MUSKEGON HERITAGE MUSEUM
ANNE DAKE (231-730-4003)
September 11, 2018
MUSKEGON MI – The Board of Directors of the Muskegon Heritage Association announces today that they are at 95%
of the goal towards raising $1.25 million to support the programs and services of the Muskegon Heritage Museum
and allow the Museum to install a new elevator and other accessibility modifications to their three floors of exhibits
that focus on the industrial history of Muskegon County.
The Board of Directors formed a Campaign Committee in April of this year to help them organize this effort. Cochairing
the Campaign Committee are Frank Bednarek, Jan Deur, Jon Blyth, Anne Dake, and Allan Dake. An ambitious
goal was set to raise $250,000 for the installation of an elevator to all three stories of the Museum and to raise
another $1 million to add to the Heritage Museum’s endowed fund at the Community Foundation for Muskegon
County that will support the operations of the Museum into the future.
Today the campaign is close to goal with donations ranging from $25 to $250,000. The Board and the Campaign
Cabinet, with their invited guests, are gathering on Tuesday, September 11 to strategize the last phase of the effort
and to celebrate the generosity of over 200 individuals, couples, and companies from throughout Muskegon County
that have so far contributed to this effort.
Donors John and Linda Hilt are proud to have kicked off this effort with a combined lead gift from themselves, the
George and Betty Hilt Fund and the Hilt Foundation of the Community Foundation for Muskegon County: We
support the Muskegon Heritage Museum because of the long and continuing history of the Hilt and Pyle families in
Muskegon County. It provides a base for our children and seven grandchildren to better understand the community in
which our families have lived for several generations.
The Muskegon Heritage Museum, first started in 1983 by volunteers inspired by the donation of a large, stationary
steam engine from the Breneman-Hartshorn Rollershade Factory, was created by the Muskegon Heritage Association
to archive and share the rich history of Muskegon’s businesses and industries, and of the many innovative products
made in Muskegon.
Today the Heritage Museum has expanded to over 90 exhibits in more than 12,000 square feet of its historic
Western Avenue building on the businesses and industries of Muskegon, both past and present. It is currently open 3
days a week, mid-May through mid-October, and is operated completely by over 80 volunteers.
In 2017 about 3,300 visitors toured the museum. Students from elementary grades through college visit the museum
to learn about the important role industry has played in the history of Muskegon. Paul DeHorn, President of the
Heritage Association Board, talking about the Heritage Museum recently said: Introducing some of the youngest
members of our community to the rich history of Muskegon is one of the special feature of the museum that I enjoy
most. Our school groups are amazed at what life and work was like many years before their time.
The Muskegon Heritage Museum has become a critically important part of the community’s cultural mosaic by
preserving the living history of Muskegon’s economic and social development. As tourism has become an important
part of Muskegon’s economic growth, the museum is a favorite stop for visitors including over 1400 passengers from
the cruise ships.
The Muskegon Heritage Museum is currently open Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, from 11:00am to 4:00pm.
With the success of this effort, the Museum plans to expand its open hours and its outreach to the K-12 population of
Muskegon County, as well as to install an elevator and other accessibility improvements this fall.