Learn About Us


The Ontonagon County Historical Society was founded in 1957 by a group of local residents committed to preserving its history. Charles Willman was our first President, and he won the Follo Award for his efforts in organizing OCHS. Named in honor of Charles Follo, a schoolteacher from Escanaba who worked to establish historical societies and promote the history of the Upper Peninsula, the Charles Follo Award is presented annually by the Historical Society of Michigan to the individual who has made the most outstanding contribution to the preservation and promotion of U.P. history.

OCHS members and volunteers carry out its mission:  to educate the public about the history of Ontonagon County by collecting, displaying, interpreting, and providing access to relevant historical material connected with Ontonagon County; to encourage historical study and research; and to house historical archives and other materials where they may be adequately protected for future generations.  We are part of the Keweenaw National Historical Park network of heritage sites, with the mission of telling the story of copper development in the region. We are also a member of the Historical Society of Michigan.

Our museum is located at 422 River Street in a distinctive periwinkle building with a large, colorful mural on our southern exterior wall. We have adequate parking, and mobility impaired restrooms. If you want information about the county or suggestions about sights to see, places to shop and places to dine, stop in and one of our volunteers will be happy to help you, or refer you to our Chamber of Commerce Information Center.

We’ll do our best to make your museum and lighthouse tours enjoyable, and we hope that you will recommend us to your friends, and return for another visit. Our membership meets on the third Thursday of each month for dinner and an educational program, usually on western UP history. The Public is welcome to make reservations for the dinner meetings.

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Help support the Ontonagon County Historical Society by donating. OCHS offers golden plates to memorialize loved ones or to list your name in history as a sponsor.  The plates are displayed in the entryway to the museum, or at the lighthouse.

Ontonagon Historical Museum

422 River Street
Ontonagon, Michigan  49953
(906) 884-6165