Administration Committee Report

Published In:
Ypsilanti Gleanings, Winter 2002
Original Images:

Author: Virginia Davis-Brown

Have you noticed a chill in the air? We did, and realized that it was time to start decorating the Museum for the holidays. We went to work and it is now completed.

This year we went to the Ypsilanti Public Elementary Schools asking the art departments if they would like to help us. Three of the schools, Adams, Ardis and George made 386 ornaments for our Christmas tree. It is one of the nicest trees we have ever had. We invited the children, who participated in the project, to an open house and although the attendance was not large the children, parents and teachers enjoyed our museum and said they would come back and bring friends. We thank them for their help.

We are still excited about the new kitchen, as we are nearing completion, there are still a few things we need and you will be hearing more about that later. The stove is completed and it is wonderful. Hours and hours of work by Jerry Jennings has put it back into beautiful condition. We appreciate all the things he does around the museum.

If you have been thinking about Holiday Shopping why not stop by the Gift Shop and look at the new items we have this year. There are stocking stuffers for the children and a lot of things for that special person on your list.

Our Open House is planned for December 8. I always feel the open house is the beginning of the Holiday Season. Why not come and join us?

As long as we are talking about the Holidays, why not plan on getting together with friends and join in the Jubilee this year. We are fortunate to have Joseph Pratt, who is a jazz guitarist, back with us again this year. There is more room for chairs for you to enjoy the music, warm up and have refreshments. Let's participate in the Jubilee and let Ypsilanti know that we appreciate an evening of wholesome fun that the whole family can enjoy together.

Remember we will be closed the month of January, but if you have out of town guests or would like to set up a special tour for your group please call 483-2929 to make arrangements.

From all of us at the Ypsilanti Historical Museum we wish you the MOST WONDERFUL HOLIDAY SEASON AND A HEALTHY NEW YEAR.

Museum Gift Shoppe

Published In:
Ypsilanti Gleanings, Summer 2002,
Summer 2002
Original Images:

Many items to choose from!

WESTERWALD POTTERY-Variety of pieces, with Ypsilanti Water Tower in green. Some with a blue leaf decoration and the word “Ypsilanti.”

PAPERWEIGHTS-nice selection-various sizes.







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2:00-4:00 p.m.

Wedding Dresses

Published In:
Ypsilanti Gleanings, Summer 2002,
Summer 2002
Original Images:

Author: Grace Cornish

Our Ypsilanti museum has over 30 wedding dresses. Most have enough information to know who wore them and when. Unfortunately the information on some has been misplaced or was never recorded over the years, Several of the dresses are on display this summer in the museum. Six are over 100 years old but in remarkable condition.

Before 1900 most of the wedding dresses were not white as is expected in this century. The average woman chose a garment she could wear many times after the wedding to everyday and special events. The oldest dress owned by the museum is made from dark printed cotton with a hand made lace collar. Cotton can be laundered many times, if done carefully. We washed it here very carefully for the present display, and it was really soiled. The colors are still bright and the fabric still in good shape. This wedding dress was used by Marian Hortense Ely Riggs for her 1850 wedding. She lived only 10 years after the wedding but her dress was preserved and given to the museum by Marian Willoughby in 1993. It is displayed in the north west corner of the museum dining room.

Also in the dining room you will see the 1884 wedding dress for Mrs. Dusbiber, Bill Dusbiber"s mother. This dress is silk and cotton and the cotton is beginning to disintegrate in the worn sections. The fabric is heavy and so is the lining for an August 4, 1884 wedding. Most dresses of the late 19th century had stays in the waist and heavy lining or tape at the hem line better known as "dust ruffles".

In the parlor Mrs. Annie Crary Glover's 1870 wedding dress is beige silk. It is made with cotton lace skirt under the reddingcoat. It was probably worn with a small bustle. The other wedding dress in the parlor is the 1902 sheer white cotton dress for the May wedding of Gladye Collins to Samuel Ballantine. This has a bib collar and lots of lace insertion and ruffles.

The craft room upstairs has the wedding dress of Sarah Ellen Good Jones in 1875. She was the wife of William Jones the president of the Normal College. This is made of gray cotton. The fabric is very durable and warm to wear.

The other wedding dresses on display are from the 20th century. The 1940 white oyster satin wedding dress in the Milliman room is made of the fabric popular then. It has a train, veil, lace rosettes with a pearl center and a zipper closing. Wedding dresses in the costume room include the off white oyster satin 1929 dress with train for Margarite Breakey. The rolled back collar is unusual. The oyster satin 1940 dress for Alexene Fox Clow has the popular sweetheart neckline. The satin 1950 dress for Mrs. Dell has what is known as a scoop neckline and the train is lined. Mrs. Fred Peter's 1938 wedding dress has applied velvet flowers. The 1970 50th Anniversary wedding dress for Rosena Schaser Warner is in the upstairs hall. The embroidery and bead work is distinctive.

If the dresses have 22" waists they are too small for the museum to display at this time. The museum attempts to rotate the display of dresses in storage.

From the Director: The Museum Gets a Website

Published In:
Ypsilanti Gleanings, Summer 2002,
Summer 2002
Original Images:

+ + + WEB SITE + + +

We are getting a web site.

Nonprofit Enterprise at Work (N.E.W.) of Ann Arbor, through a grant from Ameritech, is designing a web page for the Museum for free! Through them for $10.00 we have obtained a domain name:

The name is a one time charge. There is an annual fee of $25.00 to maintain the web site. We can make changes and additions to the web site without extra cost.

Our web site will have linkage to the Ypsilanti Automotive Heritage Museum, the Michigan Fire Museum and the Yankee Air Force Museum. We will also be linked to the City of Ypsilanti web site, the Visitors & Convention Bureau, and the Chamber of Commerce.

Our web site will have pictures of the major rooms showing our new configuration. Information on hours of operation, appointments for special tours, directions on how to get here with maps and how to join our Society will also be included. Suggestions for future additions/changes will be welcome.

We hope you and the public will find it interesting and stimulating-your Museum/Society is sneaking into the 21st Century!

William P. Edmunds
Museum Director

The Heritage Festival is the Museum

Published In:
Ypsilanti Gleanings, Summer 2002,
Summer 2002
Original Images:

It hardly seems possible that “Heritage Festival, 2002” is only three weeks away. The plans and preparations for this great event began last February and still keeps us very busy down at the Freight House.

Board members are a fussy group! They've been bustling about polishing and re-arranging things to please the eyes of our visitors for the last two months, making certain that everything is just perfect…and you know what? IT IS!

We look forward to seeing our members and friends at the Museum during Festival time! This is one of the few sites to visit that has no entrance fee of any kind. Our hours during all three days of the Festival are from 12:00 to 6 p.m. and docents will be happy to show you around.

On Saturday, August 17th, Velia Lauverman, who is an expert quilter and quilt appraiser, will be at the Museum to provide you with a verbal appraisal of that beautiful, old quilt that has been in your family forever. Wouldn't it be wonderful to finally know its age and value?

Annual Historical Society Garage Sale

Published In:
Ypsilanti Gleanings, April 2002,
April 2002
Original Images:


Due to the huge success of our sale last year, we will again join the Normal Park Neighborhood sale. It will be at Karen & Bill Nickels home 311 N. Wallace Blvd. Ypsilanti.

We need members to donate items for the sale. Items can be brought to the museum Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays 2:00-4:00, Tuesdays 9:00-12:00 noon. After May 15th, items can be brought to Karen and Bill's home. If you need your donations to be picked up call the Nickels at 483-8896.

Contributions to the Society

Published In:
Ypsilanti Gleanings, April 2002,
April 2002
Original Images:

Donations are always welcome and are tax deductible.

Capital Fund for Development

This will provide funding for a handicapped entrance to the museum basement and increase meeting space for groups.

Endowment Fund

Presently pays the lease for the archival space and the salary of the archivist. As the fund grows, it will hopefully pay for a professional museum director.

Dues & Unspecified Donations

Helps with the daily operation of the museum and general maintenance of museum interior and artifacts.

Specified Donations

Memorials-Families may remember their loved ones by initiating a memorial fund in their name.
Special Projects-donors may contribute to a project initiated by the donor or suggested by the Historical Society.


Local family histories are eagerly accepted.


The museum will accept collections for a short term exhibition. We also accept collections for a tax deductible contribution.

Have a Collection????

Published In:
Ypsilanti Gleanings, April 2002,
April 2002
Original Images:

Author: Joan Carpenter

The room in the Museum referred to as, “THE YPSILANTI ROOM”, was so named because the displays exhibited in the room focused on Ypsilanti events, people, businesses, places and items made and/or collected by people of the city. Some of the exhibits are permanent ones while others are collections owned by residents in the area.

Equipment used by the first frontier woman doctor, Helen Walker McAndrew is in one of the permanent cases.

Elija McCoy's famous “oil cup”, which was used to lubricate the gears of the trains of that era, is also displayed.

A suit of long underwear, made at the Ypsilanti Underwear Company, is also exhibited. The suit was sought after from as far away as France because of its fine quality. There were many funny little rhymes that advertised this underwear such as: “Never rip, Never tear, Wear Ypsilanti Underwear!”, and, “When love grows cold do not despair, Wear Ypsilanti Underwear!”.

There is also a great show case that features memorabilia from the Civil War. It includes guns, pictures and even a diary kept by a young soldier from Ypsilanti.

Other permanent cases include items from the early Ypsilanti Fire Department, the Spanish-American War, The Ypsilanti Schools and Indian Relics from long, long ago!

Displays that are not permanent are often from the collections of Ypsilanti citizens.

Currently there is a display of leather post cards, very, very old and interesting books dating from the late 1830s, reproductions of antique samplers, beautiful fans from all over the country and a collection of pictures of outstanding Black citizens of Ypsilanti.

If you have a collection that you think might be of interest to the visitors to the Museum, please don't hesitate to call the number that follows. We look forward to the participation of the people of Ypsilanti, in maintaining and contributing to this lovely Museum that is about, and for us all!

Joan Carpenter 971-0536

"Heritage Festival 2002" Plans Are Underway

Published In:
Ypsilanti Gleanings, April 2002,
April 2002
Original Images:

Plans for “The Heritage Festival, 2002” are well underway with Betty Jones at the helm.

Betty, this year's Festival Chairwoman, has been meeting with the committee chairmen since early in January and is really doing a great job in this capacity.

Nathalie Edmunds, Festival Chairwoman for many years, is serving as the co-ordinator of the Huron Street activities and our Museum is high on her list of prominent sites.

The historical old house will be open to the public, free of charge, on all three days of the Festival, August 16, 17 and 18. Visitors will get a tour of the rooms and see the furnishings, utensils and personal items used by the residents of Ypsilanti in the 1800s.

Many docents, male ad female, are needed to guide our visitors through the Museum during the Festival. This is an opportunity to get better acquainted with the history of Ypsilanti, be of significant help to visitors during a two hour shift, and work in air-conditioned comfort. Very little training is needed. Each docent i provided with a “guide card” bearing the information about the area to which they've been assigned.

If you think you'd like to be a volunteer (and have a nice break from the August heat), please call Joan Carpenter … 971-0536. Your help will be greatly appreciated!

Rain on Monday means several rainy days that week.

If the sun sets clear on Tuesday, expect rain before Friday.

If it rains on the “first of the month,” most of the month will be wet.

Rain on the first Sunday of the month means rain on the three following Sundays

If dandelions bloom in April, expect a hot, wet July.

If the sun sets behind the clouds on Thursday, expect rain before Saturday.

A windstorm on New Year's Day means floods later in the year.

Book Bargains in the Gift Shop

Published In:
Ypsilanti Gleanings, April 2002,
April 2002
Original Images:

In its new location the Gift Shop will be more accessible to the public.
The Shop carries a variety of items that can be used as gifts and/or souvenirs. Pots, mugs, cookie jars and vases from The Westerwald Company come in a variety of styles and sizes. They are decorated with floral leaves, the Ypsilanti Water Tower and the Museum House. Prices begin around $8.00.
Baldwin Brass candlesticks, miniature clocks, paperweights and trinkets are also available and make memorable reminders of your visit to the Museum.
Many of the books about the early days of Ypsilanti and the people who lived in and around the area have been reduced in price. Among these books are:

HELEN WALKER McANDREWS-Ypsilanti's Lady Frontier Doctor

BY William McAndrew, Jr. $5.00


BY A.P. Marshall $5.00

DOWN THE MYRTLE PATH-Stories of the Early schools in and around Washtenaw County

BY Hannah Geddes Wright $8.50


BY Sandie Jones $2.50



BY Bernard Stadtmiller $3.00

Drop in and browse around in the Gift Shop. Thursday, Saturday or Sunday-2 to 4 p.m.

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