Archived Story

New Dowagiac museum opens May 13

Published 5:37pm Thursday, April 25, 2013

As part of the 22nd annual Dogwood Fine Arts Festival, southwestern Michigan will celebrate the grand opening of Dowagiac Area History Museum.
Museum visitors will explore two floors of exhibits featuring incredible artifacts and stories that will illuminate the diverse, far-reaching history of Dowagiac and surrounding communities.
The museum is a collaboration between the City of Dowagiac and Southwestern Michigan College. After the amazing nine-month transformation of the former Behnke Paint Store, the City of Dowagiac will officially open Dowagiac Area History Museum on Monday, May 13, at 201 E. Division St.
Pre-program entertainment  will begin at 7 p.m. with music from Jonathan Korzun’s Round Oak Cornet Band, which will perform authentic mid-late19th century band music on authentic 19th century instruments.
After words from local dignitaries, the building will be dedicated by Timothy Chester, board president of the Michigan Humanities Council and former director of the Public Museum of Grand Rapids. Chester was the director who led the creation of the Van Andel Museum Center and has consulted museums across the Midwest. The open house, refreshments and tours follow the program.
The museum, formerly housed at SMC, is moving its exhibits to the new facility under the auspices of the City of Dowagiac with financial support from both SMC and the city. The new museum has full access to the local history collection acquired by SMC since 1967. What will you find at Dowagiac Area History Museum? There will be exhibits featuring one-of-a-kind artifacts, fun interactive components for kids (and adults) and amazing stories.
The ground floor exhibit will be “Industrial Dowagiac” and feature the 1908 Dowagiac-made Lindsley Automobile; Dowagiac Manufacturing Co.; Furnace City; and the Round Oak Stove Co.
The basement will include exhibits on the Potawatomi; the Underground Railroad in Cass County; early settlers; and “Small Town, Big World: Locals Who Made History,” which highlights local residents who impacted the world, such as Capt. Iven Kincheloe, Olympic medalist Chris Taylor and journalist Webb Miller.
This historic event is free and open to the public. Special festival-week hours continue all week: Tuesday, 10-5; Wednesday, 10-7; Thursday, 10-7; Friday, 10-5; and Saturday, 10-5. For more information about this and other Dogwood Festival events call (269) 782-1115, (866) 490-2847 or visit

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