• facebook.com/washtenawhistory
Celebrating a Century of Service
100 logo.png
Service is at the heart of every Kiwanis club and the new exhibit at the Museum on Main Street celebrates a century of community service of the Kiwanis Club of Ann Arbor.
Kiwanis Club of Ann Arbor.jpg
Kiwanis Club of Ann Arbor.jpg

This nonprofit organization of volunteers is dedicated to improving the world one child and one community at a time. They have been doing that for decades for residents of Washtenaw County with the support of proceeds from the purchase of treasures, toys, household necessities, tools, clothing and one of a kind items from The Thrift Store and Sales.

We hope the Thrift Sale experience re-created in the front room will bring back some wonderful memories of the downtown rummage and thrift sales. And give you an idea of what you can find right now at the Kiwanis Center and Thrift Store on Staebler Road in Ann Arbor. Visitors will learn about the work Kiwanians do and how they do it - from an oversized scrapbook in the Exploration room to photos, art, objects, stories and artifacts throughout the exhibit.

The Museum on Main Street is at 500 N. Main at the corners of Brakes, E. Kingsley and Main Street. Hours are Saturdays and Sundays, Weekday appointments can be accommodated by emailing wchs-1000@ameritech.net or calling 734-662-9092.

Museum on Main Street Covid-19 Safety Measures

Because the health and safety of our staff, volunteers, members and visitors is the highest priority – masks are required indoors when visiting the Museum on Main Street. Free masks are available at the door along with hand sanitizer.

It’s Time for the Argus Museum/Argus Collectors Group Fall Virtual Conference

There's a lot of great stuff packed into the one-day virtual event taking place Saturday, October 23, 2021. All are invited to attend, regardless of your level of “Argus Expertise”. The first session of the October 23 conference begins at 12pm (EDT) and runs to 2:30. They meet again at 3:30pm and will wind it up around 6pm. Click here to register for the event. For more information, contact the Argus Museum staff at cchidester@onealconstruction.com or the argusmuseum@gmail.com. Check out our website at argusmuseum.wordpress.com or the WCHS page

Ask Our Historian...

Do you have a question about local history? Are you curious about a house or monument in your neighborhood? Want to know more about an event that took place when you were a kid? Wondering about the name of your street? Click on the question mark and send it to the Washtenaw County Historical Society.

question box.gif
Breakfast was delicious at the Museum on Main Street

Will it Still Snap, Crackle or Pop?

Virtual Tour of the Exhibit on Main Street


JOIN, DONATE or RENEW - 2021  For 163 years membership dues and donations (private and public)  have been, and continue to be our most essential  financial support. When you join the Washtenaw County Historical Society your contributions allow all of our exhibits and programs to remain free and open to the public. Your contributions helped fund a mew high density storage unit for collections and to maintain the largest artifact we have in the collection - the house that serves as the Museum on Main Street.



500 N. Main Street

February brings a unique opportunity to the Museum on Main Street. We are re-imagining the best way to use the second floor of the museum.


To make space for the Pauline V. Walters High Density Storage System in 2020, some items had to be moved from the basement to the first floor. The new unit is beautiful and artifacts from the collection are being processed

and re-housed.

Many of the items moved are used for exhibits but not part of the collection. Our goal in the next few weeks is to re-organize the second floor offices, work space and conference room.

High-Density Storage at MoMS

March is Women's History Month

The Library of Congress, National Archives and Records Administration, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Gallery of Art, National Park Service, Smithsonian Institution and United States Holocaust Memorial Museum join in commemorating and encouraging the study, observance and celebration of the vital role of women in American history.

Spanning a timeframe of more than 200 years and showcasing over 200 objects, this exhibition examines the ways American girls have spoken up, challenged expectations and been on the frontlines of change. Girlhood (It's complicated) commemorates the anniversary of woman suffrage by exploring the concept of girlhood in the United States, but also how girls changed history in five areas: politics, education, work, health, and fashion. (Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of American History). Click here to view the exhibit.


This exhibition is a partnership between the International Museum of Dinnerware Design, the Washtenaw County Historical Society's Museum on Main Street, and the Ann Arbor District Library.


The International Museum of Dinnerware Design’s Fourth Biennial Invitational and Juried exhibition, Breakfast, is all about celebrating the first meal of the day. In addition to work by contemporary artists, historic works from the IMoDD permanent collection will be seamlessly woven throughout the exhibition. Due to the pandemic, the exhibition is open virtually on our website.

Guests can plan to view the exhibition in person when it is safe to do so following common sense and state guidelines and procedures.  Special tours are welcome by contacting the Museum on Main Street or emailing the exhibition curator at director@dinnerwaremuseum.org. An in-person closing reception is scheduled for Saturday, August 21st.


Juried prizes were sponsored by “Jiffy Mixes” of Chelsea Milling Company. To see a listing of invited and juried artists click here

Breakfast Exhibit
Breakfast Exhibit
Breakfast Exhibit
Congratulations to the Salem Area Historical Society

The 2020 Pauline Walters Memorial Award winner was the Salem Area Historical Society. The award will be used to create story boards that will recall “stories from the 1800’s and early 1900’s about the farming community and families of Salem Township.”  The panels will be displayed in the Dickerson Barn, which is part of the Jarvis Stone School Historic District. 

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic the office of the Washtenaw County Historical Society and The Museum on Main Street are temporarily closed to the public for the safety of visitors, members, staff and volunteers. 
But the work of the Society continues. Our mission is to educate and inspire our community to engage in the preservation and presentation of area history.

The Washtenaw County Historical Society believes that history has a powerful impact when it connects the people, events, places, stories and ideas of the past with people, events, places, stories and ideas of today.

"Women on the Warpath" B-24 Liberator - 1943   In January of 1940, the Roosevelt administration asked Ford Motor Company to manufacture components for the B-24 Liberator bomber. Charles Sorensen, Vice-President of Production for Ford traveled to San Diego to observe Consolidated Aircraft's operations. On that visit he conceived the Willow Run bomber plant that eventually manufactured 8,800 of the B-24 Liberator bombers.


On November 5th, 1962, Martin Luther King, Jr. visited the University of Michigan. Photographs were taken of his historic and only visit to the U-M visit but were never printed or published and his visit was soon forgotten.


In 2012, the photos negatives of his long ago visit that resided in the U-M's Bentley Historical Library were digitally scanned and converted to positive images then brought to the attention of the public via the Michigan Daily. Read more...

On February 12, 1968, 1,300 Black sanitation workers in Memphis began a strike to demand better working conditions and higher pay.


Their stand marked an early fight for financial justice for workers of color as part of the civil rights movement. The strike also drew Martin Luther King, Jr. and fatefully became the setting for his “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” speech and his assassination.


Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at Hill Auditorium


Welcome Back!

The Washtenaw County

Historical Society

P.O Box 3336

Ann Arbor, MI 48106-3336

734-662-9092  wchs-500@ameritech.net

The Museum on Main Street

500 N. Main Street - Ann Arbor, MI 48104

734-662-9092    wchs-500@ameritech.net

Open Saturdays & Sundays

12 Noon - 4 pm

The Argus Museum

525 West William - Ann Arbor, MI 48104

734-769-0770    cchidester@onealconstruction.com

Open Monday-Friday

9am - 5 pm


(L) Unidentified subject of Ann Arbor photographer Obadiah A. Kelley, David V. Tinder Collection of Michigan Photography

(R) Daniel L. Quirk Jr. started the “Ypsilanti Players” in 1915 and played many roles during the early years of the theatre,, (Ypsilanti Historical Society)