Bring the past to life.

Taking history out of the pages of books and making it relevant to life today is what we do best at the Heritage Museum. We create interactive exhibits that entice children grades kindergarten through college into our region’s multi-faceted and multi-cultured past. Our programs help teachers meet the Michigan Common Core Standards and enrich homeschool, scouting, youth group and day camp cultural experiences. Use our existing curriculum enhancements here at the museum or have them delivered to your classroom. Tackling a specific historic or cultural topic? Talk with us about how we can meet your educational needs. We’re always excited to help you spark students’ passion for history!




Become a 2017 Youth Ambassador! 

The Heritage Museum & Cultural Center invites students to become a HMCC Youth Ambassador.

This summer program is open to students who have completed 8th grade or higher this year. Youth Ambassadors will record an oral history interview with a local person, transcribe it and produce a brief interpretive video. The videos will be archived by the Smithsonian Institution as well as the Heritage Museum, being used for public outreach, research and education.

Youth Ambassadors will be matched with a local adult that has a story to share. Before the interview, Youth Ambassadors will be trained on the oral history process through three sessions led by HMCC staff and Apple professionals. Using interview questions they have prepared themselves, they will then used HMCC digital equipment to record and transcribe the conversation for preservation. Using interview footage, students will then identify strong segments and edit for a 2-5 minute “promotional” video of highlights from the interview.

This new program is made possible at the Heritage Museum and Cultural Center by a Youth Access Grant from the Smithsonian Institution and the Michigan Humanities Council. The funding has provided the latest oral history technology equipment that will help the Heritage Museum record and preserve irreplaceable stories and memories from our community for years to come.

Your ideas are invited for the ongoing use of our new oral history equipment at the Heritage Museum! For more information, please contact HMCC Curator Tracy Gierada at or by calling the Museum at 269-983-1191.

Plan Your Field Trip: No dull days here. Learn more about our interactive tours (most last 60-90 minutes) and hands-on activities that help your students see, hear and touch the past. Grant funding and transportation reimbursement may be available.


Scout Programs: Interested in bringing your scout troop to the Heritage Museum. We are a great place to meet a number of history and community badge requirements.


The Heritage Museum offers educational programs and exhibit tours for students in grades K-High School and College.  Our programs address Michigan Content Learning Standards in Social Studies, English/Language Arts, and Science.  Programs are reasonably priced; lending kits and curriculum guides are available free of charge. Grant funding and bus reimbursement may be available. For more information or to reserve a program or lending kit, please call  (269) 983-1191.

Exhibit Tours and Programs

Schedule a group visit our exhibit, Southwest Michigan in the Civil War.  Pair your visit with one of our interactive programs:

  • Southwest Michigan’s Fruitbelt: Why is southwest Michigan’s fruit growing industry world famous?  This program combines science and history with a look at local fruit, technology, and Benton Harbor’s Fruit Market.
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  • French Fur Traders:  During the late 17th century, Native Americans traded with French explorers.  Learn about Native American culture, trade systems, early explorers to the area in this program filled with historic objects and a bartering session.


  • St. Joseph’s Five Lighthouses:  Discover the different lights which have stood guard over St. Joseph busy port in this program filled with maritime history.

Inner Light Lantern Room View from Gallery Want to see this view for yourself? Book your tickets today!LH 120160611-EMY_6120-1

In-school programs

If you can’t visit the museum, we’ll come to you! An educator will provide a 45-minute program with hands-on objects and activities.  Choose either: Michigan’s Fruit Belt, the French Fur Trade, or The Five Lighthouses of St. Joseph.

Exhibit Lending Kits


We’ve packed a bin full of hand-on objects, lesson plans, posters, videos, and more to turn your classroom into a mini-museum!  Use a kit if you are unable to visit the museum or as a preview or follow-up to your visit.  Kits may be checked out for two weeks.

Choose either:  Michigan’s Fruit Belt or Shared Waters:  Native Americans and the French Fur Trade.

Curriculum Guides

Choose from:

Preserve the Fruit Belt – Full of lesson plans for middle school students; lessons are in English and Spanish

Shipwrecks: A Deep Look at the Rise of the Self-Unloader – Also for middle school students with lessons on maritime history and technology

Ice Age Imperials Guide for Educators: Lessons of the Ice Age – Full of information on Great Lakes prehistory and elementary grade levels.  Focuses on science content

Homeschool Groups, Scouts and other youth groups

All of programs are available for homeschool, summer camps, scouts, and other groups.  Please check back for scout badge programs soon!

Custom Programs

We are happy to customize a program for your group.  Please call for more information.

The Heritage Museum