The Canton Historical Society and Museum
The Canton Historical Society and Museum located in Canton, Michigan was originally a one-room schoolhouse, which was built in 1884. It showed clearly that the museum was built using Georgian Revival architecture. The one-room schoolhouse was built for grades K-12, which was one of many schoolhouses in the city of Canton, MI. This particular one-room schoolhouse was the last operating schoolhouse in Wayne County, MI, and the schoolhouse was the most popular of the schoolhouses in the area. This old schoolhouse's fate would eventually become that of a historical society and museum for the township of Canton, MI.
The History of the Museum
The Canton Historical Museum was built in 1885 and the architecture of the building clearly was an example of Georgian Revival, which was very popular in the architecture of most one-room schoolhouses. This one-room schoolhouse was the youths' favorite of the schoolhouses in Canton. Every family in Canton wanted their kids to attend that school. As people rushed into Canton during the post-World War II years, schoolhouses began to shut down. The Canton Center School, however was still up and running. It was in 1962 that the one-room schoolhouse had its last graduating class. The Canton Center School was the last operating one-room schoolhouse in Wayne County, Michigan. The future of the school was still at hand.
The one-room schoolhouse was built on the crossroads of Canton Center Road and Heritage Park Road. The museum is located on the southwest corner of the intersection. Dating back to the last ice age, the site of the museum would have been engulfed with water and ice. Canton used to be the shores of what is known today as the Detroit River.
The Museum in Present Day
There were big plans to convert what was once the most popular one-room schoolhouse in Canton into Canton's Historical Society and Museum. This was decided in 1977 by the newly developed Plymouth-Canton School District. The Plymouth-Canton School District decided to donate this great old schoolhouse to the City of Canton for use as a museum. This old schoolhouse, went through several years of renovation by the efforts of the Canton Historical Society. Soon enough, on December 5, 1982, the Canton Historical Museum was finally dedicated.
The Canton Historical Museum is not the only former schoolhouse serving another purpose; others slowly but surely had post-academic uses. They were converted to churches, alternative schooling, or storage space. These newly transformed locations do not necessarily provide education to the community anymore, but they still provide the community with great uses.
What's in the Museum?
Many kids and people who walk through the museum get a first-hand experience of what students were like at the one-room Canton Center Schoolhouse. Everything from old-fashioned desks to the original dunce cap used by students is displayed. The museum has many other interesting facts and documents: old pictures, historical documents, Civil War pension records, genealogical materials, township tax records, and historic kitchen items. The museum features special themes according to the time of year, and changes the setup of the museum accordingly. The exhibits include clothing, jewelry, books, tools, toys, furniture/furnishings, textiles, and kitchen goods.
- Wilson, Diane F. "Early Education In One Roomed Schools." Canton Sesquicentennial [Livonia] 44+. Print.
- Official Website The Canton Historical Society.
- http://www.pccs.k12.mi.us/. This is the official website for the Plymouth-Canton Community Schools.
- Van Dusen, Gerald C. Images of America: Canton Township. Chicago: Arcadia Publishing, 2006. 116. Paperback ISBN 0-7385-4098-6.