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Discover exhibits, collections, meeting spaces and more!


Every community needs a remembering place …

We all need a place that tells our stories, through artifacts, through our dreams. A place that shares how our community came to be what it is today and why we live the way we do. We also need a place that inspires us to keep our story going.

The Heritage Museum at the Priscilla U. Byrns Center is our remembering place in St. Joseph, Michigan. The museum houses our area’s history, its artifacts and archival collections and a research library in a historic building along Main Street. Carefully preserved and beautifully appointed, it presents our stories in spacious exhibit halls and creates new memories in elegant banquet facilities.

Every person’s story is important and because we believe sharing these stories is just as important, admission is free to everyone. Come journey into our past, gain a deeper understanding of our present and thrill at the possibilities for the future. If we can become part of your life’s special events, please contact us. We would be privileged to weave your chapter into ours.

St. Joe Lighthouse Tours are here – register on-line today!Want to see this view for yourself? Book your tickets today!

(Photo credit: Denise Emery, thank you for sharing this great image!)

This summer, the Heritage Museum & Cultural Center will offer the first-ever schedule of public St. Joe Lighthouse Tours. The City of St. Joseph took ownership of the Lights from the federal government in 2013, in recognition of their community importance and to ensure their preservation. Generous donors to the city’s Lighthouse Forever Fund supported a momentous restoration of the structures over the past year, and the Heritage Museum has arranged for access to the lights for walking tours. As a result, St. Joe Lighthouse Tours will begin this weekend.

Tickets for the 2016 St. Joe Lighthouse Tours will be sold in advance at a cost of $10 for adults and $5 for children 17 and under. Advance ticket purchase is recommended. To register, please purchase your tickets online at or call the Heritage Museum at (269) 983-1191. Private tours will also be available to groups of up to 20 people for a fee of $300. For more information, please call the Heritage Museum or e-mail

The one-hour guided tours will begin near the covered pavilion at Tiscornia Park.

Lighthouse Tours will include a broad history of past navigational aids at St. Joseph, with historic photos as visual aids. Guides will point out areas where the restoration project was able to resolve damage and deterioration, and where it reversed changes made over the years to bring back history. Tour participants will be able to step inside the Inner Light & Fog Signal Building for a closer look. Those who are able, and are a minimum of 48” tall and 8 years of age, will have the opportunity to climb the tower to take in the view from the lantern and gallery.

The restoration of the Lighthouses has essentially turned back the clock. What we see now closely reflects their appearance in 1932. This date was carefully determined to represent the structures as they were originally designed and built, as well as include significant changes that were made between 1909 and 1931.

2016 Lighthouse Tour Schedule

To register for a 2016 St. Joe Lighthouse Tour, please purchase your tickets online at or call the Heritage Museum at (269) 983-1191. The public tour schedule is as follows:

  • Friday, June 17 – 11:00am
  • Saturday, June 25 – 1:00pm
  • Friday, July 1 – 11:00am
  • Saturday, July 9 – 9:00am, 10:00am, 11:00am, 12:00pm
  • Friday, July 15 – 11:00am
  • Saturday, July 23 – 1:00pm
  • Friday, July 29 – 11:00am
  • Saturday, August 6 – 9:00am, 10:00am, 11:00am, 12:00pm
  • Friday, August 12 – 11:00am
  • Saturday, August 20 – 1:00pm
  • Friday, August 26- 11:00am
  • Saturday, September 3 –  9:00am, 10:00am, 11:00am, 12:00pm
  • Sunday, September 4 –  9:00am, 10:00am, 11:00am, 12:00pm

Important St. Joe Lighthouse Tour Information

Meeting Site: All tours will begin near the covered pavilion at Tiscornia Park.

Parking at Tiscornia Park: The daily parking fee is $5 and is not included in the tour price. (Please pay for parking at the self-serve machine in the parking lot and place the receipt on your dashboard before beginning the tour.  Seasonal parking permits are available from the City Clerk’s Office at St. Joseph City Hall.)

Liability Release: The North Pier has many uneven walking surfaces and is subject to weather conditions including waves. There is a tall step to enter the Inner Light & Fog Signal Building, and optionally, a tall ladder and 2 sets of spiral stairs for those wishing to climb the tower. All walking tour participants or the parent/guardian of minor participants will be required to sign a general liability waiver prior to the tour. Thank you for your understanding and cooperation.

Ladder Height/Age Requirement: A height of 48 inches and 8 years of age are required to climb the ladder in the Inner Light.  Adults who are responsible for youth under age 18 should use their knowledge of the young person’s ability to climb and descend the ladder alone, to determine if the youth should be allowed to ascend.

Recommended Attire: Comfortable closed-toe walking shoes are strongly recommended. No thong-type sandals will be allowed on the ladder. Please dress for the weather; tours may be held in the rain. Sunscreen and sunglasses are advised; skirts and dresses are not advised.

Safety Notice: If the weather or lake conditions become hazardous, tours may be cancelled for safety reasons. If your paid tour is cancelled, please contact the Heritage Museum for assistance at 269-983-1191 or We are happy to refund your tickets, if necessary, or assist you in rescheduling your tour for another time.





The Heritage Museum