Mission & Board

The Mason County Historical Society is a private, non-profit educational organization, formally organized on November 30, 1937.


  • To foster a deeper understanding of and appreciation for Mason County history.
  • To collect, preserve, and present for viewing historically important artifacts, archives, and buildings of the inhabitants of Mason County.
  • To stimulate and encourage the interpretation of Mason County’s past through publications, educational programs, and related historical activities.
  • To cooperate with appropriate individuals, organizations, and institutions on the local and state level in projects and activities which promote and sustain a general interest in history and preservation.


Over the period 2013-2018, the Society will strive to develop a particularly vibrant and interactive relationship with our community and visitors. In pursuit of this goal, the MCHS will:

  • Open the new Port of Ludington Maritime Museum with its professionally designed, interactive exhibits portraying the development of the harbor as an important and continuing force in the social and economic development of the county.
  • Develop an expanded array of programs and attractions at Historic White Pine Village to significantly enhance the visitor’s awareness of all the diverse experiences, occupations, hopes and dreams of county residents, thereby awakening visitors to the importance of being involved in their community.
  • Market both of the Society’s venues so that they become destination attractions for which people will travel at least 50 miles and stay overnight. The Society’s goal is 100,000 visitors to the Society’s two sites over the next five years.
  • Gain national recognition for both Historic White Pine Village and the Port of Ludington Maritime Museum by pursuing American Alliance of Museums accreditation.
  • Insure the financial security of the MCHS by increasing its Endowment to at least $500,000.

The Mason County Historical Society is committed to engaging its community and visitors with experiences that can enhance understanding of our county’s past and help build a better future.


  • Operates Historic White Pine Village
  • Hosts the Mason County Sports Hall of Fame
  • Is developing the Port of Ludington Maritime Museum
  • Maintains an extensive Research Library
  • Maintains Ludington Mural Society murals


James Jensen – President
John Morava – Vice President
Joan Killion – Secretary
Dr. Connie Schwass – Treasurer

Tom Calabretta
John Holcomb
Dr. Kenneth Urban

Board Terms:
Terms expiring 12/31/17: Calabretta, Urban, Killion

Terms expiring 12/31/18: Holcomb, Morava, Jensen

Terms expiring 12/31/19: Schwass


Dr. Rick Plummer

Executive Director


Rebecca Berringer

Managing Director


Eric Harmsen

Port of Ludington Maritime Museum Site Manager


Michelle DeKuiper

Historic White Pine Village Site Manager


Lori Sutherland

Administrative Assistant



The Mason County Historical Society has preserved and celebrated the history of our community since 1937. As we begin 2017—80 years later–those efforts continue, but the environment in which we operate is significantly different than in past years. Our focus today lies in three major areas.

The opening of the Port of Ludington Maritime Museum in June will herald the start of a new and exciting chapter in the life of MCHS. The joining of an historic building (the former U. S. Coast Guard Station is a landmark on the National Register of Historic Places) with state of the art technology, interactive exhibits and authentic artifacts will provide visitors with an experience unlike any other offered in West Michigan, or indeed, in the region.

The maritime history of our area will come alive and be celebrated in this wonderful addition to our community. The architects, the contractors, the exhibit designers, the technicians and many local volunteers are finishing their work and are about to share this treasure with all of us.

As always, we will also continue to celebrate our local history at Historic White Pine Village. Our dedicated staff and volunteers work year-round to maintain and enhance these historic buildings and artifacts to provide the opportunity for our visitors to take a “trip back in time.”

We are exploring new and exciting additions to the Village and we are, with the help of many dedicated volunteers, doing all we can to welcome our guests and make them feel “right at home.”

Another point of emphasis for MCHS in 2017 will be the Research Library in our admissions building. Whether your ancestors came to our community many generations ago, or you are a recent transplant to Mason County, you will find books, newspapers, photos, artifacts, and many other items to tell the story of who we are and what we have done here.

MCHS is currently exploring ways to improve the organization of our Library, upgrade the facilities, and ensure the preservation of these valuable and timeless materials.

Our visitors, our volunteers, our donors, our members, our corporate partners, and indeed the entire community, have been vital to the formation and survival of MCHS. Of course, to meet the challenges, Mason County Historical Society faces in 2017, we will need the continued support of our community. We will do all we can earn that support.

We look forward to 2017 and beyond as we protect, share, and celebrate our history.
Looking back with fond memories and looking forward with anticipation we remain…..

Where History Lives.

James R. Jensen, President, MCHS Board of Directors

A Place Called Ludington

Greetings! Your Mason County Historical Society has been around for 80 years! We were formally organized in November of 1937, but as an octogenarian organization we have not, as Shakespeare suggests of getting on in years, quite reached a “sapless age with weak unable limbs.” We are, in fact, a vibrant, dynamic organization that operates Historic White Pine Village and the Port of Ludington Maritime Museum (opening in June, 2017); we maintain an extensive Research Library (where both historians and area residents alike do investigations for publications and ancestry explorations) and also the Mural Society’s many Paintings; and we host the Mason County Sports Hall of Fame.

Visitors to our museums engage in entertaining and educational exhibits and are met with opportunities to learn about our rich lumbering, maritime, and agricultural past–all in a FUN and exhilarating atmosphere!

If you, like so many area residents say, “I remember going out to White Pine Village years ago–it was so much fun then,” but you haven’t visited us since, please come back to your Village and experience the enjoyment of celebrating our past all over again in new and exciting adventures. If you have never been to our Village, then prepare for a stimulating, thrilling experience.

The visitor experience at our new Port of Ludington Maritime Museum will be exciting, unmatched, interactive, and hands-on! The museum, housed in the revitalized historic 1934 United States Coast Guard Station, preserves and interprets irreplaceable, authentic, one-of-a-kind artifacts. Visitors will experience piloting the celebrated car ferry Pere Marquette 22 into Ludington’s 1934 harbor, meet face-to-face two famed car ferry captains through holographic imagery, and engage in many interactive exhibits throughout the three floors of the museum.

Please bring the entire family and prepare to have FUN!
Dr. Rick Plummer, MCHS Executive Director