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

NEW for June 2024: 
Lift Bridge Celebration
Message in a Bottle

Wish You Were Here: Postcards from the Copper County

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

Museum in the Streets

Self-guided Walking Tours of Historic Downtown Houghton:

  • Village to City: City of Houghton's Golden Anniversary 1970 - 2020. Placed along the waterfront from Kestner Park to East Houghton Park, this outdoor exhibit details the transformation of Houghton's waterfront from post-industrial wasteland to the beautiful recreational trails and parks of today. 
  • Historic Houghton Museum in the Street. Posted on lampposts along Shelden Avenue, you can view the current scene just beyond the historic photo — and observe how much, and how little, has changed. Follow the QR codes or click on our EXPLORE tab for additional information about many of Houghton's historic buildings. 
  • Historic Houghton Walking Tour. These 15 theme displays posted throughout downtown Houghton describe the change from rustic frontier village to industiral boomtown. 

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: Annual Membership Gala

APRIL 13, 2024, 6 - 8pm!
Our annual membership appreciation gala and the launch to our yearly membership drive. Admission is one basic museum membership -- $30 “Friend” level -- per adult. $60 "Patron" level admits two adults. We're serving hors d'oeuvres, wine and local beer and kombucha tastings, and a selection of desserts. New this year we will have a silent auction of "Explorations." And, live music on both floors! Avoid the line at the door -- join or renew and pay for your membership ticket now! 

Gingerbread Kits: early December 

A popular additon to our annual holiday open house.  

Holiday Open House: Saturday afternoon in early December 

Our annual holiday open house features our gingerbread village and playhouse display, live music, hot chocolate and treats - and gingerbread kit giveaway. A great family event to kick off holiday festivities. Free.

Keweenaw Natural History Lecture Series: Every third Tuesday from January 30 - April 23, 2024

2024 Series: "Rocks and Minerals of the Western UP - Why We Love Them!" begins January 30 and continues every third Tuesday through April plus a bonus third talk in April: February 20, March 12, April 2, April 9, and April 23. Join us in our community room for a talk about local natural history. We open the doors at 6:30. Talk begins at 7:00. Free. 

Music at the Museum: April through September 

Musical events from spring through late summer, with support from a grant from the Michigan Arts and Culture Council. Past events have featured local musicians Dave Bezotte and Mark Oliver, Keweenaw Brewgrass, Jaztec jazz combo,The Thimbleberry BandBob Hiltunen, Jana & Adam Meckler, Carnegie Youth Cafe, UP Story Songs and more. At-will admission fee. Check out our 2020-2021 pandemic virtual programs: Ray Lahikainen: Houghton Waterfront Paintings, But You Should Sing!, and Holiday Open House 2020

2024 Series: 
SUN, JUNE 2, 2pm - Carnegie Youth Cafe
SAT, JUNE 22, 1pm - KidJams

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. Guided walking tours are $10.00 / ticket ($8 / ticket for Members).   

Annual Exhibits

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! For the past two years, due to the pandemic, we created a virtual open house with photos from our Carnegie Gingerbread Kit giveaway. Check out this video to see what we did last year!

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 

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.

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

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