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,

12 Noon-4pm

Weekdays by Appointment

call 734-662-9092 or email


Due to the Covid-19 tpandemic 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. 

This photo of our historic house was taken in the Spring of 2020 when Michigan's Stay at Home Order was issued. The garden was beautiful all season long.  View images below.

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 yje 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

The most recent exhibit "Connecting Communities: Roads-Bridges-People", celebrated the 100th anniversary of the Washtenaw County Road Commission. We had working traffic signals, a Surveyor’s Transit, a Polar Planimeter, a two-man gas-powered chain saw that is 6 feet long, manual chainsaws, bolt cutters that are 3 feet long and heavy iron road-weary chains strong enough to pull a road grader out of the mud.

 “The Women’s March to the Ballot Box” celebrating the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th amendment granting women the right to vote will be our first exhibit online in October.

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.

Thirty years ago, 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.

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.

Can you identify these Mystery Artifacts?

We can't figure out what these things are or how they were used. If you have any ideas, guesses or answers

please snd themto us using the form next to the photo.

Mystery Artifact #1

Made from wood

Mystery Artifact #2

The upper piece is made from metal and fits in a cutom made leather case.

MoMS Garden, 2019-20