contains numerous collections.  A few examples of the type of information found in the archives includes family Bible records, local history books, cemetery records, church records, diaries, newspaper clippings, obituaries, photographs, yearbooks and more. Be sure to check out the Master Database under History tab for records available in the archives. The master database will take a minute to load, but it is worth the wait as it is filled with unique records and sources that will make your trip to the archives successful.

The website of the Ypsilanti Historical Society should be your first stop before visiting.  Everything you need to know about the museum, archives and society can be found at their website.  The tabs at the top will guide you through their website. Home, Visit, History, Outreach and Support tabs are the options. I believe the website of Ypsilanti Historical Society is one of the best and is very user friendly.

A couple of areas deserve special notice:
  • Digital Photo Archives Project is a joint venture with the Ypsilanti Historical Society and University of Michigan Digital Archives Project.  This project will eventually contain about 5000 photos from the 1850's to the present.
  • Publications:  The Ypsilanti Historical Society publishes "Ypsilanti Gleanings" and past issues have been digitized and are available online. 
I have visited a number of local history museums, libraries, and archives over the years that I have been researching my family history.  I am always in awe of the work that is done, primarily, by volunteers.  Thank you to those who volunteer their time and talent in order that others may enjoy these timeless places.  I leave a donation when I visit these repositories, but this was the first time I joined the society.  The Ypsilanti Historical Society shows what is good about preserving local history and sharing it with the public.

I have given you the highlights of the Ypsilanti Historical Society's Historical Museum, Archives and website, Clicking on the red lettering will take you to the page I am referring too.  Don't make that the only places you go on the website, there is so much more to discover and I hope you will take the time to check it out.  If you are ever in the greater Detroit, Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti area, the Ypsilanti Historical Museum and Archives is a place you must visit.

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