Formerly the Muskegon County Museum, the Lakeshore Museum Center devotes space to the influences that formed this portion of Michigan. Some exhibits showcase fish, coral and animals that inhabited this region 400 million years ago; others reveal how Ice Age glaciers carved the state's distinctive mitten shape. The lion’s share of exhibitions rely on diorama presentations to display artifacts, including some from nearby dune and forest habitats. The museum allocates about half its square footage to temporary exhibits. We took in an interesting display about Joe Beyrle, a Muskegon WWII vet who fought for the United States, parachuted behind Russian lines and after being rescued by the natives, fought with the Russian army against the Germans. Interactive displays also decode secrets of science, health and nutrition for young visitors.
The center also manages the Hackley and Hume Historic Site, the Scolnik House of the Depression Era and the Fire Barn Museum. Only the Hackley and Hume Houses charge admission: $5 for a tour of both homes (open May through October). Everything else is free.