Our history

Michigan's Military Heritage Museum

In May of 1861, just after the shelling of Fort Sumter, President Abraham Lincoln called for troops to protect Washington D.C. situated between the border and arguably pro-southern state of Maryland, and Virginia. When the first troops arrived President Lincoln was heard to exclaim “Thank God for Michigan!” For four more bloody years our troops would fight to preserve the union, even capturing confederate President Jefferson Davis. That story and many more are why we have created Michigan's Military Heritage Museum.

From the earliest settlements at Sault Ste. Marie and Detroit, our state was garrisoned by troops from France, England and even Spain. Forts were built, ships sailed the Great Lakes and battles were fought. Later on, the call to preserve the union was answered, then General Custer, with roots in Monroe, set off to fight in the Indian Wars. All of the Michigan National Guard was called upon to serve in the Spanish-American War, then more Forts as WWI-WWII approached. We became the “arsenal of democracy” producing more then 1/3 of all war material in WWII. This was followed by Korea, Vietnam, Grenada, Panama, Desert Storm, OEF/OIF and throughout, the Cold War.

Our mission is to tell the stories of our State's service members through interpretive displays of artifacts, pictures, and written and oral histories. Michigan currently has two aviation museums, and a museum dedicated to Medal of Honor Recipients and Astronauts, but nothing for the average service member who sacrificed and endured so much for our freedoms. We will be that institution.

We chose Grass Lake as it housed more than 1000 German prisoners in WWII at Camp Waterloo. It is centrally located on the I-94 Chicago-Detroit corridor which in and of itself began as a military highway connecting Willow Run with Detroit in WWII. Michigan, as one of the new world’s oldest settlements, has a vast history, the stories are extraordinary, and sacrifices innumerable. Please take time to visit and support this effort so that those deeds will not be forgotten.

On November 4, 2016, our new museum was opened with a community preview. We now are open for visitors weekly on Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday from 11:00 to 5:00. Our location at 153 N. Union Street is convenient for all coming into the Village of Grass Lake from exit 150 on I-94. Coming south on Mt. Hope Road, you will see the new museum at the first drive on the left (east) after crossing the railroad tracks.

During 2018, the museum was the headquarters for Michigan's World War 1 Centennial. During 2019 & 20 we are participating in the 75th Anniversary of the end of World War 2. We will be hosting events and displays for your education and enjoyment.

We look forward to welcoming you!

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