Special Exhibits

Current Special Exhibits

  • Kalamazoo A – Z

    April 28 - October 21, 2018

    Dive into some of the KVM’s rarely-seen collections as the story of Kalamazoo unfolds one letter at a time. Kalamazoo A – Z features artifacts and images from the Museum's permanent collection, most of which have never been exhibited. Visitors will have a chance to explore a thought-provoking array of objects—from advertisements to Zoa Phora products. It is not often that a bassinet is exhibited next to a cash register—this emphasis on material culture presents a unique opportunity to experience Kalamazoo's history.

    Material culture refers to the physical objects that people use to define their culture. Museums often use this approach to tell stories and explore the relationship between people and the objects they create. The KVM’s original collection dates from an 1881 donation of rocks and fossil specimens accepted by the Kalamazoo Board of Education as “the beginning of a new museum.” Since then, the collections have grown to approximately 55,000 artifacts, documents, and images. Like most museums, the KVM has only a fraction of its collection on display at any given time. The goal of Kalamazoo A – Z is to bring out rarely-seen parts of the collection to demonstrate the depth and complexity of the experiences of those who have lived here.


  • Frank Lloyd Wright
    Architecture of the Interior

    September 8 - December 9, 2018

    Frank Lloyd Wright: Architecture of the Interior showcases designs of American architect Frank Lloyd Wright's houses and their interiors. The 28 drawings and photographs displayed show Wright's distinct "organic" style and why he is considered the greatest of American architects. Frank Lloyd Wright, an American architect, designer, and writer, was prolific throughout his very long career. Wright designed more than 1,000 buildings and is famous for his "organic architecture" philosophy, which harmonized the natural landscape and human values with the structure itself.

    Frank Lloyd Wright: Architecture of the Interior was organized by the International Arts & Artists, Washington, DC, in cooperation with The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, Scottsdale, AZ.

    Pictured: C. Thaxter Shaw House, Living Area, Montreal, Canada, 1906. Photographic Reproduction. Courtesy of The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation Archives (The Museum of Modern Art | Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library, Columbia University, New York). Copyright © Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation.


  • Bikes: Science on Two Wheels

    September 22, 2018 - January 6, 2019

    The bicycle, or some version of it, has been around since the nineteenth century, and it is still a popular form of transportation today. Bikes are a part of our everyday life from childhood through adulthood, but we don't often notice the science behind this wonderful invention. In the exhibit BIKES: Science on Two Wheels, we get to see over 40 variations of bikes from the late 1800's to modern times, including the classics and oddities. Through a dozen interactives, visitors are able to engage in the science, history, design, and art behind the bicycle!

    This exhibit is organized by Carnegie Science Center in cooperation with the Bicycle Museum of America.


  • Your Kalamazoo Wings! The First 45 Years

    September 27, 2018 - March 31, 2019

    Your Kalamazoo Wings! The First 45 Years explores the history and culture of Kalamazoo's oldest professional sports franchise. The exhibit features artifacts and images on loan from team leaders and fans. Former players, including Kevin Schamehorn and Joel Martin, have loaned personal pieces to the display. The K-Wings Hockey organization and the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto have also been great resources for the Museum, lending both collections and their expertise. The displays traces the 45-year history of the franchise in Kalamazoo, including its formation, the construction of Wings Event Center, and the championship seasons. Visitors will learn how the game, team, and fan base have evolved over time and delve into some of the traditions that make the franchise unique. This includes the annual Green Ice Game, which was a Kalamazoo invention and the first-ever colored ice event in history. Recorded interviews with key players, managers, and even "Slappy" the mascot have been produced into videos used in the exhibit. Exhibit designers have included components for children and would-be hockey fans. The Kalamazoo community has made the K-Wings hockey franchise a unique part of hockey history, and this exhibit seeks to celebrate that fact.