What is the Hamtramck Historical Museum?
Our mission is to gather and archive information about Hamtramck’s past, chronicle what’s going on in the city today, and look towards the future of Hamtramck. We’re not your typical neighborhood museum. Our primary purpose is to be a space for interaction and dialogue with the community through outreach and programming. We also offer tours of the downtown district, including bus + walking tours. We are located at 9525 Jos. Campau.
What was your experience in Build Institute?
I took Build because even though we’re a nonprofit we still follow certain business practices. The information was helpful, especially the marketing and bookkeeping aspects of it. I learned that marketing is critical for us – we can’t expect people to just wander in, they need to know there’s a reason for them to come. And the class environment was great, we had a wide range of businesses from design to an automotive repair shop. Karen Majewski (Hamtramck’s Mayor and also a graduate from our class) is opening up her vintage shop just across the street!
“I learned that marketing is critical for us – we can’t expect people to just wander in, they need to know there’s a reason for them to come.”
What are your most recent developments after the class?
I went through the long, drawn out process of acquiring this building, which took a year to complete. Of course, anytime you take over an old building, you have to expect making major changes. For a museum the environmental controls are really important so we’ve been working on lighting, humidity, things like that. We recently put in a grant for a new furnace, and we are working with an architect who has developed a plan for the building. We will be putting in a whole new front and continuing repairs throughout the space. But we wanted to be available to the public this Spring + Summer, so we decided to open two days a week (Sat + Sun). We are also offering a course on Hamtramck history in partnership with the Hamtramck Free School, starting April 14th.
What’s in the future for the Hamtramck Historical Museum?
We’ve developed a five-year plan for what we want implemented. We’re also figuring out our specific needs as a museum – developing a policies and procedures manual and operations guidelines. I want to continue to develop great programming – aligning programs and speakers to come here, and making sure we are an interactive community space. We want everyone to understand that this is their museum!