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

    • Petticoat Patriots: How Michigan Women Won the Vote from the Michigan Women's Hall of Fame, courtesy League of Women Voters of the Copper Country.
      • Exhibit extended through April 11
    • Becoming the Pride of the Upper Peninsula on loan from the Michigan Tech Archives
      • A Glimpse at the Early Years of the Copper Range Railroad Through end April
    • Jacobsville Sandstone 
      • Natural history of the iconic red sandstone by Bill Rose
    • Wish You Were Here: Greetings from the Copper Country
      • Vintage post cards of the Copper Country from several local collections.
    • History of Brewing on the Keweenaw
    • Ray Lahikainen: Houghton Waterfront Paintings
      • A selection of six paintings of old Houghton by artist Ray Lahikainen.

    Upcoming Exhibits

    April 2020

    • Selection of artwork from Isle Royale's Artist-in-Residence Program
      • April 14 through May 21

    Summer 2020

    • Copper Country Women & National Women's Suffrage
    • WWI and the Copper Country Homefront 1917-1918
      • Learn how the people of the Copper Country supported the national war effort from the homefront

    Fall  2020

    • Torch Lake Community
      • History of mining companies and mining waste around Torch Lake including oral interviews with former residents and workers

    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 Victorian Christmas celebrations in Downtown Houghton. We have our annual gingerbread village and playhouse on display, gingerbread house decorating with Chris Alquist, 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

    We recently received a grant from the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs to produce six musical events throughout the year. This spring we will feature a reprise of Full Send jazz combo and Keweenaw Brewgrass among others. At-will admission fee.

    Carnegie Guided Tours: July through September

    Summer program of guided tours, on foot, by car, and occasionally by tour bus, including a yearly garden tour. 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 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 Exhibit

    History of the City of Houghton: The Making of Modern Houghton 1940 - 2015

    In the Spring of 2014, Dr. Carol MacLennan, Michigan Tech Professor of Social Sciences, and her Ethnographic Methods class worked with the Carnegie Museum to document the recent transformation of the City of Houghton from a mining-dependent village to its modern form. Students performed archival research, fieldwork, and conducted interviews for the project. Though no longer on display at the museum, this work is the basis for a permanent exhibit we are planning about the history of the city we call home.

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