Come check out the new sights at the museum

Published 10:30 am Monday, February 8, 2016

From the fruits and vegetables harvested from our state’s fertile soils to the fish caught in the waters of the Great Lakes that surround us, the men and women who have called Michigan home have never had to worry much about where to find something to eat.

At the recently opened “Michigan Eats” exhibit in the Dowagiac Area History Museum, people can learn just how the unique tastes of our state came to be — and how what we choose to eat has influenced more than just what sits on our dinner plate every evening.

Unveiled to the public Thursday, the traveling museum exhibit, created by Michigan State University, will be open for viewing on the second floor of the downtown museum through April 30.

On top of pictures and artifacts provided by the university, local museum Director Steve Arseneau and his team of volunteers have set out some artifacts from the museum’s extensive archives and some items donated by the community that share Dowagiac and Cass County’s culinary history. From stories about famed businesses like the Wigwam Restaurant and Caruso’s Candy & Soda Shop to tales of Burnette cooking equipment once produced in Sister Lakes, visitors are sure to discover facts about our community’s history they never knew before.

On top of the wealth of interesting sights and knowledge the new temporary exhibit offers to the community, we’re delighted by the opening of “Michigan Eats” because it shows the continual growth of the Dowagiac Area History Museum.

Relocating from its former home on the campus of Southwestern Michigan College to its new location in the former Behnke Paint shop on Railroad Street in 2013, the institution has grown by leaps and bounds in recent months. Late last year, the museum wrapped up construction work on the second floor, which now houses a new permanent exhibit focused on the history of the city of Dowagiac.

On top of that, the new floor gives the museum room for temporary exhibits like “Michigan Eats,” which offers Arseneau even more opportunities to show off the museum’s extensive collection of local historical artifacts and photos. In fact, it will give him the chance to showcase materials that haven’t, if ever, seen the public light in a long time, the director said.

In addition, the constant cycling of new exhibits will give the public an even greater incentive to come out to the museum, to learn what new stories the institution is telling.

It’s great to see that our local museum is continuing to grow, and that the energy and excitement among Arseneau, his team of volunteers and the many throughout the community that supports the museum hasn’t faded in the years following the  opening downtown.

We encourage our readers to check out “Michigan Eats” if they haven’t already, and to support our local museum however they can as the institution continues its mission to preserve and showcase our area’s rich history.


Opinions expressed are those of the editorial board consisting of Publisher Michael Caldwell and editors Ambrosia Neldon, Craig Haupert, Ted Yoakum and Scott Novak.