Explore local history: Free admission returns to 3 Port Huron Museums sites

From the Fort Gratiot Lighthouse to the St. Clair River Tunnel, the city of Port Huron is home to a rich history; and for another year both visitors and residents can learn about it all, at no expense.

After a highly successful run in its 2022 season, Port Huron Museums is able to offer free admission once again to several of its sites thanks to a grant from the City of Port Huron, the Blue Water Area Convention & Visitors Bureau, and SEMCO Energy. With the exception of special exhibits and guided tours, the free admission covers access to explore the Carnegie Museum, HURON Lightship, Thomas Edison Depot Museum, and the grounds of the Fort Gratiot Light Station.

The HURON Lightship.

Andrew Kercher, Manager of Community Engagement for Port Huron Museums says last year’s free admission program led to a significant boost in local tourism. He says they hope the ability to bypass general admission at several of their sites will also help to encourage visitors to take advantage of Port Huron Museums’ rotating exhibits.

“We saw tens of thousands of visitors in that year,” he says. “It was pretty exciting for us, really unprecedented numbers, which isn't all that surprising in some way.”

The Thomas Edison Depot Museum.The ongoing promotion is as much for Port Huron residents as it is for those who are just dropping by. Kercher says the city’s number of historical sites, including Michigan’s oldest lighthouse and last working lightship, are a living example of life before.

“It’s kind of cliche to say you can't tell where you're going to go without knowing where you've been,” he says. “But history, in a way, is an explanation for where we are, how we got to where we are.”

Summer hours are in effect through Sept. 18 and visitors are welcome at all sites daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. To learn about upcoming events or to plan a visit, visit phmuseum.org.
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Read more articles by Riley Connell.

Riley Connell is a graduate of Central Michigan University with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. She's a frequent visitor to the Metro Detroit area where she was raised and in addition to her work with The Keel, Riley is a full-time reporter with the Cadillac News as well as a contributor to The Keel’s sister publication, Epicenter Mt. Pleasant. When she isn't writing, Riley enjoys spending time outdoors, painting, antiquing, and trying new foods.