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Our Collection

The Tri-Cities Historical Museum maintains an expansive collection of more than 70,000 artifacts that have been donated by generous organizations, businesses, and community members. Our Collection includes a broad range of items – from archival materials such as photographs, maps, and books, to three-dimensional items as large as pianos and as small as buttons.

We are happy to consider items you’d like to donate to the Collection. In keeping with our mission statement, we collect artifacts and archival material related to northwest Ottawa County. 

The Community Archive and Research Center (CARC) is now open! In order to better serve our community and fulfill our mission, the CARC building was renovated to properly house the artifact Collection, allow a greater ease of access to research and local history information, and provide space for interaction with dedicated collections staff. 

All About CARC: Community Tours

We're proud of our Community Archive and Research Center (CARC), and invite the public to learn how CARC can serve history explorers of all ages! Join us for one of the dates below!

Get a sneak peek at unique artifacts of our Collection, take a tour of CARC's resources and connect with others who  have an interest in our Tri-Cities history. When you register ($10), you'll receive a $10 ticket promo code for our November social event: Murder At the Museum.

  • 3/20/23 MONDAY: Retirees 

  • 3/21/23 TUESDAY: Professionals 

  • 3/22/23 WEDNESDAY: Businesses of the Tri-Cities

Donating an artifact to our Collection

How we evaluate donations

The Collections Committee, made up of board, staff, and knowledgeable members of

community, meets each month to consider donated items. We evaluate items against these acquisition requirements: 

  • Is the item relevant to the history of northwest Ottawa County?

  • Does the item have exhibit or research potential?

  • Could the item be used for educational programs?

  • Can the item be properly stored, protected, and preserved in its current condition and with our available resources?

  • Does the item fill an identified gap in the collection or could it replace an inferior example?

  • Will this item be an unnecessary duplication?

If you are interested in donating:

Please download a donation form and email it to Jared Yax at along with a photo of the item(s) you wish to donate.


Please do not drop of items at the museum until you have contacted our Curator of Collections, Jared Yax, and received a response on your potential donation.

Work with our Collection

Have a local history question or looking for photographs? Collections staff will research the permanent collection for items pertaining to your request. For your convenience, we can of share watermarked digital copies of photographs or information via email. For rare occasions when artifacts need to be seen in person, an appointment can be made and staff will handle the artifact. For any questions or special requests please download a research request form or contact a member of the collection team. 


If you have any questions either chat with us by using the chat icon at the bottom of the screen or contact: 


Jared Yax

Collections Curator and Off-Site Facilities Manager

616-842-0700 ext. 200

Heidi Mathews


616-842-0700 ext. 201

Cheryl Kastas 

Associate Collection Manager 

(616) 842-0700 ext. 202

Other local institutions for research:

Grand Valley State University Special Collections

Loutit District Library Local History & Genealogy

Ottawa County Register of Deeds

Spring Lake District Library Local History


Michigan Resources

Clarke Historical Library - Central Michigan University

Western Michigan University Archives and Regional History

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