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Historical Attractions in Southeast Michigan

Travel back in time at these cool, kid-friendly places in Macomb, Oakland, Washtenaw and Wayne counties – great for family fun. Updated for 2013-14.

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Plymouth Historical Museum

  • Address: 155 S. Main St., Plymouth
  • Phone: 734-455-8940
  • Hours: 1-4 p.m. Wednesday and Friday-Sunday; closed Monday-Tuesday, Thursday, major holidays and in between exhibits
  • Admission: $5/adults, $2/ages 6-17, free/under 6

Be sure to scope out the impressive Lincoln exhibit that includes artifacts from Lincoln's youth, rare family photographs, handwritten legal documents and law books. There's also a timeline of Plymouth history tracing the city's history and a great walk-through 19th-century Victorian recreation of Main Street. Temporary exhibits frequently appear, as well.

PuppetART Museum

  • Address: 25 E. Grand River Blvd., Detroit
  • Phone: 313-961-7777
  • Hours: museum: noon-3 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday; performances: 2-3 p.m. Saturdays, 10 p.m. every third Thursday
  • Admission: performances: $5/kids, $10/adults; museum: free

The museum offers a variety of puppets from different cultures, rotating puppetry exhibitions and a library of books and videos on puppetry. Check out one of their performances, too, plus get a tour of the museum (if you show up a bit early) and a workshop in the studio (after the show).

Rentschler Farm

  • Address: 1265 E. Michigan Ave., Saline
  • Phone: 734-944-0442
  • Hours: tours: 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday and by appointment, May-December
  • Admission: free/Saturday admission is for individuals and families; fees/groups and special reservations

This family farm museum is now a stop on the National Passport Stamp Program! See for yourself why this 1906-built frame house and surrounding grounds are such Washtenaw County jewels. Check out the 10 barns here, too, for a taste of American farm life in the earlier 20th century.

Rochester Hills Museum at Van Hoosen Farm

  • Address: 1005 Van Hoosen Road, Rochester Hills
  • Phone: 248-656-4663
  • Hours: 1-4 p.m. Friday-Saturday, closed January-February; other times by appointment
  • Admission: $5/adults, $3/students in K-12 and seniors, fees vary/events

Our Lively Town delves into the area's history in a 1927 dairy barn, complete with a model train traveling a small replica of downtown Rochester. There are plenty of archival photographs and, during normal open hours, visitors can take a guided tour through the 1940 Van Hoosen Farmhouse.

Saline Depot Museum

  • Address: 402 N. Ann Arbor St., Saline
  • Phone: 734-944-0442
  • Hours: 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday year-round, or by appointment
  • Admission: free/Saturday for individuals and families, fees/groups, special reservations.

Without its railroad depot, Saline may not have prospered as a town. In its heyday, the complex included more structures, but today visitors can see the station agent's room, freight room, furnished caboose and livery barn along with a restored Eclipse Windmill.

Shalom Street

  • Address: D. Dan and Betty Kahn Building, Jewish Community Center, 6600 W. Maple Road, West Bloomfield
  • Phone: 877-742-5663
  • Hours: 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday; closed Friday-Saturday
  • Admission: free

Dramatic programming accompanies 30 exhibits at this interactive learning playground for kids, covering a 4,500-square-foot space. It often hosts new creative exhibits and kids workshops (call for current details) honoring Jewish traditions.

The Heritage & History Center

  • Address: Heritage Park, 24725 Farmington Road, Farmington Hills
  • Phone: 248-701-8112
  • Hours: 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday
  • Admission: free; donations welcome

At home in the Palmer Sherman house, this cozy history nook features themed displays, archives and more that preserve the stories of Farmington and Farmington Hills.

Toy Museum at the Chelsea Teddy Bear Co.

  • Address: 400 N. Main St., Chelsea
  • Phone: 734-433-5499
  • Hours: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Saturday, noon-5 p.m. Sunday; tours: 11 a.m. and 1 and 3 p.m. Saturdays; weekdays and groups of 10-plus, by appointment
  • Admission: free

Did you know Richard Steiff, inventor of the teddy bear, lived in Jackson, Mich.? Learn more about this iconic pal – and trace toys' evolution from wood to tin to plush – at this unique spot, including original prototypes. Don't miss the factory tour just minutes away to take home a modern-day teddy bear.

Troy Museum & Historic Village

  • Address: 60 W. Wattles Road, Troy
  • Phone: 248-524-3570
  • Hours: 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday-Friday
  • Admission: $5/adults, $3/ages 6-12 or seniors, free/under 6, fees vary/special programs

The charming village green is open all year round! Beyond the 10 historic buildings with 19th and 20th century originals, be sure to explore some hands-on activities at the Town Hall.

Ukrainian American Archives and Museum of Detroit

  • Address: 11756 Charest St., Hamtramck
  • Phone: 313-366-9764
  • Hours: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday-Friday or by appointment
  • Admission: $3/general, $1/students

The heritage of Ukrainian Americans is preserved through the arts, crafts, musical instruments, photos and textiles at this cultural center, which also houses 20,000 books. Look for special exhibits during the holidays.

University of Michigan Museum of Art

  • Address: 525 S. State St., Ann Arbor
  • Phone: 734-764-0395
  • Hours: 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday, noon-5 p.m. Sunday; closed Monday and holidays
  • Admission: $5/suggested donation

More than 18,000 artworks are on display in this 150-year collection that spans cultures, media and eras. Look for the works of James McNeill Whistler, Pablo Picasso, Claude Money and Joshua Reynolds when you're here. Popular kids' story times are known to pop up, too!

Witch's Hat Depot Museum and Historic Village

  • Address: 300 Dorothy St., South Lyon
  • Phone: 248-437-9929
  • Hours: 1-4 p.m. Thursday and Sunday; varies for special events; tours by arrangement
  • Admission: free

This historic village is nestled in McHattie Park, featuring six buildings of turn-of-the-century vintage. Explore a decked-out 1926 caboose, 1930s-era chapel and one-room Washburn School, circa 1907.

Wolcott Mill Metropark Historic Center

  • Address: 64162 Kunstman Road, Ray Township
  • Phone: 586-749-5997
  • Hours: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday-Sunday
  • Admission: fees vary/programs, $5/daily vehicle entry fee to the Huron-Clinton Metropark

Ever visited an 1840s mill? The one ground grains until about 44 years ago. Take a look at the relics over at the barn museum, including a restored Model T dump truck, before you explore the adjoining working farm and hiking trail at this spot that's on the National Register of Historic Places.

Yankee Air Museum

  • Address: 47884 D St., Belleville
  • Phone: 734-483-4030
  • Hours: 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday; call in advance to confirm
  • Admission: $5/ages 16-plus, $8/families (two adults and kids under 18), $3/students, free/kids under 16 with adult

See historic planes that have flown around the world up-close and in action at the Yankee Air Museum. Even book your own ride on one (scheduling, fees apply).

Ypsilanti Automotive Heritage Museum

  • Address: 100 E. Cross St., Ypsilanti
  • Phone: 734-482-5200
  • Hours: 1-4 p.m. Tuesday-Sunday, closed Monday
  • Admission: $5/adults, free/ages 12 and under with adult

This collection boasts 30 vintage automobiles, including a 1933 Hudson Terraplane, a 1952 Hudson Hornet and a 1954 Hudson Jetliner Convertible. See other classic car-related artifacts like a Huffy Corvair bike, too.

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