Museum glowing after big week

Times-Herald Newspapers

DEARBORN — The last week of September was a success for the chief curator of the Dearborn Historical Museum.

First, a beer tasting fundraiser brought in twice the anticipated number of guests to the museum, and second, the quarterly magazine for the museum was honored by the state for its content.

The “Party at the Museum” Sept. 27 offered visitors a chance to ask questions about the museum and history of the city, but also sample wine, root beer, and various craft and micro brewery beer and enjoy food being sold by the Detroit BBQ Co. in a party setting.

Jack Tate, who took over as curator last year, said he hoped the fundraiser would draw a crowd of around 500 or 600 to the museum, many perhaps for the first time.

“It was a first-year event, so those were the expectations,” Tate said. “We ordered 816 souvenir glass mugs that we were going to give away to people who bought tickets and attended. I thought he’d have several extras that we would store and sell in the museum shop, but that didn’t happen.”

Tate said that didn’t happen because ticket sales for the party finished at 1,214 and they ran out of mugs during the event. He also said the museum netted a profit of about $6,000 from the event.

“It was very surprising, but it shows the amount of support there is for the museum in the community,” Tate said.

Tate said the museum is planning on hosting another tasting fundraiser next year.

In the wake of the beer-tasting event, Tate learned that the commission’s quarterly magazine, “The Dearborn Historian,” was given a 2013 State History Award from the Historical Society of Michigan at its Annual Meeting and State History Conference.

State History Awards are the highest recognition given by the state’s official historical society.

The magazine was honored in the Newsletters and Websites category and was recognized for the content of the magazine despite the budget issues the museum has faced over the years.

According to the HSM, “The Dearborn Historian continues to uphold high editorial standards and focus its content on original research, delving into such topics as the Dearborn Country Club, a history of Dearborn’s railroad industry, Greenfield Village’s schools and the 225th anniversary of the first permanent settlers of Dearborn.”

Tate said the work of the volunteers in creating content and helping put the magazine together was vital for its publication.

“Not just with the magazine, but overall in the museum, we wouldn’t be anywhere without the help of our volunteers,” Tate said. “They really make a big difference and they are just a fantastic group of people.”

(Bob Oliver can be reached at