The Best Museums in Kalamazoo

If you’re looking for the best things to do in Kalamazoo this year, you’re in luck! We offer a comprehensive resource for visitors heading to our charming city, including writing about the best things to do in Kalamazoo. This year, don’t miss your chance to visit leading museums in Kalamazoo, including the famed Gilmore Car Museum.

Though you may not realize it at first glance, there are some world-class museums in Kalamazoo. The Gilmore Car Museum is truly just the beginning. Whether you’re into art, history, science, or something else entirely, you’ll find more to love about the top museums in Kalamazoo each time you visit. Moreover, when you’re done visiting the top museums in Kalamazoo, you’ll find a thriving cultural destination filled with outstanding theatre, music, food, festivals, and fun.

While exploring all the great things to do in Kalamazoo this year, treat yourself to a stay at the city’s best lodging, our Kalamazoo, Michigan Bed and Breakfast. We’re well-located near downtown Kalamazoo, allowing you to enjoy all the finest restaurants, breweries, shopping, and attractions this city has to offer, with unparalleled hospitality and accommodations. Book your room today!

A biplane as seen in one of the top museums in kalamazoo, the airzoo aerospace museum

The Best Museums in Kalamazoo

Kalamazoo truly is one of the most fascinating cities in Michigan. It offers plenty of activities for a wide variety of people, and though you can find all the big-city amenities you crave while here, it still retains much of its small-town charm. From biking the Kal Haven Trail, kayaking on the Kalamazoo River, or exploring the diverse parks in Kalamazoo, to eating and drinking your way through the city, Kalamazoo truly is a thriving place to spend some time.

As you begin your explorations of Kalamazoo in 2023, several museums in Kalamazoo are worth adding to your list. It’s at least in part thanks to these museums in Kalamazoo that Forbes named the city as one of the “Top 10 Arts-Vibrant Communities of 2022 for Medium-Sized Communities.”

In museums all across the city, you’ll be treated to some of the lesser-known histories of our country and will come away intrigued and looking for more. Below, we’ve listed five of the best museums in Kalamazoo before going more in-depth on one of our favorites, the Gilmore Car Museum.

  1. Aside from the Gilmore Car Museum, one of the most popular museums in Kalamazoo is the AirZoo AeroSpace & Science Museum. It’s the perfect place for the aviation lover in your life and includes fun events like biplane rides throughout the year.
  2. Another of the top-rated museums in Kalamazoo is the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts. This museum features various permanent and temporary exhibits in multiple mediums.
  3. Though it’s not strictly a museum, music lovers will delight in the opportunity to visit, tour, and marvel at the collection of guitars found at Heritage Guitar, Inc.
  4. For something unique, head to the Midwest Miniatures Museum. The museum houses a delightful collection of miniatures and is also situated inside a gorgeous, restored mansion.
  5. Head to nearby Vicksburg and visit the Historic Village and Depot Museum, not to mention the 1880s period Vicksburg Historic Village.
Historic cars like those seem at one of the leading museums in kalamazoo, the gilmore car museum

Gilmore Car Museum in Kalamazoo

As we’ve mentioned, the Gilmore Car Museum is one of the best museums in Kalamazoo. Aside from the AirZoo, it’s certainly one of our favorites, along with that of our guests. The Gilmore Car Museum was once just a hobby, started by a local businessman in the 1960s. Over the years, it grew in scale and eventually opened to the public in 1966. At that the time, the Gilmore Car Museum had just 35 cars on display.

Today, the Gilmore Car Museum houses one of Michigan’s most extensive collections of classic and vintage automobiles and has transformed into a true destination for car lovers. A far cry from its original 35, the Gilmore Car Museum now has nearly 400 vehicles and motorcycles on display, hailing from all eras. The oldest car on display is a Locomobile Steam Car dating back to 1899.

Apart from marveling at the cars, you’ll find several wonderful exhibits within the Gilmore Car Museum, including the following:

  1. Greatest Generation: Corvette
  2. Born to Perform: The Era of the Muscle Car
  3. The Negro Motorist Green Book
  4. Realistic to Whimsical: Tin Toy Cars of Yesteryear
  5. A Century of Motorcycles
  6. Disney Magic and More
  7. Automotive Mascots
  8. 1930s Shell Station

The facilities that house the Gilmore Car Museum itself is based on a re-created factory building from the turn of the century. The campus includes eight restored 19th-century barns, an authentic operating 1940s diner, a recreated 1930s Shell gas station, and a train depot from the 1890s. Recreated auto dealerships include a Franklin dealership from around 1918, a Model A Ford dealership from 1928, a 1930s Lincoln, and a 1948 Cadillac dealership. It truly is a fascinating space to explore and a great way to learn about American history through its love of the automobile.

You can expect a visit to the museum to take anywhere from 4 – 6 hours if you want to see it in its entirety. The Gilmore Car Museum also hosts a series of events throughout the year, including their popular Wednesday night cruise-ins and the Ride the Classics events.

All these incredible museums in Kalamazoo are at your fingertips when you visit us at our top-rated Kalamazoo, Michigan Bed and Breakfast. Book your room today!

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