Chelsea Area Historical Society (CAHS) is a Michigan non-profit 501c3 organization with the purpose of gathering and preserving the Chelsea area’s abundant history. CAHS was organized in 1974 and since that time it has had a nomadic existence, meeting in various locations throughout Chelsea and maintaining temporary historical museums in different locations at varying times.
Through its dedicated members, CAHS has provided a community presence throughout the years with family-friendly events like history festivals, cemetery tours, antique appraisal shows, vintage base ball, and walking tours; offered opportunities for local history education to the area schools, district library patrons, and the community at large; and worked with city officials to celebrate anniversaries, erect historical plaques downtown, and place Chelsea’s downtown on the National Register of Historic Places. Additionally, CAHS researched and purchased two Michigan State Historic Markers for Chelsea- one for the Welfare Building and the other for the 1880 depot. The organization has steadily amassed a collection of artifacts that fill an 11X15 storage unit (where unfortunately it has been housed for nearly three years). CAHS has an archive of more than 2,000 digitized photographs, CHS yearbooks dating to 1921, and numerous newspaper clippings, scrapbooks, and family histories. Rarely a month goes by without a call to the office from a Chelsea resident, distant relative, author, or organization asking for assistance in their historical research.
During its 40 years, CAHS has provided all these services with a volunteer membership, which currently sits near seventy. Just imagine what the organization could accomplish with a permanent office and museum.
Today, CAHS has a vision to provide area residents a dynamic interaction with its history and heritage.To reach its potential and conduct business professionally and consistently, CAHS desires a permanent home for its offices, programs, and collections. Chelsea has a wealth of fascinating history that would be brought to life for the community with a historical museum. Older citizens would relish in displays that remind them of days gone by, while our younger residents would have the opportunity to add to their local history education experience, and visitors would be introduced to the stories that make Chelsea such a unique and appealing community.
The downtown area is the most suitable location due to its period buildings, historical relevance to the community, and foot traffic. A historical museum would become a place of interest to both local residents and visiting tourists.With a home secured, CAHS would be able to create dynamic historical displays documenting Chelsea’s early pioneer history, its industrial past, influential citizens, and the city’s more recent significant history; provide educational programs to members and the public; expand archival and genealogical records and offer more historical research opportunities; provide a consistent meeting place for its members; and create a lasting legitimacy for the community.