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The Way We Were...


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The Royal Oak Historical Society Museum is a
 non profit organization
run by volunteers and funded solely by donations.

Business Owners Circa 1900

Exhibit schedule for 2018.


Remembering Royal Oak

Union School Bell

Guest Column
Don Calder Rembering Royal Oak 1938-2006

Volunteer Information

  Special Events

End of the Civil War

Pancake Breakfast

From Smoke Signals to Smartphones

The Royal Oak Historical Society Museum is ringing in the New Year with an exciting new exhibit titled A journey to the Smartphone. The display highlights all forms of communication, from the most rudimentary to recent developments in digital devices. Attendees will experience how the apps at our fingertips have roots in technology such as television, phonographs, telegraphs and more.

The exhibit's theme invites guests to wander through groupings of unique objects from as far back as the 1800s. Families are encouraged to attend the event and take advantage of its teachable moments. Among displays of radios, cameras and rotary phones, digital natives will have a clearer view of how technical advances truly changed lives ... and have a laugh or two (who knew phones could be shaped like a tennis shoe?)

Ofcourse, no communications exhibit would be complete without including the rich history of newsprint Archives of The Daily Tribune are always available for curious visitors to peruse; the museum boasts issues from 1926 through 1965. Another permanent fixture at the museum, the electrified Victrola, will provide a fitting soundtrack for the interactive exhibit. just ask a docent to choose from the extensive record collection!

Other must-see pieces include vintage typewriters on loan from the Berkley Historical Society Museum, a "magic lantern" and an arrangement of objects emphasizing the evolution of technology in schools. The latter offers a rich opportunity for multigenerational conversations about what students used in classrooms before the Internet and smartphones. Hint: they balanced books, brainpower and multiple devices.

A journey to the Smartphone opens in February 2018, with the Preview Party scheduled for Sunday, Feb. 4 from 2 to 5 p.m. No preregistration is required. Admission to the gala is $5 per person, and free for children 12 and under. Expect refreshments, beverages, finger foods and lively banter.

Karen Turk, Volunteer

The Historical Museum is always looking for
photos of Royal Oak, from the 1800's to the
1980's, to add to our archives. We are seeking
views of businesses, historic homes,
prominent people, and public buildings,
in Royal Oak and along historic
Woodward Ave. 

If you have any photos to share with us
please contact us at the Museum. 

248.439.1501 or via email at: curator@royaloakhistoricalsociety.org

If you would like to submit a column about
Royal Oak history, or growing up in Royal Oak
please contact Muriel by phone at 248.439.1501 or
via email at:

The Royal Oak Historical Society emails:



The Historical Society Museum
at the

Northwood Fire Station
1411 W Webster at Crooks
Royal Oak, MI 48072

Click to View Map

Tuesday, Thursday,
and Saturday
1 p.m. - 4 p.m.

Strangers in a Box

By Pam Harazim

Come look inside this drawer,
In this box I’ve often seen,
At the picture, black and white
Faces proud, still, serene.

I wish I knew the people
These strangers in the box,
Their names and all their memories
Are lost among the socks.

I wonder what their lives were like.
How did they spend their days?
What about their special times?
I’ll never know their ways.

If only someone had taken time
To tell who, what, where and when,
These faces of my heritage
Would come to life again.

Could this become the fate
Of pictures we take today?
The faces and the memories
Someday to be tossed away?

Make time to save your pictures,
Seize the opportunity when it knocks,
Or someday you and yours could be
“The Strangers in the Box.”

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