How do you travel to get from here to there? Do you drive a car, take the bus, hop a train or fly? Perhaps you prefer walking or hiking or riding a bike? Or maybe you love to cruise the seas.
In the early days of our pioneers, travel was more apt to be on foot or by horseback, stage or buckboard. Rafts and canoes on rivers, canals and lakes were often preferred to the bumpy, dusty ground routes. Early trails became the location of the roads and highways we zoom along today. Former train tracks have become hiking trails and quaint railroad depots are now museums.
“Getting from Here to There” is the theme of this year’s Spring Into the Past tour of the Tri-River Historical Museum Network. Each year the member museums and historical societies set aside the first weekend in May to be open the same days and hours for the convenience of their visitors. Located in Barry, Eaton, Kent, Ionia and Montcalm counties, they extend a warm invitation to bring the family to visit during this annual event.
Museums will display the travel theme in many unique ways, depending on their collections. Some may depict how their own pioneers came to settle their areas and even display the trunks that carried their belongings. Train or toy collections, photo displays, travel clothing and other exhibits may add flavor to show the life and history of their community. Information also travels from here to there, so look for communication exhibits like switchboards, telegraphs or mail delivery.
The covered bridge was a way to get from here to there across the river and is featured in the Averill Historical Museum in Ada which has reopened after its expansion and renovation. The Flat River Historical Museum in Greenville is undergoing construction of a new ramp and entry, so may not be open due to safety concerns. However, the Fighting Falcon Military Museum nearby will be open, so keep Greenville on your list. Tri-River museums from Edmore to Eaton Rapids, Plainfield to Sunfield and parts in between encourage your visits. All are free, but welcome donations of appreciation for their efforts.
This year’s Spring Into the Past tour is May 4th and 5th and hours are 11 am to 5 pm on Saturday and noon to 5 on Sunday. Booklets of information are available at each museum or can be found online at commoncorners.com. A handy map is included so you can plan the best route “Getting from Here to There” to visit several during this special weekend.