Historical Society is now charging fees at museum
Dan Sanderson | Staff Writer
We’re trying to cover our day-to-day expenses. Donations are way down. We felt that this would be one avenue to bring in some revenue." – Carl Yost, Vice President of the Crawford County Historical Society Board of Directors
Faced with a challenge of keeping up with expenses, the Crawford County Historical Society was forced implement admission fees in order to pay the bills.
The admission fees to tour the buildings and grounds at the Crawford County Museum, located at 97 E. Michigan Avenue, were recently put in place.
The fees are $2 for adults and $1 for children age 5 through 17. Kids are under 5 are free. A family pass can be purchased for $5.
“We’re trying to cover our day-to-day expenses,” said Carl Yost, vice president of the Crawford County Historical Society Board of Directors. “Donations are way down.”
Donations and memberships are the only means of revenue used to support and operate the museum, which was a former train depot built in 1882.
Earlier this year, museum volunteers replaced the fluorescent 40-watt tube lights with modern 13-watt LED lights to save money.
Plans are also in place to upgrade the heating electrical system.
“It’s just an ongoing process,” Yost said. “We prioritize what is needed first and we work on that.”
Yost said historical society members have visited other museums, and noticed that those organizations charge admission fees.
“We felt that this would be one avenue to bring in some revenue,” Yost said.
Yost said the board has been considering adding an admission fee over the last year.
“We have expenses just like everyone else, and they keep going up,” he said.
Yet this year, vinyl siding will be placed on the museum Military Annex Building.
Built in the early 1880s, the building was sold to Grayling Charter Township for use as a township hall in 1883. The township hall was located at Ottawa Street and Ogemaw Street. When the Grayling Middle School, which was the Grayling High School at the time, sought to expand, the township entered into a property trade with the school district. The building was eventually moved to the Grayling City Park and was dedicated in 1974 as the first museum after the Crawford County Historical Society was founded.
The historical society raised money to purchase the siding, and labor to place the siding on the building will be provided by troops from Camp Grayling.
“We’re very excited about this project,” Yost said.
Different areas of the building highlight veterans and showcase photographs and artifacts from the Civil War, World War I, World War II and Korea, Vietnam, the modern era, as well as a spot for Camp Grayling and the National Guard.
“It’s surprising of the number of people that come to the museum that are from out of town that don’t have a clue about how the military reservation was brought about,” Yost said.
Visitors can learn more about the history of Crawford County and the people who helped develop the community in the main museum building and other buildings on the museum grounds.
“It is truly amazing the amount of information that we have there at the museum,” Yost said.
The historical society is seeking more volunteers to help support and operate the museum, which is open from noon to 4 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday. Appointments and tours cans also be arranged by calling the museum at (989) 348-4461.