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Women's historical center moves to mall

woman holding black curtain
Kevin Lavery
Michigan Women's Historical Center and Hall of Fame interim executive director Caitlyn Perry Dial is preparing for the big move to the Meridian Mall in Okemos in April.

The Hall of Fame will host its next induction ceremony in a brand new location. In April, the organization will move out of the historic Cooley-Haze House in Lansing and into a space in the Meridian Mall in Okemos.



On March 8, the Michigan Women’s Historical Center and Hall of Fame in Lansing will unveil 10 plaques honoring its 2016 inductees. This year’s awardees included MSU president Lou Anna K. Simon and Motown legend Diana Ross.


WKAR’s Kevin Lavery spoke with interim executive director Caitlyn Perry Dial to learn more.


Caitlyn Perry Dial:

Yes, exactly...that’s the biggest reaction I’ve heard.  It makes sense, though.  Our current site lacks foot traffic, has limited ADA accessibility and parking.  The (Meridian) mall offers all those things.  We’re gaining a lot in the “pro column.”

I think being Michigan’s only women’s history museum will make us a novelty to come visit us.  While you’re walking through the mall you’ll see us, be curious, and learn something about some incredible Michigan women.

I love telling the story of Sarah Emma Edmonds.  She was a Civil War soldier.  Instead of helping as a nurse or on the home front, Edmonds decided to dress as a man, take on the name Franklin Thompson and fight with the Michigan 2nd Infantry.  Twenty years later, she applied to the federal government for veterans’ benefits...and she got them!

I’m excited about this new location (at the mall), because we’re running out of space at our current site.  In this space, there’s a real potential to expand on women’s stories and add new ones.

Our new location in this space will bring life into this space.  We want everyone to be welcome here.


Kevin Lavery is a general assignment reporter and occasional local host for Morning Edition and All Things considered.
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