Exhibits and Events

The Carnegie Museum of the Keweenaw features changing exhibits about local cultural and natural history. We also host a variety of events throughout the year including several annual exhibits, events, and recurring programs. Many of our exhibits and events include hands-on activities providing an excellent destination for people of all ages.

Current Exhibits

The Making of Modern Houghton: 1940-2015

Becoming the Pride of the Upper Peninsula: A Glimpse at the Early Years of the Copper Range Railroad

  • On loan from the Michigan Tech Archives

Written in Stone: Exploring the Natural History of the Jacobsville Sandstone

Ray Lahikainen Houghton Waterfront Paintings

Beer UP: History of Brewing in the Keweenaw 1844-2014

Current Exhibits Available Online

Virtual Program Videos available online

Community Events and Programs

Our historic building was opened in 1910 as the Houghton Public Library in order to provide a place for the community to gather and learn. In this same tradition, in addition to hosting our own programs, we maintain a public space for interesting lectures and fun events. Our Community Room, originally a "Lecture Room" and most recently the children's library, has a small stage, audio / video presentation equipment, and seating for 50 people. If you have a program you would like to share with our community and visitors, please contact Museum Director, Elise Nelson, by email to make arrangements.

Annual Events and Programs

Night at the Museum: October

Our annual membership appreciation gala and the launch to our yearly membership drive. Traditionally held in October, admission is one basic museum membership -- $30 “Friend” level -- per adult. $60 "Patron" level admits two adults. We serve local brats, pretzels, wine and beer tastings, hors d'oeuvres, a selection of desserts and non-stop live MUSIC ON BOTH FLOORS!

Holiday Open House: Saturday afternoon in Early December

We partner with the City of Houghton to present a Holiday Open House along with the holiday celebrations in Downtown Houghton. We have our annual gingerbread village and playhouse on display, gingerbread house decorating, pictures with Santa, a string quartet, hot chocolate and treats. This is a great family event to kick off holiday festivities. Free.

Keweenaw Natural History Lecture Series: September through April

Mostly-monthly talks about local natural history. Held in our community room, usually on the third Tuesday of the month from October through April, excluding December. We open the doors at 6:30. Talk begins at 7:00. Free.

Music at the Museum: December through September

Musical events throughout the year, with support from a grant from the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs. Past events have featured local musicians Dave Bezotte and Mark Oliver, Full Send  jazz combo, The Thimbleberry BandBob Hiltunen, and more. At-will admission fee. Due to the pandemic, our 2020-2021 programs became virtual programs: Ray Lahikainen: Houghton Waterfront Paintings, But You Should Sing!, and Holiday Open House 2020. We are planning live, outdoor events for 2022!

Carnegie Guided Tours: July through September

Summer program of guided tours, on foot, by car, and occasionally by tour bus. Past tours have traced the Isle Royale Mine company, explored the Quincy Mine facilities, learned about downtown Houghton's unique sandstone architecture, toured Temple Jacob and a College Avenue sorority. Tour bus tours are $25.00 / ticket ($20 / ticket for Members). All other tours are $10.00 / ticket ($8 / ticket for Members).   

Annual Exhibits

Gingerbread Kits 2021: Early December

Due to the pandemic, we will not be hosting our annual open house, BUT, we will again offer Carnegie Gingerbread Kits to make at home. More information coming soon. Check out this video to see what we did last year!

Gingerbread Extravaganza: Early December

Each holiday season we set up a playhouse covered with fanciful designs made of candy and a village of buildings covered in sweets. You'll see many local icons such as the Lift Bridge, Quincy Mine Shaft, the Houghton County Courthouse, the Dee Stadium, and, of course, the Carnegie Museum covered with colorful candies! 

Award Winning Science Projects from The Western UP Science Fair: April

Each spring we celebrate local student scientists by exhibiting their award winning posters from the annual Western UP Science Fair. 

Michigan History Day Regional Finalists: May

In May, we celebrate the accomplishments of local high school historians by exhibiting their History Day projects including exhibits, web-sites and documentaries. 

Future Exhibits (What we're working on for post-COVID!)

Celebrating the Golden Anniversary of the City of Houghton

  • The Village of Houghton (1861) was incorporated as the City of Houghton in 1970. 

WWI and the Copper Country Homefront 1917-1918 

  • Learn how the people of the Copper Country supported the national war effort from the homefront.

Torch Lake Community

  • History of mining companies and mining waste around Torch Lake.

Self-guided Walking Tours of Historic Downtown Houghton

  • We are developing several self-guided walking tours throughout historic downtown Houghton. 

Selection of artwork from Isle Royale's Artist-in-Residence Program

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