The Saginaw Valley has been home to people in Michigan for over 11,000 years. This long span of human occupation has resulted in a rich and complex archaeological record. The Historical Society of Saginaw County is devoted to protecting, preserving, studying, and sharing this record, tasks which are vital if we are to further our understanding and appreciation of the previous inhabitants of this region and the communities they formed.
The Historical Society is engaged in ongoing efforts to document, analyze, and record archaeological materials held in our collection and in private collections, to conduct field surveys designed to find and document archaeological sites, and to conduct archaeological excavations to learn more information about the former occupants of the Saginaw Valley. Our fieldwork currently focuses on the archaeology of the Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge, located near the center of the Saginaw Valley.
The Historical Society maintains and operates an archaeological repository for the long-term storage and protection of its archaeological collections. In 1983, a Cooperative Agreement with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service made the Historical Society the only institution in the region officially designated as a repository for archaeological material derived from the Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge. This helps to keep important archaeological material locally available for scientific research and exhibition.
It is important to us to share what we, and others, have learned about the archaeology of the Saginaw Valley. To this end, are proud to have developed “Revealing Our Buried Past: Archaeology of the Saginaw Valley”. Using artifacts from the museum’s collection, material derived from our fieldwork in the Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge, text panels, a video, and a model of a typical excavation, this permanent exhibit teaches museum visitors what archaeology is, why it’s important, some of the methods and techniques used in archaeology, and what we have learned about the archaeology of the Saginaw Valley. A portion of the exhibit is dedicated to highlighting recent donations or “featured collections”.