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Charlevoix's Harsha House Museum - Telling the History of Charlevoix

Experience the classic beauty of Charlevoix by visiting the Charlevoix Historical Society Museum at the Harsha House. Located on State Street in downtown Charlevoix, this Queen Anne-style home helps tell the story of the Harsha family and features an all-new exhibit, The City on Three Lakes, A Maritime History of Charlevoix. The Museum also houses a gift shop featuring a variety of unique souvenirs and original publications. Learn more and become a member today by visiting

Downtown Charlevoix sent some questions to Trevor Dotson, Manager of Operations at the Charlevoix Historical Society, so that we could learn more about this must-see attraction.

Please briefly describe your organization.

The Charlevoix Historical Society's mission is: To enrich Charlevoix culture through preservation, education, and engaging experiences celebrating our history. We tell the history of Charlevoix to the community through exhibits, programs, events, and publications.

What problem does your organization solve?

As our mission statement says, we help "enrich Charlevoix's culture" along with places like the Charlevoix Circle of Arts and the Charlevoix Public Library. We assist property owners, both private and commercial, who are looking for information on their property or buildings. We also assist individuals with genealogy research.

How does your organization enhance the lives of people in Charlevoix?

Telling the history of Charlevoix can instill a sense of pride in one's community. We help evoke memories, which often brings our visitors joy.

Name at least 3 things that your organization has/does that are unlike any other competitor.

  1. We have an extensive photograph collection, which can be viewed by visitors, and many photos can be purchased.

  2. We are actively telling the history of Charlevoix exhibits, programs, events, and publications.

  3. We have the original copy of Ernest Hemingway's marriage certificate to his first wife on display.

Name one service your organization provides that competitors may not.

We sell historic photographs and publications that can only be purchased from our museum store.

What is your background?

I have a Masters degree in Historic Preservation from Eastern Michigan University and before getting my job here at the Historical Society, I worked in Public Safety at Michigan Medicine in Ann Arbor for ten years. I started here in March of 2017, shortly after my wife started her job with the City of Charlevoix, which is what brought us to the area.

What is something about your organization that visitors do not expect?

Many are surprised that we have a full-time employee and that we stay open year-round, albeit with scaled-back hours. We also have three part-time employees!

What is one of your favorite customer testimonials your business has received?

Visitors who are here for genealogy and other research purposes are often surprised by how knowledgeable and helpful we are. Many people compliment us on our professional-looking exhibits as well.

Does your organization participate in any partnerships with other local businesses?

We formed the Cultural Corridor along with the Circle of Arts and Charlevoix Public Library. The three institutions often host collaborative events. We also work with downtown businesses to sell some of our publications including Round Lake Bookstore, The Earl, Weathervane Terrace Inn & Suites, Central Drug Store, and Celeste Murdick's Fudge.

Why did the Charlevoix Historical Society choose to locate in downtown Charlevoix?

The society didn't choose the location, it was actually gifted to them. The house was built in 1892 by Charlevoix businessman and community leader Horace Harsha. Granddaughter Ann Harsha donated the Victorian-style house to the Historical Society in 1979 to be used as a museum.

How has the City of Charlevoix DDA been valuable to your organization? They share and promote our events. Lindsey is the best and deserves more credit for the awesome job she does for downtown businesses! Disclaimer: Trevor is married to Lindsey.

Stay Connected

Address: 103 State Street | Charlevoix, MI

Phone: (231) 547-0373


Membership Program: Members get 15% discount in the store! Join here.

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