Sturgis Historical Museum and Model Train Exhibit Open This Summer


With summer comes the opening of the Sturgis Historical Museum at the depot.

The season kicks off this weekend with special public opening hours from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.

Regular summer hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday; 10am-2pm Saturday.

In addition to the permanent exhibitions relating the history of the region, other exhibitions are regularly set up. New this season are the Sturgis Fire Department Commemorations, several Dam Celebrations, the Sturgis Area Community Foundation and the Sturgis Women’s Club.

The Freight House, just south of The Depot, will also be open with a gift shop featuring everything Sturgis and Sturgis Area Model Railroaders roll on their extensive set.

The 14-member railroad club laid 800 feet of model railroad track with 100 switches, roundhouses, several trains, and various communities along the lines.

The town of Sturgis – represented by a model from The Depot and Strand Theater – are highlights. Absorbing all the miniature details might require more than one visit.

Members of the railway club, controlling the trains from their mobile phones, will also share their knowledge. Every member contributed something to the display and most, endless hours building the set, building and painting the tiny structures that lay the tracks.

Bill Haack, speaks on behalf of all members, saying their club has been generously supported by the Franks Family Foundation and the Sturgis Historical Museum.

“No club east of the Mississippi has been treated as well as we have been,” Haack said.

Everyone realized the value of the model train club. They now have a place to share their decor with the public and it creates an added attraction for the museum – very fitting as it is housed in the historic depot.

Haack also credits Doug VanMeter for representing Sturgis-area model railroaders well while serving on the museum’s board.

The Sturgis Historical Museum and The Freight House are open to the community, by donation.

This fall, Oak Lawn Cemetery tours will be held on September 10 and 24. The historical society selects outstanding Sturgis residents buried at Oak Lawn. The highlights of their lives are portrayed by local actors. Tours are available by reservation only.

Volunteers and staff are ready to welcome guests and include Bill Haack of Sturgis Area Model Railroaders, Jackie Persing of the Sturgis Historical Society Board of Directors, and Amelia Earl, as museum director while Jenifer Blouin Policelli is on maternity leave.
Members of Sturgis Area Model Railroaders include Bill Haack, James Reckers, Robert Pufall, Doug VanMeter and Randy Yoemans.  They laid 800 feet of track and created communities on the vast plateau of The Freight House at the Sturgis Historical Museum.

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Patrick F. Williams