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Ypsilanti Heritage Festival

Ypsilanti Heritage Festival image Ypsilanti Heritage Festival image
Author
Norma Jean Anderson
Rights Held By
Ypsilanti Historical Society
OCR Text

PROFESSOR EMERITA ANDERSON PRESERVES YPSILANTI'S HERITAGE WITH LOCAL MUSEUM

FOR A JOURNEY BACK TO YPSILANTI DURING THE 19TH CENTURY VISIT THE YPSILANTI HISTORICAL MUSEUM AND ARCHIVES.

OWNED BY THE CITY OF YPSILANTI AND OPERATED BY THE YPSILANTI HISTORICAL SOCIETY, AS A NON-PROFIT VOLUNTEER ORGANIZATION, IT WAS FOUNDED IN 1970 WHEN THE HOUSE AT 220 N. HURON STREET WAS OFFERED TO THE SOCIETY FOR USE AS A MUSEUM BY THE CITY.

NORMAJEAN ANDERSON, EMU EMERITA ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR OF ADMINISTRATIVE BUSINESS SERVICES AND BUSINESS EDUCATION, SAID SHE
BELIEVES THE MUSEUM IS “A GEM THAT IS NOT RECOGNIZED ENOUGH” BY THE
EMU COMMUNITY. “EMU MAKES UP A GOOD PART OF THE CITY OF YPSILANTI”,
SHE SAID. “THERE IS A MUSEUM RIGHT ON ITS DOORSTEP THAT IS ALWAYS
AVAILABLE”.

ANDERSON, WHO CONSIDERS HERSELF A “LEARNING BUG”, WAS AN EMU FACULTY MEMBER FROM 1948 TO 1979. SHE HAS BEEN A DOCENT, OR INFORMED GUIDE, AT THE MUSEUM FOR NEARLY 15 YEARS. SHE SAID A NUMBER OF RETIRED PROFESSORS NOW VOLUNTEER THEIR TIME IN THIS MANNER.

“I ENJOY WORKING AT THE MUSEUM”, SHE SAID. “I'M VERY HAPPY WHEN THE PEOPLE I SHOW AROUND ARE GRATEFUL FOR GETTING SO MUCH FOR NOTHING.”

THE HOUSE THAT IS NOW THE MUSEUM WAS BUILT IN 1860, AND WAS OWNED AND OPERATED BY THREE PROMINENT FAMILIES DURING THE FIRST HALF OF THE 1800'S. THE ORIGINAL OWNER WAS ASA DOW, A BUSINESS MAN FROM CHICAGO WHO WAS ELECTED PRESIDENT OF FIRST NATIONAL BANK OF YPSILANTI IN 1863.

SEVERAL ROOMS IN THE HOUSE HAVE BEEN FURNISHED TO REPRESENT HOMES OF THE VICTORIAN PERIOD. IN EACH OF THESE, A BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE FURNISHINGS AND A LIST OF DONORS CAN BE FOUND. IN OTHER AREAS OF THE MUSEUM, LOCAL HISTORICAL DISPLAYS, SPECIAL EXHIBITIONS AND COLLECTIONS ARE SHOWCASED. THE EXHIBITS GRADUALLY WILL BE EXPANDED AS NEW CONTRIBUTIONS ARE ACQUIRED.

THE MUSEUM IS HOME TO MANY ANTIQUES AND RARE FURNISHING, INCLUDING A STAINED GLASS WINDOW, A WOODEN SECRETARY WITH DOORS OF HAND MADE GLASS, A STAIRCASE MADE OF RARE BUTTERNUT WOOD AND AN YPSILANTI CITY CLERK'S DESK THAT WAS USED IN 1865.

PEOPLE ARE AMAZED AT WHAT WE HAVE,” SAID ANDERSON. OTHER ATTRACTIONS INCLUDE MANNEQUINS DRESSED IN COSTUMES OF THE ERA, SERVANT'S QUARTERS, A CHILDREN'S PLAYROOM AND, ACCORDING TO ANDERSON, “ONE OF THE BEST REPRESENTATIONS OF NATIVE AMERICAN LIFE AROUND.”

THE ARCHIVES, WHICH ANDERSON REFERS TO AS “A RICH SOURCE OF INFORMATION,” HOLD AN EXTENSIVE COLLECTION OF LETTERS, BOOKS, NEWSPAPERS, PHOTOGRAPHS, MAPS, ATLASES, CITY DIRECTORIES, OBITUARIES, AND OTHER RECORDS. TED LIGIBEL, EMU ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR OF GEOGRAPHY, HAS INCORPORATED USE OF THE ARCHIVES INTO A PROJECT IN WHICH HIS STUDENTS ARE ASSIGNED THREE OR FOUR HOUSES TO RESEARCH IN THE NORMAL PARK AREA OF YPSILANTI.

ANDERSON SAID SHE WOULD LIKE TO SEE MORE EMU FACULTY, STAFF AND STUDENTS MAKE USE OF THE RESOURCES AVAILABLE AT THE MUSEUM AND ARCHIVES. THE HISTORY OF YPSILANTI, SHE SAYS, IS RELATED TO THE UNIVERSITY IN MANY WAYS.

“WE'VE HAD BUS-LOADS OF PEOPLE FROM OTHER CITIES AND STATES VISIT THE MUSEUM. THEY'RE TAKING ADVANTAGE OF SOMETHING THAT THE LOCALS ARE NOT. I THINK IT WOULD BE WONDERFUL IF EVERYONE WOULD FIND THE TIME TO SEE IT.”

ADMISSION TO THE YPSILANTI HISTORICAL MUSEUM AND ARCHIVES IS FREE. TAX DEDUCTIBLE CONTRIBUTIONS SOLICITED FOR OPERATION, MAINTENANCE
AND ENDOWMENT ARE WELCOME. YPSILANTI HISTORICAL SOCIETY MEMBERSHIP
APPLICATIONS ARE AVAILABLE AT THE MUSEUM OFFICE.

THE MUSEUM IS OPEN THURSDAY, SATURDAY AND SUNDAY, FROM 2 TO 4 P.M., WITH GROUP TOURS AVAILABLE BY APPOINTMENT. THE ARCHIVES ARE OPEN MONDAY THROUGH FRIDAY, FROM 9 A.M. TO NOON.

FOR MORE INFORMATION, CALL THE MUSEUM OFFICE AT 482-4990. TO SCHEDULE A GUIDED TOUR, CALL 483-2929.

WE ARE GRATEFUL TO MISS NORMAJEAN ANDERSON FOR SUBMITTING THE MATERIAL TO THE EMU FOCUS, A WEEKLY PUBLICATION OF THE UNIVERSITY.