History & Collections

Image of a collection of artifacts including a baby doll in a long dress; beaded necklace; child's tea pot, cup, saucer, and creamer; program from WKZO soapbox derby; and a pail
History & Collections

The Museum's collection dates to an 1881 gift to the Kalamazoo School Board of corals, shells, and rocks from Horace M. Peck, a local banker. Today the collection has grown to over 55,000 items, with a focus on historical artifacts, photographs, and documents that tell the stories of people, businesses, organizations, and events that have had an impact on the region.

On these pages, explore our database along with stories, blogs, and special features that capitalize on the Museum’s historical collections.


November 16, 2018

Dear Museum Supporter,

The Kalamazoo Valley Museum’s commitment to maintaining collections that illustrate the community’s unique heritage spans nearly 140 years. These collections are a direct result of the ongoing generosity of the community and its confidence in the Museum’s stewardship in protecting these items for future generations.

As part of good collections management, it is necessary from time to time to update collections storage spaces, which limits access to collections. Due to such an update, which will greatly improve the storage of the KVM's collections items, we are placing a temporary moratorium on accepting new donations and performing public research requests until May 1, 2019. This means the museum will not be accepting donation offers, research requests or photo reproduction requests until after May 1, 2019.

It is recognized that there may be some exceptions to this moratorium for items of important historical significance based on our strategic collecting priorities. We encourage you to email or call our Collections Manager, Regina Gorham (rgorham@kvcc.edu or (269) 373-7958), with information regarding your offer or request by leaving your name, contact information and a detailed description of your inquiry. Messages will be reviewed by the Collections Committee to determine if a response is required. If so, contact will be made between May 1 and August 1, 2019.

Your patience and understanding during this upgrade period are appreciated, and we look forward to working with you.


Kalamazoo Valley Museum

Download a resource list.