The Peck Collection
The Kalamazoo Valley Museum traces its beginnings to 1881 when Dr. H. O. Hitchcock of the Kalamazoo School Board proposed the idea of a community museum. “Kalamazoo is now near the semi-centennial of its settlement. Ought there not be connected with the library,” he asked, “a museum of archaeological relics and curiosities and cabinets of natural history?” With that, the school board formally accepted a collection of seashells, corals, fossils, and marbles from Horace M. Peck with the following resolution:
"Resolved, that the gratitude of the people of this district is due, and the hearty thanks of this board are hereby tendered to Horace M. Peck, Esq. for this large and beautiful collection of sea shells, corals, fossils and marbles, which he has tendered to the school district in the interest of education…and that these specimens shall be and are hereby accepted as the beginning of a museum; they shall be known and preserved as the Peck Collection…"
Peck settled near Ross Township, Kalamazoo County in 1838 at the age of 24. For the next 30 years, in the Richland area, he engaged extensively in the buying and selling of real estate, sheep and other livestock. In 1868, he moved to the village of Kalamazoo where he established himself in banking.