Battle Creek Regional History Museum

Preserving our past to give our history a future...

Welcome!

The RHM Battle Creek (RHM) is a regional history museum displaying the rich and wonderful history of the region. We are a 501 (c) (3) non-profit, which allows you to take a tax deduction for any contributions.

Governed by a Board of Directors, we have been in the process of developing this museum for over 10 years. At the present time we have open our “Museum Lite” space, the front room of the building, with small regional exhibits as well as a small gift shop and a wool room that help add support while we work on our larger space. Our main goal is to preserve the region’s rich and diverse history.

Our website will keep you informed of our progress so check in with us often. A great way to receive information is to join our mailing list so we can send you updates on events, speakers and programs. The RHM operates solely with volunteers. If you have a passion for history and would like to get involved, visit our get involved page or talk to one of our volunteers when you visit the Museum.

R.H.M. Capital Campaign   
The Battle Creek Regional History Museum, now known as the R.H.M., is led by a board of directions that want to develop its vision of the fledgling venue as a first class, high tech experience for future generations.

And, that is why we are launching a $3 million fund raising campaign. 

The plans are to develop exhibits and displays that tell the story of Battle Creek and the surrounding areas: to conduct "vibrant history and social educational programs for pre K-12 students in line with current curriculum
standards.

We also plan to develop a robust membership support program to market the city of Battle Creek by creating a tourist destination, fostering the "Believe in Battle Creek" message, and by having a positive economic impact on the downtown area.

Please help us reach our goal by either donating online or downloading our donation form.

Together
we can do it!

You can download the Capital Campaign form below and mail in your donation.

The Battle Creek Community Foundation is handling the fundraising. You can also donate online by clicking the button below. 

2019 BCRHM Calendar

The Battle Creek Regional History Museum's 2019 Battle Creek History calendar, featuring photos and history of the BC Sanitarium is now available at the museum's gift shop, and will soon be available at Lakeview Card and Gifts on Columbia Avenue, downtown at Battle Creek Books and possibly the Federal Center's gift shop. The price is $10 each.

BCRHM  Location: 
307 W. Jackson Street
Battle Creek, MI. 49037
Hours: 
Saturday 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Sunday Noon. - 5 p.m. 

Saturday May 18th Program

Jim Middleton

The 1931 Battle Creek Centennial will come alive at 3:00 PM, Saturday, May 18, at the Battle Creek Regional History Museum (BCRHM).

Local historian/pharmacist/illustrator, Jim Middleton will be presenting a program featuring the 16mm motion picture of that centennial event, which was originally made by the curator of the Kingman Museum of Natural History at that time, Edward Brigham (Brigham and his son were recently inducted into the BC Central Hall of Fame).

In the late 1920’s, Brigham had acquired a motion picture camera to film his exploration of various locations (Mexico, South America, southwest United States)where he obtained artifacts and specimens for use in displays at the Kingman Museum.

When the one hundredth anniversary of Battle Creek becoming a city was approaching, he volunteered his camera and skills to film the Centennial Parade and Pioneer Village that were both held in October 1931.

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Even though the Great Depression was limiting many activities throughout the country, Battle Creek celebrated its birthday with an over three hour long parade (the longest in the city’s history) and a reenactment of pioneer life, that included a Native American village, construction of a log cabin, demonstrations of early farming techniques, and many other staples of pioneer life (butter churning, spinning wool, weaving, soap and candle making, etc...).

At the time of the centennial, there were still a few residents that could remember those early years in the area. Many of them volunteered to assist in instructing, and sometimes demonstrating the skills they had learned so many years before.

The Pioneer Village was located near the present site of the golf driving range on Columbia Avenue.

The Battle Creek Centennial Parade included many floats, marchers, and every kind of display imagined at the time. Most businesses, churches, clubs, fraternal organizations and schools had ‘units’ in the parade. Even the governor of Michigan rode in a car with the mayor of Battle Creek. Thousands of citizens lined the street to watch the spectacle.

Henry Ford was invited to participate (he was known for his interest in antique farm equipment), but was unable to attend. He did send the 15 millionth Ford automobile that was part of the parade.

“I was fascinated that the parade included antique cars,” said Middleton, “seeing that in 1931, and oldest cars were, at the most, about 30 years old…which, for us, is not that old.”

Middleton was born in Big Rapids, and graduated from Ferris State University with a degree in pharmacology. He came to Battle Creek to work in the Lakeview General Hospital pharmacy (on 20th Street), then the pharmacy’s at Leila Hospital, Battle Creek Health System, Summit Pointe and is presently the manager of the Western Michigan University’s Student/Faculty pharmacy.
Middleton has also had a great interest in creating his own cartoons and animated movies. His pharmacy themed calendars and cartoons have been featured in national pharmacy periodicals, and his animated movies have won many awards. He also taught pharmacology classes for dental hygienists at Kellogg Community College, where he has also instructed animating classes.

His interest in the Battle Creek Centennial and the Brigham film happened back in the 1980’s, when Middleton was at a local photography store, Krum’s Photographic, located downtown.

He was paying for some film processing when he noticed an old movie camera on the top of the display case. When he asked if the camera was for sale, the clerk told him that it was, and that it had belonged to a local historian, Edward Brigham. Middleton bought the camera and through research, found that the camera had been used to film the city’s 1931 celebration.

Middleton found that the local history museum possessed a copy of the original 16mm centennial film and transferred it to a digital format, where the historic event has been preserved.

“The original 16mm movie is almost 100 years old,” said Middleton, “it needed to be preserved before it was lost forever.”

The program Middleton will be presenting, will include a showing of the preserved ‘1931 Battle Creek Centennial’ movie.

Middleton states, “It’s rare to find a motion picture of this caliber from the 1930’s, because people only associate this time period with ‘still’ black-and-white photographs.”

He went on to say, “Film of this quality and subject matter deserves preservation and restoration for future generations to see.”

The museum is located at 307 West Jackson Street. There is no charge for admission, but donations are appreciated. Light snacks will be served.

Our Mission

Preserving our past to give our history a future...

Current Museum Exhibit

Henry’s Ice Cream

Henry’s Ice Cream

The Battle Creek Regional History Museum is featuring a “Henry’s Ice Cream” display. Having open its doors in 1932 at 97 Calhoun Street, Henry’s Ice Cream was a historical icon of Battle Creek for 41 years. In the early years, Henry’s offered 18 different flavors of ice creams. Favorites flavors of the locals and visitors included Black Walnut, English Almond Toffee and the Honeymoon Special.

Please stop by the Battle Creek Regional History Museum at 307 West Jackson Street, Battle Creek and experience a time from the past.
Hours:
Saturday 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Sunday Noon. - 5 p.m. 

Join Our Mailing List

If you would like to keep informed of upcoming exhibits, events and RHM Battle Creek announcements please join our mailing list. To join please click the link below and fill out the short form. Once you hit send you will receive a conformation email that you will have to confirm before being added to the mailing list. This is done for security reasons. Our mailing list will not be shared with any third parties. Your privacy is important. 

The RHM Battle Creek operates completely with volunteers. Help is always appreciated in many areas: volunteering your time and talent, donating funds to further our mission of preserving our rich history and even donating items related to our area. Click Get Involved Now to learn more.

Explore Museum

RHM will be posting exhibits that are at the museum. These exhibits will feature a wide range of the area's history and cultures. If you have any suggestions please contact us. To view the exhibits click the link below.

Event Schedule

The museum will also be hosting educational presentations on the third Saturday of every month at 3:00 p.m. Working With Wool classes will be held on the 2nd Saturday at 2:00 p.m. To view the events click the link below.