About Us

The Carnegie Museum of the Keweenaw is a membership based organization. We are open year-round and feature changing exhibits and programs about the region’s natural and cultural history, including interactive exhibits to engage all learners. Admission is free, though memberships and donations are gratefully accepted.

We are happy to arrange school and group visits during regular museum hours or by special appointment. Contact Museum Director, Elise Nelson, by email to make arrangements elisen@cityofhoughton.com

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Brochure 2020

Mission Statement

The Carnegie Museum of the Keweenaw connects people to the natural and cultural history of the Keweenaw Peninsula, and to science and technology. The Museum seeks to inspire people of all ages to think critically and creatively about the historical, social, natural, and artistic forces that characterize and continue to shape the region. It is the Museum’s intent to enhance the quality of life experienced by all members of its community.


Annual Memberships are the foundation of our efforts to be self-sustaining. We have two basic annual membership levels –

  • Friend ($30.00 per year)
  • Patron ($60.00 per year)

 As a 501(c)3 non-profit organization with no admission fee, our success is dependent upon annual Members and Sponsors. All members receive a 20 percent discount on all fee paid events. 


The Carnegie Museum of the Keweenaw is privileged to have many local business and family sponsors. All levels of Sponsorship will have their name on our Annual Giving Wall and on the publicity of one or more Carnegie events.


Rotary Club of Houghton, 2013


Houghton Keweenaw County Genealogical Society, 2012
UPPCO, 2011


Houghton Keweenaw County Genealogical Society, 2013, 2014, 2015
William & Nanno Rose, 2014, 2015, 2019, 2024
Peter Stubbs & Louisa Kramer, 2015
Temple Jacob, 2012
Craig Waddell & Vicky Bergvall, 2021, 2023, 2024
Walmart, 2011


Breakwater Federal Credit Union, 2014, 2015, 2018, 2019, 2024
William & Ethel Buck, 2017
C.M. Morris Group, Inc., 2013
Tom & Donna Cole, 2021
Douglass House Senior Living Apartments, 2014
Eliason Law, 2014
Hugh & Bonnie Gorman, 2015
Great Lakes Accounting, P.C., 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2024
Keweenaw Brewing Company, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2019, 2024
Keweenaw County Historical Society, 2011
Kirkish Furniture, 2014, 2015, 2018, 2019, 2024
The Library, 2014
Susan & Pat Martin, 2014, 2015
Mike Lahti Properties, 2012
Rachel & Larry Lankton, 2024
Bob Nelson, Edward Jones, 2012
William & Nanno Rose, 2017, 2018
State Wide Real Estate of Houghton, 2013, 2014, 2015 , 2016, 2017, 2019
Superior National Trust & Financial Services, 2013, 2014, 2015
Peterlin Distributing, 2015
Pisani Company, Inc., 2015, 2019, 2024
Sarazin Dental 2024
Swift True Value Hardware, 2019
U.P. Engineers & Architects, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2018, 2019, 2024
The Vault Hotel, 2019
Carol & Gary Vyncke, 2015
Wickley Agency, Inc., 2013, 2014
World of Wood, 2019, 2024

History of the Carnegie Museum

The Carnegie Museum is located in the former public library building in downtown Houghton’s historic district. Built in 1909 with a $15,000 grant from Andrew Carnegie, this two-story sandstone and brick building opened in 1910 as the public library and continued to serve area residents for almost a century. In the spring of 2006, shortly after the Portage Lake District Library moved to its new building overlooking the Portage Canal, a group of citizens interested in preserving local history – including historic buildings – proposed to the Houghton City Council a plan to achieve both ends: to create a museum in the now vacant landmark building. By the fall of that year, the group opened the “Carnegie Museum” with a display of historic photographs. In 2009, the City of Houghton purchased the building from the school district.

Now known as the “Carnegie Museum of the Keweenaw” and governed by a volunteer Board of Trustees, the Museum offers a variety of exhibits and programs of local interest throughout the year. The Houghton Keweenaw County Genealogical Society has a reading room on our ground floor. In 2012, we began a series of renovations of the building – preserving the historic aspects while adapting it for its new use as a museum. Most recently, we completed restoration of the Community Room on the ground floor level, formerly the Children’s library area. Equipped with audio/visual equipment, a small stage and seating for fifty, the Community Room is a perfect site for our public programs. It is also available for rent by local community groups. The Carnegie Museum of the Keweenaw became a Heritage Site of the Keweenaw National Historical Park in late 2013.


The Carnegie Museum of the Keweenaw is led by a part-time director, Elise Nelson, and staffed year-round by a group of volunteers. A 501(c)3 non-profit, it is governed by an all-volunteer Board of Trustees. Exhibits, programs, and renovations are supported by our annual memberships and sponsorships, donations, grants, and fundraisers. To become a member or to volunteer, please contact the Museum by email (history@cityofhoughton.com) or read more on our Get Involved page.

Current Board of Trustees

Rachel Lankton
Pasi Lautala
Robert Megowen
Susan Martin
Brita Odegard
Jonathan Robins
William Rose
Graeleigh Storer