Our mission is to preserve and share the history of Leelanau County to inspire others to explore and interpret the past for future generations to learn and appreciate.
The Leelanau Historical Society was launched in 1957 by a group of residents dedicated to collecting and preserving Leelanau’s history. Leland, first established in 1853 and later the county seat (1883-2008), seemed the natural location for the Society. When the old county jail became available in 1959, the museum found its first home. Through generous donations and grants, a new museum was built in 1985 and later expanded – and in 2015 expanded again!
The Society is recognized as an established non-profit 501(c)(3) by the federal government and the State of Michigan. Governed by a board of trustees, the Society’s support primarily comes from the generosity of donors from the extended community. Grants from organizations and family foundations, such as the Edmund F. and Virginia B. Ball Foundation, the Norbert and Paula Gits Foundation,and the Tom and Cathy Reahard Family Foundation have helped support the museum’s projects.