History & Collections

Image of a collection of artifacts including a baby doll in a long dress; beaded necklace; child's tea pot, cup, saucer, and creamer; program from WKZO soapbox derby; and a pail
History & Collections

The Kalamazoo Valley Museum traces its beginnings to the 1880s, when Dr. H.O. Hitchcock proposed the idea of a community museum to his fellow School Board members. With the School Board’s formal resolution of thanks to Horace M. Peck, a local banker, for the donation of “corals, fossils and marbles” on April 20, 1881, the Museum was born.

Today, the Museum’s permanent collection has grown to over 57,000 objects, representing cultural and historical artifacts collected over the last 130 years through gifts from the community. These collections are focused on historical artifacts, photographs, and documents that tell the stories of people, businesses, organizations, and events that have had an impact on the region. In 1991, the Museum was accredited by the American Alliance of Museums.

On these pages, learn about offering objects to the museum and explore stories, blogs, and special features, including our Searchable Collection Database, that make the most of the Museum’s historical collections.