The Michigan Military Technical and Historical Society in Eastpointe is once again open to the public after being closed since November due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Michigan Military Technical and Historical Society in Eastpointe is once again open to the public after being closed since November due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Photo by Brendan Losinski


Eastpointe museum reopens its doors

By: Brendan Losinski | Roseville - Eastpointe Eastsider | Published March 7, 2021

 The Michigan Military Technical and Historical Society in Eastpointe has several new displays and additions to its collection, including its military uniform displays.

The Michigan Military Technical and Historical Society in Eastpointe has several new displays and additions to its collection, including its military uniform displays.

Photo by Brendan Losinski

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EASTPOINTE — As hope for COVID-19 lies on the horizon, local institutions are beginning to open back up and trying to remain available to the public while staying safe.

The Michigan Military Technical and Historical Society in Eastpointe is one such institution, and it announced March 1 that it will be reopening its doors March 13, after being closed since November.

“Our experience was similar to what many others were feeling,” said museum President Chris Causley. “We didn’t know what was going to happen, and you were nervous about staying open. You didn’t want to show up in the news as a superspreader. Meanwhile, you have to figure out how to pay your bills. You still need to pay the water and heat bills.”

Museum hours will remain Saturdays between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. through the spring and summer of 2021. Masks still must be worn inside the museum building, and social distancing will be observed.

“We put precautions in place. We have face masks and social distancing in place in compliance with the current rules put forth by the state,” Causley said. “We’re not a real high-volume museum, but we are maintaining the 50% occupancy rule to be safe. It’s a fairly open space, as well, so people can spread out.”

Like many places, the last several months have been difficult for the museum.

“Because of the restrictions as well as people not being comfortable with coming out, it has put a severe strain on our finances,” explained the museum’s treasurer, Wendy Richardson. “During 2020, we would have had a spring and a fall/winter lecture series, which is attended by donation only, but we get a nice bit of money from that. We had a reenacting event with the Chesterfield Historical Society, and that was canceled. We had a modified event at the museum outside instead, but we were excited because it gave people a chance to get out and do something.”

Richardson added that the contributions of visitors as well as grants from Macomb County helped the museum survive the harsh realities of the pandemic.

“We were recipients of some (Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act) money from Macomb County, which we have been using to pay the bills,” she said. “That has been a real lifeline for us, as well as our members stepping up. They have contributed a lot to us specifically to help us weather the shutdown.”

The closure gave the museum staff an opportunity to revamp several displays and perform some updates to exhibits.

“We took advantage of the COVID situation to do some exhibit changes and remodeling,” Causley said. “We weren’t sure what the limitations were and not very many people were coming out anyway. Now the exhibits are ready to go and many of the limitations on attending public places have been lifted, so it seemed like a good time to reopen.”

The additions include new pieces in its uniforms collection and more personal wartime stories from Detroit-area residents.

“We added three new display cases that are brand-new,” Causley said. “We have one complete new case in our uniform collection area and then two new cases in our war production area; one is on the Warren tank plant and the other is on the Ford-built gliders, which we had in a temporary display before. We can tell more personal stories with these new displays. We are showcasing some new people and bringing some stories of people out of storage. We also made some minor changes to other displays.”

The museum still has to limit public events such as its lecture series, but it is able to offer passive programs such as its book sale.

“We have a book sale coming up. It will be an ongoing sale at the museum for the next few months and will be open when the museum is open,” said Richardson. “There is a substantial amount of history and military history, but there is a little bit of everything — fiction, nonfiction, cookbooks. They were all donated, so there’s something for everyone. We’re working on some other events, but nothing is planned.”

Richardson went on to say that she thinks the museum is a nice addition to the Eastpointe-area community, mentioning that it has a lot to offer without being overwhelming.

“Our museum is big enough to be interesting, but not too big that it takes a full day to go through,” she remarked. “You can come in, be socially distanced and we have a lot of really cool artifacts. It’s amazing the number of artifacts we have from companies that used to exist and those that still exist. We have three Jeeps made by Ford. It lets us show off some really interesting things from spark plugs to uniforms to full vehicles.”

The Michigan Military Technical and Historical Society is located at 16600 Stephens Road in Eastpointe. More information can be found at www.mimths.org.

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