** The Niles History Center remains closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Please continue to check our website for updates.**
Fort Talk Thursdays!
2021 Winter Virtual Lecture Series - Thursdays at 7pm starting January 28
January 28 - "Those Beyond the Walls: An Archaeological Examination of Michilimackinac's Extramural Domestic Settlement, 1750-1781"
Presented by James Dunnigan, Cultural Resource Specialist, HDR, Inc.
February 4 - "Dive into History at Home: French Colonial Blacksmith Shops in VR Museums"
Presented by Jeffrey Nau, Owner, Dracon Works, LLC
February 11 - "Threads Across the Atlantic: Exploring Lead Seals from Fort St. Joseph"
Presented by Catherine Davis, PhD Student, William & Mary
February 18 - "History and Minecraft: Re-Creating the Past in Digital Spaces"
Presented by James Schwaderer, PhD Student, Michigan Technological University and Keweenaw National Historic Park
February 25 - "Educating the Next Generation of Students in Archaeology"
Presented by Sue Reichert, MA Anthropology, Western Michigan University
Zoom link - us02web.zoom.us
For more information, please contact the Niles District Library Program Manager.
Phone: 269-683-8545 ext. 116
Check out our virtual tours!
Chapin Mansion Virtual Tour
Silverbrook Cemetery Virtual Tour
The Niles History Center is located at 508 E. Main Street in historic downtown Niles. The Niles History Center includes the Fort St. Joseph Museum and the Chapin Mansion.
Join the Friends of the Niles District Library and Niles History Center! Membership Form
Fort St. Joseph Museum
Located in the former carriage house of the beautiful Victorian period Chapin Mansion, the museum tells the story of Niles from the prehistoric era to the present.
Fort St. Joseph Museum Visiting Hours:
If you’re missing your daily dose of local history or looking for a local place to visit virtually, the Niles History Center has something for you! While the Fort St. Joseph Museum is closed to the public, the staff is working to carry out its mission remotely. Check out our virtual field trips!
NEW! - Chapin Mansion Virtual Tour
Check out the Niles History Center's new interactive digital tour of the Historic Chapin Mansion!
Virtual visitors can “tour” the house at their own pace. The technology is user-friendly, accessible for anyone with a computer and internet access. The Niles History Center recommends using a computer rather than a smartphone for the best experience. **If using an Android phone we recommend pasting the link in your internet browser.**
Chapin Mansion Virtual Tour
About the Historic Chapin Mansion
Henry and Ruby Chapin constructed their magnificent home in 1882. Donated to the City of Niles in 1933, it served as City Hall and is now administered by the Niles History Center. Guided tours are held from May to December. Special programs and events will take place throughout the year.
The Mansion is now ADA accessible thanks to the completion of our North Porch Project. Funding was provided by the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs, Michigan-based crowdfunding platform, Patronicity, and a matching grant from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation’s (MEDC) Public Spaces Community Places program.
Historic Chapin Mansion Tour Schedule
The Chapin Mansion is now closed for the season. Please check back for more information on the 2020 tour schedule.
Admission is $5 per person and free for ages 12 and under.
May be closed holiday weekends. Please call to confirm hours.
Call 269-845-4054 for Tour Schedules as the Mansion will close periodically for historic restoration.
Look for special events to take place throughout the year.
Renovations are ongoing at the Chapin Mansion!
Future projects include:
Update of heating system
Exterior painting of window frames
You can help be a part of history! Contact Christina Arseneau, Niles History Center to make your donation today.
Have You Visited the Museum Lately?
If you haven't, we would encourage you to do so. Niles has a wonderful, wide ranging history that we can all be proud of. What other town can you think of that has a fort, the Underground Railroad, pictographs by Chief Sitting Bull and a railroad classification yard in its history? Not to mention Rudolph and a two-headed lamb. You'll find these stories and lots more at the museum.