NEGAUNEE TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WJMN) – The Michigan Iron Industry Museum is now a sub-unit of Van Riper State Park under the management of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR), according to an announcement from the DNR on Thursday. The DNR says the move will allow the museum access to funding for facility improvements and grounds maintenance.

The Michigan History Center (MCH), a division of the DNR, will continue to manage the museum’s exhibits, historical interpretation, and programming. Other management of the museum will transfer from MCH to the DNR’s Parks and Recreation Division.

The DNR says the decision to link the MCH museum with the Parks and Recreation Division was made by DNR Director Dan Eichinger under a land use order signed at a Michigan Natural Resources Commission meeting in Lansing on Thursday.

For visitors, a Recreation Passport will now be required to visit the museum. The passports cost $12 per year for most vehicles and $6 for motorcycles, granting Michigan-registered vehicles year-round access to Michigan’s 103 state parks, historic sites within state parks, 1,300 state-managed boating access sites, state forest campgrounds and parking at trailheads.

The new museum management model will mirror that of other Michigan History Center historic sites located within Fayette, Fort Wilkins, Hartwick Pines, North Higgins Lake, Sanilac, Tawas Point and Cambridge Junction state parks.

The museum is located at the site of historical wrought iron manufacturing from local ore between 1848-1855. The Michigan iron industry continues to produce about 20% of the iron ore mined in the United States today.

You can learn more about the museum here.