Partner with "The Besser" to build a better future


the planetarium into a state-of-the art, full-dome digital sky theater with a complete planetarium renovation


the presentation of exhibit galleries and major collections


cullturally enriching experiences for years to come

An example of the possibilities with a Digital Dome.

Your Support will:

In 1966, over 1,400 people came together in the community to raise money for a planetarium.  

Journey to Reach $500,000


To commemorate the Besser Museum’s 50th Anniversary, the Board of Trustees has launched a capital campaign that will continue to honor and sustain Jesse Besser and our founding members’ original intent for the Besser Museum to be “a living and learning museum which would enrich the educational program in area schools as well as give educational and cultural advantages to the general public.”  The Besser Museum is a private non-profit 501 (c) 3 charitable institution governed by its own member elected Board of Trustees.  The Besser Museum receives no continuing financial support from federal, state, or local government entities or millage.  Through generous support from private donors, museum members, local businesses and foundations, the Besser Museum has been able to offer services at a nominal admission fee, and at many times for free. 

Grants & Other Funding

The Besser Museum has been awarded two matching grants toward the
50th Anniversary Capital Campaign, as well as many individual contributions from community members and businesses.




Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs





The Besser Foundation



The Besser Museum receives no continuing financial support from
federal, state, or local government entities or millages.

Goals for the 50th

Digital Full-Dome Sky Theater

     These funds will be used to update the planetarium with state-of-the-art digital technology system, including lighting, surround sound, and software programming that will create an IMAX experience for audiences of all ages and interests.   The new digital technology will greatly enhance the Besser Museum’s educational curriculum in all three mission disciplines of Art, History and Science. 


     Digital software programs include geology, biology, art, and history.  The technology allows for the Museum to create programming tailored to our community needs, and present full-dome theater movies for edutainment. The technology will allow connections with other planetariums around globe.    

     The Besser Museum will also partner with other northeastern educational institutions and provide access to this new digital technology.

Update Galleries and Signage

     50th Anniversary funds will be used to update galleries and interpretive signage for the museum’s humanities-based exhibits that include:


  • “Peoples of the Lakes and Forests” (Native American Gallery)

  • “Avenue of Shops” (highlighting the various occupational trades and industries that shaped northern Michigan over time)

  • the Maritime exhibit, the Northeast Michigan Farming exhibit

  • the Historic Village exhibit

  • the Michigan Great Lakes Fisheries Heritage exhibit

  • the Northeast Mining Industry exhibit

  • the Fine Art exhibits


     Interpretive signage will be developed to compliment digital programming used in the full-dome theater, providing a more engaging, contextual interpretive experience for visitors of all ages.

Mounting & Framing Art

     50th Anniversary Capital Campaign funds will be used to elevate the arts by properly mounting and framing the vast works of art in the museum’s collection.  The goal is to share these treasured works of art by creating exhibits for the public to enjoy. 


     The Capital funds raised will also allow the Besser Museum to develop traveling art exhibits. This will allow the museum to share with neighboring institutions and promote a wider reach and greater appreciation for arts and cultural in rural northeast Michigan.

Katherine V Fish Tug

     50th Anniversary Capital Campaign funds will be used to complete the conservation of the 1928 Katherine V gill-net fish tug and her 9,700 lb. Kahlenberg diesel engine and create the Michigan Great Lakes Fisheries Heritage exhibit.


     The exhibit will depict the artifacts, devices and dock sites of the commercial fishing industries as it began and matured along the northeast Michigan shores and waters of Lake Huron.  Capital funds will also ensure the continuing conservation and maintenance of the six other historic structures at the museum.

Strengthen the Mission of the Besser Museum

50th Anniversary Capital Campaign funds will be used to strengthen the mission of the Besser Museum and help realize the Museum’s enormous potential as a regional center for satisfying the cultural and educational needs of area residents.   The 50th Anniversary Capital Campaign funds will keep alive the vision of having a regional “living and learning” cultural center in Northeast Michigan for years to come.

Our mission is to collect, preserve, interpret, and exhibit authentic articles and artifacts of art, history, and science to 

inspire curiosity, foster community pride, and cultivate personal legacy.

Besser Museum for Northeast Michigan


Monday - Saturday  -  10 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Sunday  - 12 p.m. - 4 p.m.



491 Johnson Street

Alpena, MI 49707