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Orchard Lake Museum celebrates two more outdoor exhibits

By: Tiffany Esshaki | West Bloomfield Beacon | Published March 6, 2020

 The Green School bell exhibit opened on the grounds last fall, with help from the Greater West Bloomfield Historical Society.

The Green School bell exhibit opened on the grounds last fall, with help from the Greater West Bloomfield Historical Society.

Photo provided by the Greater West Bloomfield Historical Society

 The newest addition to the Orchard Lake Museum can be visited anytime, since it’s outside the historical building, formerly the home of Orchard Lake City Hall.

The newest addition to the Orchard Lake Museum can be visited anytime, since it’s outside the historical building, formerly the home of Orchard Lake City Hall.

Photo provided by the Greater West Bloomfield Historical Society

ORCHARD LAKE — The Orchard Lake Museum, home of the Greater West Bloomfield Historical Society, is only open 1-4 p.m. on the second Sunday of the month.

But two of the museum’s most important exhibits can be visited anytime, since they’re outside the historical building, formerly the home of Orchard Lake City Hall.

The Green School bell and the Apple Island outdoor exhibit opened on the grounds last fall, with help from the nonprofit historical society. They join other open air displays, like the Three Sisters demonstration garden, an original Michigan Military Academy window, a doctor’s carriage, a pickle crock, a sharpening wheel, a conglomerate boulder and more.

Until it was moved outside, the Green School bell had been inside the building since it was donated to the society in 1986. That’s 120 years after the one-room schoolhouse was founded by Mary and Hartwell Green. One teacher was responsible for all of the students spanning eight grades and ranging in age from 5 to 18.

Apple Island, on the other hand, isn’t a thing to be moved about. The site, also known as Marjorie Ward Strong Woodland Sanctuary, is a 37-acre island at the heart of Orchard Lake. Currently, there are no people living on the island, and it’s kept by the West Bloomfield School District as a nature preserve and archeological site.

In August of 2018, Apple Island was approved by the U.S. National Parks Service as a historical site. To celebrate the designation, the historical society created an outdoor exhibit panel highlighting the island’s history.

“People are always interested in Apple Island in Orchard Lake and wonder when they can visit the island,” Carol Fink, a GWBHS board member and a local naturalist, said in a prepared statement. “It’s great to have an outdoor exhibit highlighting Apple Island history and program information. The public can now view nine outdoor exhibits at the museum anytime.”

The new additions were funded by a memorial fund to honor the late John Benson Kazanowski.

“As a second grader at Scotch Elementary School, John and his class went on a GWBHS-led field trip to Apple Island that our home faces,” said Cara Kazanowski, his wife and a former vice president of the GWBHS. “So it seemed fitting to honor John’s life with contributions to the GWBHS, the volunteers who do so much to foster understanding of our area’s history and natural resources.”

To learn more about the Greater West Bloomfield Historical Society, including how to book a museum visit or an Apple Island tour, visit gwbhs.org.

The Orchard Lake Museum is located at 3952 Orchard Lake Road.