Museums & Historical Sites
TAKE A HISTORIC TOUR AROUND THE WESTERN UPPER PENINSULA OF MICHIGAN
The Bergland/Matchwood Museum & Heritage Center
Hwy M28, Bergland, MI 49910
On August 1st, 2009 the Bergland/Matchwood Historical Society opened the doors of their Museum. It was a long time coming, for 34 years the Historical Society was in search of a suitable building. In April of 2009, with the help of the Bergland Heritage and Cultural Center and the Ottawa National Forest, they came up with a solution. In 2002 the Heritage and Cultural friends had opened a Visitor Center in the office of the old Bergland Ranger Station (located immediately to west of Bergland). The Ottawa National Forest offered the use of the Ranger house to the Historical Society for their long awaited Museum. This agreement was a 4-win situation.
The Ottawa National Forest, the Heritage Center and the Historical Society all work together serving the Public. The people of Bergland and Matchwood townships, along with the passing public, are the big winners. The Museum was open only 7 short weeks before it had to close for the season. Each room is dedicated to certain themes. The Main room is for our Founder Gunlik Bergland and his family, old personal items, furniture, etc. It also highlights the logging era that Bergland was built on. One room has been turned into a Schoolroom. The class pictures adorn the walls, with the old desk that belonged to 2 icons, Myrtle Haskins and Agnes Latvala, our two secretaries who actually run the school! The school yearbooks as well as copies of the school paper, some old school books all fill the large bookcase. Old office equipment that the secretaries used, are also on display for public viewing.
One upstairs room is dedicated to the copper mining along the Old Norwich trail. These artifacts were the property of Reggie McDonald, a noted local historian. Along with the mining artifacts are old farm tools and equipment and some photos of farms long past.
The other room upstairs has been set up for the Bergland and Matchwood area sports. Bergland had a fierce rivalry with neighboring towns. This rivalry was a sports rivalry only as most residents had family in the other towns. Besides, we conducted some of our daily business in those towns. Old uniforms will be on display, including a WWI Army jacket.
The Historical Society has restored Bergland’s first fire fighting apparatus, a hand drawn pumper wagon. They are also have set up 2 jail cells in the basement using Bergland’s original jail doors. Artifacts keep coming in!
So take some time to step back into the History of our little town and bring your children. Set and look through the photo albums of the old town and some of its families. The coffee is always hot. The gift shop sports T-shirts, local crafts and books by local authors. Oh yeah, it doesn’t take much to get the volunteers who are working that day to tell you some tales of old. Tours available upon request.
Area information, a walking trail, native plant garden and picnic tables are available. Each year the “Friends” group host a community event, showcasing area history, flora and fauna, recreation opportunities and local artisans.
The Heritage and Cultural Center is open Wednesdays and Fridays from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. The Museum is open Thursdays & Fridays 11 to 3 and Saturday noon to 5 p.m. The season starts Memorial Day and closes the end of September. We look forward to serving you.
Ironwood Area Historical Museum, Depot Park
150 Lowell St.
Ironwood, MI 49938
A turn of the century, Chicago Northwestern Railroad depot, now houses the Ironwood Area Historical Society’s Old Depot Park Museum.
Constructed of brownstone in 1892 for the Milwaukee Lake Shore and Western Railway, then later sold to the city of Ironwood after the tracks were abandoned several years ago. The Society now leases the building from the city of Ironwood.
The Ironwood Area Historical Society has restored the building as well as maintaining historical exhibits of local history. Since Iron mining has ceased on the Gogebic Range, much of the information and displays pertain to the industry.
Space is also provided for artifacts of railroads that once ran through the area. Local cultural exhibits also preserve other local historical items. The IAHS also has a research center for historical and genealogical searches.
Each summer in mid July, the depot is the site of Festival Ironwood. The weekend events include music, crafts, a car show, walk/runs, food booths, all on the ground and under a large big top tent and two smaller ones for dancing and other programs.
The IAHS was organized in 1970. The volunteer non-profit organization is a member of the Michigan Historical Society. The museum is dedicated to live on the Gogebic Range and is open from Memorial Day through Labor Day, open daily from 12 – 4 p.m. The Ironwood Chamber is located in the Depot, and open year-round from 7am-2pm (ct) Monday thru Friday. Stop by, see the Museum and pick up Chamber maps and area brochures.
Wakefield Historical Society
306 Sunday Lake Street, (PO Box 1)
Wakefield, MI 49968
Turn of the century exhibits of life when mining and logging were the backbone of the area’s economy! Industry, church, school, home and people are featured. Open late June-early September, Tuesday-Saturday, 1-4pm (ct)
The Historic Ironwood Theater
109 East Aurora Street
Historic Ironwood Theater, was built as a vaudeville/silent movie house in 1928 at a cost of $160,000 (equivalent of about $2 million today). 1986 was the beginning of an extensive renovation program ongoing for 10 years. Some unique renovations include restoration of the ceiling Proscenium mural and wall and beam decorations as well as the “Grand Old Lady”, the Barton Organ. Its one of only 6 remaining operable original installations, completely intact as it was on opening night, June 1928 and is regularly used for concert performances. The regional performing arts center, offers a wide array of local and national entertainment through out the year. Whether it is the Duluth Superior Symphony Orchestra, ragtime pianist, a steel-drum bank or in-house acting performances.
825 N. Lake Road
Ironwood, MI 49938
Theater North features performances by the theater’s in-house group and also sponsors children’s theater workshops and productions.
Ontonagon County Historical Museum
422 River Street
Ontonagon, MI 49953
Regarded as one of the best small town museums in the U.P., the facility is located in the heart of historic Ontonagon’s downtown. The museum is completely handicapped accessible and houses displays outlining the development of the region in mining, logging, agriculture and industry, with special emphasis on Ontonagon’s maritime history. There are also displays of minerals, local archeological finds, firearms and weapons, and hundreds of antiques. County records, area newspapers dating from 1856, and other research resources are available as well as genealogical research assistance. There are treasure hunts for young people. A well-stocked gift shop featuring books on area history, imported glassware, and other items of regional interest is a part of the museum complex. Open 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. (ET), Monday-Saturday. Winter hours: Jan.-April, Fri & Sat, 11-4pm (et).
Tours of the 1866 Ontonagon Harbor Lighthouse start at the museum three times daily during the summer.
Rockland Historical Museum
40 National Ave (US-45)
Rockland, MI 49960
The Rockland Historical Museum displays mining and farming equipment, stone hammers from ancient copper mining pits, a scale model of the historic Rockland depot, a section of the Victoria Dam wooden pipeline, the story of Michigan’s first telephone system which started in Rockland, and furnished kitchen, dining room, parlor, and bedroom settings. Historic pictures of mines, Victoria Dam, the town’s buildings including the Jeffs Hotel and the Church on the Hill, once a landmark for ships on Lake Superior, are all found in this community-owned and operated museum. Open 11:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. (ET), Memorial Day thru October or by appointment.