Upcoming Exhibits

Fatal Crossing:

The Mysterious Disappearance of NWA Flight 2501 and the Quest for Answers

Opening November 1, 2021

Travel back to 1950 when Northwest Airlines Flight 2501, a DC-4, mysteriously disappeared in the waters off St. Joseph, Michigan, with all 58 souls on board: America’s worst aviation disaster at the time. “Meet” the individuals lost, see some of the actual items recovered from Lake Michigan by the Navy and Coast Guard, and ponder the  mystery of its loss. This exhibit is based on the award-winning book Fatal Crossing by Michigan historian and exhibit designer, Valerie van Heest, and as seen on the television show “Expedition Unknown.”

Thursday, November 18, 2021

Author Valerie van Heest

Author Valerie van Heest will discuss her book, Fatal Crossing: Mysterious Disappearance of NWA Flight 2501 and the Quest for Answers. On June 23, 1950, Northwest Airlines Flight 2501, a DC-4 with 58 souls on board, disappeared over Lake Michigan. Human remains washing up on the beaches of West Michigan served as evidence of the country’s worst commercial aviation disaster, but the wreck was never located. Over a half century later, nationally acclaimed author and explorer Clive Cussler of the National Underwater Marine Agency teamed up with Valerie Van Heest of the Michigan Shipwreck Research Association to attempt to find the submerges wreck and solve the mystery of the plane’s disappearance.

Valerie van Heest is an award-winning author, documentary filmmaker, underwater explorer, and a member of the Women’s Divers Hall of Fame and has been featured guest on the History and Travel channels. She has been honored for her work preserving and promoting Michigan’s maritime history. Books will be available for purchase after the presentation.

The Heritage Board of Directors Announce
Permanent Exhibit Planning Begins

The Heritage Museum and Cultural Center Board of Directors have commenced planning for the first part of a new permanent exhibit about the history of the St. Joseph/Benton Harbor area.
The exhibit will be installed in phases and is projected to occupy the entire second floor of the museum. It will contain artifacts, historical photographs, maps and digital displays that will enable it to be updated and kept fresh over the years. It is anticipated that it will become an important historical resource for children and adults to learn about the area in which they live and how it developed over the centuries.
Areas of interest will include the economy, immigrant groups, urban development, tourism, agriculture, transportation, social groups, everyday life and important local residents. Responsibility for overseeing the planning process is The Heritage History Committee, chaired by Stephen Byrns.