SAUGATUCK, Mich. (WOOD) — A site in Saugatuck with a lot of history is home to a museum with a beautiful view.
The History Museum at 735 Park St. near Oval Beach was the first site the Saugatuck-Douglas History Center occupied. It opened in 1995. It was originally home to the first water pumping station in Saugatuck, which began operation in 1905.
“We’ve done exhibits there for almost 35 years, history exhibits in this historic building,” Eric Gollannek, executive director, said.
The current exhibit is titled The Lure of Mount Baldhead and it tells the story of a famous dune between Saugatuck and Lake Michigan.
“(The exhibit covers) its geological history, its Indigenous history right through to the 20th century to the Cold War radar station that is on top of the dune,” Gollannek said.
Some of the radar equipment is on display for visitors to explore. Visitors have the option to take the 300-step hike to the top of the dune to explore or stay at the base to view the river.
“They can come into the museum and get a chance to see that view and learn that history of what’s at the top of that dune and what they can see from there,” Gollannek said.
Inside the museum, visitors can also see a 4-foot-tall panoramic photo of the view from the top of the dune.
“There’s a platform that people can climb and (it) sort of simulates the experience of climbing Mount Baldhead and the view that you would have from up there,” Gollannek explained.
The museum is anticipating that the exhibit will remain on display for the next few years.
Visitors can also explore a few historic boats on display. One of the boats was available for rent in the early 20th century so visitors could row on the Kalamazoo River. Another is a 19th-century Native American dugout canoe.
Outside of the building, visitors can see the gardens that have been maintained by volunteers for over 30 years.
“It’s just a beautiful space to be able to relax and look out onto the Kalamazoo River and watch the boats go by,” Gollannek said.
There are also informational signs set up throughout the walkway leading to the museum and the riverside.
In the summer, the museum is open Thursday through Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. In September and October, the museum is open Saturday and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. There is no admission fee.
Gollannek said the museum is “really a summer and fall site” and closes for the winter, reopening on Memorial Day. Options to tour the museum during the off-season are possible. Anyone interested in scheduling a tour is asked to contact, email@example.com. For more information, visit The History Museum’s website.