The Museum on Main Street
500 N. Main Street
Ann Arbor, MI
At the corners of N. Main,
E. Kingsley & Beakes Streets
Open Saturdays and Sundays,
Weekdays by Appointment
call 734-662-9092 or email
Closed for Winter - Painting The Museum on Main Street
The Museum on Main Street is a historical house with rotating exhibits created to tell stories of county history that showcase the artifacts in the Collection. It is actually the largest artifact in our collection. Exhibits change every 4 months and feature local individuals, families, churches, businesses and organizations that contributed to the founding and forming of our community.
It’s time for some TLC – tender loving care – at this historic house
The Museum will be closed to the public during the Winter for painting and repairs. We will re-open on April 8, 2023 with a new guest exhibit. Spring also brings the opportunity to paint the outside of the museum and do some fence repairs in time for the garden to come to life again under the skilled green thumb of Master gardener Lilly Ferguson.
These projects are not inexpensive to complete - We could use your help!
Stewardship of such a rare artifact like a pre-Civil War era house requires such a large investment. But we sure could use your help. All contributions and donations towards this work are welcomed and appreciated. Together, we can work to ensure it stands many more decades at the corners of Main, E. Kingsley and Beakes Street in Ann Arbor. Click here to donate and join the Washtenaw County Historical Society in preserving this historic house.
History of the Museum
The need for a permanent site was first expressed in 1874 by William Gregory of Saline. In 1930, Dr. Carl Guthe, president of the Society, stated that "the development and fostering of community memory is the function of the WHS" and "the Society is making definite plans for securing an adequate home for the county's memory." Many locations were considered over the years. The final chapter in our search began in the late 1980s when the University decided to demolish a home at 1015 Wall St. for a parking lot. When current board member Susan Wineberg heard about it, she wrote a letter to the university planner, Fred Mayer, explaining the significance of the house and asking if they would consider moving it.
The original lot on Wall Street was sold to Thomas Peatt by Anson Brown's widow and subsequently sold to Dan Kellogg and Ethan Warden. The rear section of the house was built in 1835 by Dorr, Dwight and Dan Kellogg. The front section was added in 1839 when Charles and his wife came from New York State.
The university offered the house to the city which accepted, then decided six months later that they had no use for it. At that time, Thelma Graves, a board member, suggested to the society president, Karen O'Neal, that the Society try to acquire the house from the University. Through Karen O'Neal's determination, the support of the university, the city's agreement to lease the land, the project became a reality. The 185 year old house is actually the largest artifact in our collection. It is surrounded by gardens that bloom from Spring through the Fall.
On Sunday, June 10, 1990, the Society's first home, the Museum on Main Street, rolled across the Broadway bridge and was set on cribbing, 133 years after John Geddes called for the formation of a society. This house came a long way. Click here to read more about that Wall Street Journey.
2022 Gorgeous Gardens Surround the Museum
Year after year, Master Gardener Lillie Ferguson turns the Museum on Main Street gardens into a kingdom of colors, textures, shapes and scents. There is a garden bench where you can relax and enjoy what Nature bears throughout the year, Fall - Winter - Spring and Summer.. You can also see the photo gallery below.