Museum puts history, old newspapers online

By: Linda Shepard | Rochester Post | Published January 18, 2017


ROCHESTER HILLS — History buffs and researchers can travel back in time, thanks to a new online collection of documents and old newspapers provided by the Rochester Hills Museum.

“Archives are the reason we exist,” Museum Supervisor Pat McKay said. “And newspapers are the most important thing we own in our archive collection.”

Over 7,000 catalog records have been uploaded to the museum’s online database using a museum cataloging software called PastPerfect. The collections include archival photographs and documents, and objects related to the greater Rochester area and the Taylor/Van Hoosen family. The museum’s collection of old newspapers is also available for view.

“They go back to 1873,” McKay said.

“All the instructions are on the website,” said Samantha Lawrence, the museum’s archives and collections coordinator, who has overseen the digitizing project. More than 5,000 old photographs are available for view. “We want to share our collection,” she said.

“We never have enough square feet here to put everything out on display,” McKay said.

The archive collection launch coincides with Rochester’s upcoming bicentennial, McKay said. Beginning in March, a series of commemorative events will be held, including a founders day celebration, a new sculpture unveiling, a community picnic and more.

The museum is always looking for more local, historical photographs, information and documents for its archive collection, McKay said. Information about historical farms, businesses, churches and long-ago championships is always welcome — along with old diaries, maps, papers and artifacts related to the community’s history.

Digitizing the museum’s archive collection of microfilm is an ongoing project.

“The city (of Rochester Hills) has money budgeted every year for digitizing,” McKay said. “I hang in back waiting to pounce on it.”

Located off Tienken Road, on Van Hoosen Road,  the 16-acre Rochester Hills Museum complex was home to the Taylor and Van Hoosen families dating back to 1823. Listed in the National Register of Historic Places, the museum features structures original to the property from 1840 to the early 20th century.

To donate archival information to the museum, call (248) 841-2673 or email

To search the new museum archive collection, visit The collection of Rochester-area newspapers dating from 1873 to 1949 is available on the Oakland County Historic Resources website at oakland To learn how to search the newspaper collection, visit papers.

“There are great stories that need to get out there,” McKay said.