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Niles History Center
  Overview    Archeological Dig    Education    Niles History Center  History of Niles    New Exhibits    Fort St. Joseph Museum News 

The Niles History Center Overview

The Niles History Center includes the Fort St. Joseph Museum and the Chapin Mansion.  The museum is located in the former carriage house of the beautiful Victorian period Chapin Mansion. 

See You At the Museum! The museum tells the story of Niles from its colonial start in 1691 to the present.  Featured exhibits portray the history of Fort St. Joseph, built by the French in 1691, the story of the Underground Railroad in southern Michigan, and the importance of the railroad and classification yards in Niles' history.  Another unique and truly outstanding exhibit features the museum's Lakota Indian collection including twelve pictographs drawn by Chief Sitting Bull.  Together the museum's exhibits tell the story of Niles and the contributions its businesses and citizens have made to the world.

The Historic Chapin Mansion is a Victorian period structure that served as the private home of Henry and Ruby Chapin.  It was built in 1882 and contains several ornate stained glass windows, beveled mirrors, impressive brass chandeliers, beautiful hand-carved woodwork, a ballroom and nine fireplaces.  Chapin Mansion has entered a multi-year restoration phase, but even now it's beauty leaves hundreds of tourists from around the world in awe each summer. Knowledgeable docents will be available to discuss the historical significance of this grand ole mansion.

Fort St. Joseph Museum Visiting
Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 10:00 am - 4:00 pm
Saturday from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm
Admission is FREE
Closed major holidays.  

Historic Chapin Mansion Tour Schedule:
Admission is $5 for 10 & Up
Closed major holidays.
Call 683-4700 ext. 4010 or email us for Tour Schedules as the Mansion will close periodicaly for historic restoration this spring & summer.

Call or Email to schedule Group Tours
Groups are welcome but a two week notice is requested.  For more information call 269-683-4700 ext. 4010 or send an email.

The Niles History Center is located at 508 E. Main Street in Niles at the corner of 5th and Main Streets.

Fun for Children of All Ages

Carol Bainbridge,
Museum Director

The Fort St. Joseph Museum offers a fun activity booklet for children of all ages and reading levels.  The booklet is tied to a special children's exhibit and changes several times during the year. Bring your children often to enjoy the new and varied educational and fun experiences we have for them.  There is no cost for these activities and no reservation is needed.

Have You Visited the Museum Lately?

If you haven't, I would encourage you to do so. Niles has a wonderful, wide ranging history that we can all be proud of. What other town can you think of that has a fort, the Underground Railroad, pictographs by Chief Sitting Bull and a railroad classification yard in its history? Not to mention Rudolph and a two-headed lamb. You'll find these stories and lots more at the museum. 

See You At the Museum!

For information contact Carol Bainbridge
at the Fort St. Joseph Museum
508 E. Main Street
Niles, MI 49120
269-683-4700 ext. 4010