The Zeeland Historical Society is delighted to announce that we will be opening a Zeeland Welcome Center at the Dekker Huis Museum on June 15. The open house will be from 3:30-6:30 with a ribbon cutting. We will have products and samplings from local businesses.
Museums are places of connection. At the Zeeland Historical Society, we preserve our history so that our children can discover their roots. We curate thoughtful exhibits so that visitors can be inspired to reflect on the world around them. We teach about the past so that this understanding can allow us to create better futures. This calling to create connections is what drove the Zeeland Historical Society to open the Zeeland Welcome Center. The Zeeland Welcome Center will serve as the first stop for tourists and locals alike who are seeking to deeply connect with our community.
Compliment to Zeeland’s Development
Zeeland is on the verge to evolve an already vibrant downtown into an expanded district with snow melt, additional housing, and more retail. Many projects are underway, including the adaptive restoration of the historic Sligh Furniture factory, snow melt for the sidewalks, and other new developments.
The Zeeland Welcome Center partners with these plans to enhance the walkability and accessibility of downtown Zeeland.
Heritage Design for Future Hospitality
The Zeeland Welcome Center is housed in the Dekker Huis Museum, which has been showcasing local history in downtown Zeeland for 47 years. It features the preserved 1876 home of early residents Dirk and Leuntje Dekker as well as other exhibits on local businesses, people, and places.
Funding from Zeeland Board of Public Works supported renovating the gallery and hospitality space which enhanced the dual use of the space. It also enhanced the gallery space as a blank canvas for temporary exhibitions.
The renovation further nods to mid-century modern design due to the rich heritage of this significant movement in West Michigan. MillerKnoll donated much of the furniture for the space including pieces from Herman Miller designers Ray and Charles Eames and George Nelson, highlighting a Zeeland-born company at the forefront of the Welcome Center. The Welcome Center will be launched along with a temporary exhibit on the history of Herman Miller that run from June-December 2023.
Connection for Tourists and Locals Alike
The Zeeland Welcome Center serves as partner and connection point for businesses, individuals, and community groups. It will host information on churches, restaurants, and local events for anyone seeking a comprehensive list. Future resources will be developed based on inquiry data.
Self-guided tours will be available including the Zeeland Downtown Walking Tour and Veneklassen Brick Driving Tour. How often have you been walking or driving and see a building or feature that makes you wonder? These tours will guide you to understand the built environment around Zeeland and the significance of the buildings.
Always Available Online
The Zeeland Welcome Center is available online at zeelandmi.org. This website includes information on restaurants, churches, and other attractions. In the digital age, we determined that a digital presence would be necessary to accompany the physical space. This website and the walking tours were funded by a grant from the Macatawa Area Coordinating Council.
Connection is at the Center
West Michigan is well known for fostering creative partnerships for the betterment of the community. The Zeeland Welcome Center will be a place of connection and partnership. For example, it will be a place that the Holland Visitor’s Bureau can direct visitors seeking information on Zeeland. It is a collaboration with the City of Zeeland to partner with their fantastic events, downtown district, and planned development. It is a place for Zeeland residents to learn more about their community and for Zeeland visitors to have a meaningful experience. Feel the Zeel!
Our Historic Properties:
Dekker Huis Museum
37 East Main Ave, Zeeland, MI
1881 New Groningen Schoolhouse
10537 Paw Paw Dr, Zeeland, MI
MAILING ADDRESS: Zeeland Historical Society | PO Box 165 | Zeeland, MI 49464
PHONE: (616) 772-4079