Now comes the hard part in creating city’s historical museum

It won’t be long before Hamtramckans get a special look into their history.

On Sept. 30 the city, in conjunction with the Hamtramck Historical Commission, completed a deal to buy the old Polish Legion of American Veterans hall on Holbrook to serve as the site of the new Hamtramck Historical Museum.

What does this mean?

Plenty. Even if you don’t live in Hamtramck.

The museum will be the perfect showcase for the thousands of items the Historical Commission has collected over the years. Almost all of those items now are in storage, but with the new museum, they will be placed on display for all to see.

But the museum will be more than just a showcase for old things. It will be a living institution where programs like slide shows, lectures, book signing and even dance recitals and craft classes will be held. Kids from both public and charter schools will be invited in for classes.

The site will also serve as a starting and end point for the popular walking and bus tours held in the city.

Former Hamtramckans will find this to be a place of memories, where they can connect with the past – as well as the Hamtramck of today. It will serve as another reason to bring them back to town.

In fact, those who are confident the museum will boost the local economy by bringing visitors to town. Tour groups already are contributing to the local economy as they usually include lunch and dinner and a bit of shopping as part of their tour. They are bringing in money from outside of Hamtramck into the city.

The potential for the Hamtramck Historical Museum is great, but a lot still has to be done. While the building is sound, it needs a new furnace and it has to be refitted to be used as a museum. And one of the first steps tp move forward with this project is to acquire state and national historical designations for the building. This will not only be source of pride but also help attain grants.

You can help make this happen.

The Hamtramck Historical Commission is seeking volunteers to help work on the building as well as contributors who can help finance it. Donations are being accepted by the Friends of Historical Hamtramck, a tax-exempt organization that assists the Historical Commission.

Membership in the Friends is $25 a year, although any amount will be gladly welcomed and should be sent to The Friends, c/o Greg Kowalski, 11638 Moran, Hamtramck 48212. Checks should be made out to the Friends of Historical Hamtramck. You will receive a receipt for your tax records.

Anyone who wishes to volunteer to help with the building should call Kowalski at (313) 893-5027 or e-mail

Plans are to renovate the building in stages, with the first section to open in the spring of 2011.

The Hamtramck Historical Commission has been working on acquiring a museum since it was founded in 1998. Hamtramck, despite its great history, has never had a historical museum.

This marks a great step forward in the history of Hamtramck.

Become a part of it.

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