The Marshall Historical Museum at the GAR Hall reopened in fall 2014 with a new emphasis on telling Marshall's stories and featuring items made in Marshall. Focus areas are It Happened in Marshall, Things Made in Marshall, Community Life, and Marshall in the Civil War.
For 2017, there will be special exhibit marking the 100th anniversary of American involvement in World War I. The exhibit includes clothing and equipment used by a soldier from Marshall along with photos and other documents. On display are posters for war bonds and a collection of WWI era sheet music. Jerry Lehmann, historical society vice president, coordinated the exhibit and the sheet music along with trench art made from artillery shells are from his collections.
Featured at the museum entrance is the Hinkle Automatic Theatre, an early 1900s marionette show, that once toured area theaters. It was donated to the Marshall Historical Society by the Steve Trupiano family. Steve's grandfather Frank Hinkle constructed the set and his grandmother Julia Hinkle designed and made clothes for the figures. The marionette show was restored several decades ago by Jim Bryant.
Other interesting items in the museum include a Marshall folding bathtub, a buggy made by Page Brothers Buggy Works, displays of products from Brooks Rupture Appliance Co. and the F. A. Stuart patent mediicine business, furniture and items from the Brewer dry goods store and the bicycle of author John Bellairs.
The GAR Hall was built in 1902 by Marshall Civil War veterans as a meeting place for their organization, the Grand Army of the Republic. The building signage recognizes three soldiers. Calvin Colegrove, a color sergeant (flag bearer), was killed in July 1861 at the First Battle of Bull Run. He was a member of the first volunteer company from Marshall. Originally formed by Capt. DeVille Hubbard, the Marshall Light Guard was part of the the First Michigan Infantry regiment that was greeted by President Abraham Lincoln when it arrived in Washington. It was declared the 'first from the West' in response to the president's call for troops.
Lt. George Woodruff, a West Point graduate from Marshall, was fatally wounded on the third day of the Battle of Gettysburg in July 1863. He commanded a Union artillery battery and was shot from his horse while leading his men in repulsing the famous charge of Confederate General George Pickett. His father, Judge Woodruff, went to Gettysburg and returned his body home where it is buried in Marshall's Oakridge cemetery.
The GAR Hall was obtained by the Marshall Historical Society from the City of Marshall in 1976.
The museum is open 12-4 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays from May through September and by pre-arranged appointment.