We love finding small local museums with big historic significance when we take a vacation. When we were planning our 2400-mile road trip, we found the Reed City Heritage Museum formerly known as The Old Rugged Cross Museum in Reed City, Michigan. I mentioned to my Mom that we were going to visit and discovered that one of the local museum docents is related to one of our family members. What an honor to not only get to tour the museum but also to find a new personal connection.
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The Old Rugged Cross Museum
One of the most well-known hymns of our heritage is The Old Rugged Cross. This classic hymn was written in 1912 by Rev. George Bennard who lived and retired in Reed City. The Museum is home to George Bennard’s guitar and piano as well as many pieces of history of his family and the local area.
One of the museum volunteers gave us a personal tour of the museum and shared some of his personal stories and memories of Rev. George Bennard and family.
The guitar that was owned by Rev George Bennard is not typically allowed to be played but my daughter was honored to be able to play the original hymn The Old Rugged Cross.
The museum volunteers allow visitors to play the Bennard’s piano and many visitors love to play their favorite hymns on this piano that has such a rich heritage. What special moments as we enjoyed playing, singing and sharing memories of the hymns that have shaped our Christian heritage.
Not only does the Reed City Heritage Museum feature the history of The Old Rugged Cross but it also shows life in the Reed City Area before 1900: a dining room, kitchen, parlor, bedroom, office with items from historic businesses, and a clothing room.
There are displays of early farm equipment, shop tools, models of early logging operations, artifacts, and equipment from the factory of Michigan Cottage Cheese, and other antiques.
Do you love the classic hymn The Old Rugged Cross? What are some other historic places you have visited that have connections to our Christian heritage? I’d love to hear!
Find the Museum:
138 W Slosson Ave.,
Reed City, Michigan
Contact the Reed City Heritage Museum for tour times.
*There is no admission charge but donations are accepted.