St. Charles Museum

How a museum in rural Michigan came back from the brink

ST. CHARLES, MI – In 2009, the St. Charles Area History Museum faced closure after it saw a total of just two dozen visitors for the year.

Flash forward to 2015 and more than 1,000 visitors passed through the doors of the museum in the Saginaw County community of 2,000 residents.

How did it happen?

In 2009, the museum was at risk of losing approximately $10,000 per year in taxpayer funding when new guidelines were brought forth by the county that required the museum to be open for at least two hours a day, three days a week.Watch Full Movie Online Streaming Online and Download

At that point, the museum was operating out of a 650-square foot house and only operated for a few hours on the third Sunday of each month.

“Why have a museum if they’re not going to be open?” asked Kenneth Santa, executive director of the Castle Museum of Saginaw County, which is responsible for distributing the tax dollars that fund museums in Frankenmuth, Bridgeport, Chesaning and St. Charles. “They were in a dire situation.”

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