THE CONKLIN REED ORGAN MUSEUM
HANOVER, MI 49241
Office 517.563.8927 Weekdays 8:00 am - Noon
The museum is open every Sunday from 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm May-October.
Admission is by donation.
The Conklin Reed Organ Museum proudly displays 99 restored and working antique reed organs in the former school's gymnasium. Some of the organs date back to the mid 1800's. The organs have beautifully crafted wood cases in many styles such as Parlor and Chapel. Visitors to the museum are often treated to the beautiful sounds of these antique instruments.
The Weatherwax Foundation granted more than $26,000 to renovate the organ room in the museum. In addition to the grant money the Harvest Home and Garden Luncheons have raised an additional $13,000 to help with this project.
Hopefully you have heard that the Museum is being completely rewired, bringing the electric up to date. When the wiring in the organ room is complete, the renovations will begin.
This project will be a huge undertaking and it is well under way. Society volunteers moved the organs to two semis that will be housing them during the renovations. It was quite a task to move more than the 100 organs. It is estimated that this project will be completed by the Museum's opening day in May.
The trusses and ceiling will be painted a dark gray, and local painter, Dan Childs, will be painting the walls. Once the painting is completed, the floor will be refinished and new draperies will be hung. In addition to these “upgrades”, the entryway inside the front doors will be an in memoriam for members we have lost, including: Lael Swope, Ray and Alice Pengra, Pat Johnson, and Frances Hartmann.
We have amazing volunteers in all areas of our society. A huge thank you goes to Mary White for helping obtain this grant. Also, a thank you, to Janette Weimer and Chary Krause for meeting with all of the vendors to get this project going in the right direction. In addition to these wonderful ladies, there are many volunteers working behind the scenes to get the room ready.
Mr. Rodney Jantzi's museum video documents his visit to the museum. It features Rodney playing several of the organs, footage from a restoration workshop, and footage of some of the local history exhibits. Watching it will provide an excellent introduction to the museum.
Antique reed organs have a unique sound. Here is a selection of songs played on several of our organs. The organist is Frances Hartmann. These songs and 47 others are available on three CDs found in our gift shop or they may be ordered by contacting the HHAHS office.
The Zella Gilmore Classroom is named in honor a long-time teacher in the school. Furnished with turn-of-the-century pupil desks and the original teacher's desk and chair, the room also features a recitation bench, dunce stool, schoolbooks, slates, maps and children's toys. Portraits of Washington and Linclon that always hung in the classrooms of that period and a 46-star flag help to take visitors back in time. Mrs. Gilmore's upright Steinway piano occupies one corner of the classroom.
The second floor hosts many exhibits of local interest such as the interior of a typical 1900's household, old record playing machines, and a large handmade rug loom among many other antiques.
Of special local interest are a job press and printing equipment from the former Hanover-Horton Local and the Hanover manual telephone switchboard.
Our recently renovated Riske Room showcases local businesses and services and includes such exhibits as a barber chair, local doctors’ equipment, a switchboard and postal sorting desk, a typewriter collection, and fire-fighting gear. In addition, there is a collection of photographs and memorabilia representing the Hanover-Horton area.
The Museum has put together a video of post cards from VanSchoick's Wayside Inn on Round Lake. The post cards are from 1905-1925. The Wayside Inn was a very popular turn of the century "get-a-away".Wayside Inn Video
The museum also boasts of a small gift shop in which the visitor can purchase a variety of quality handmade items. The songs you may have listened to at the beginning of this page, along with 47 others, are also avaliable on three CDs for $10.00 each.
The tour format: A short lecture about the reed organs is followed by a demonstration of playing the different organs. Guests are invited to play and experience the special foot-work of a reed organ. Next is a guided tour of all museum exhibits and the classroom representing the old one-room school house.
Lunches are available at our Heritage Park Event Center for an additional cost and advance reservations. Wagon rides around the 82 acre Heritage Park can also be arranged in advance.
Please allow 1.5 hours for the museum tour. The buildings and restrooms are handicapped accessible except for the 2nd floor of the museum. The price for the guided tour is $5.00 per person, minimum tour is $50.00.
To schedule a tour or for further information, contact Marge Barden at 517.563.2808 or the Museum Office at 517.563.8927 between the hours of 8:00 am and Noon (EST) Monday thru Friday. You may also E-mail Us for information.
Restoration workshops are held under the leadership of Don Glasgow of Archibald, Ohio, Larry Claus of Bellevue, Ohio, John Wise of Clyde, Ohio, and John Hastings of Ellsworth, Michigan. All are very experienced in the field of antique reed organ restoration. Workshops are held one weekend a month. There are currently approximately 45 organs in the workshop in need of various repairs. We work on several organs at a time depending on the participation that session. Typical activities include repairing bellows, replacing valve faces, tuning, cleaning, and basic case restorations. Anyone with an interest in reed organ restoration is welcome to come and learn by doing. Participation requires a Society membership.
Workshops are held on Friday and Saturday from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm at the Herrick Building next to the Museum.
Please email Sharon Folkerth for more information or call her at 517.531.5005.
MLive featured this year's Organ Restoration Workshop with a nice article, pictures, and video. Click the following link to open the MLive article in a separate window. Go to MLive
Restoration Workshops 2017