The Detroit Historical Society has been around for more than 100 years, working tirelessly to ensure the preservation of the city’s history and engage metro Detroiters in the events that helped shape our lives as we know them. As the Detroit Historical Society protects our past, they’re also looking to the future – a clean future. 

The Detroit Historical Museum in Midtown and the Dossin Great Lakes Museum on Belle Isle both recently enrolled in DTE’s MIGreenPower program to make their operations more sustainable. Through their enrollment, the museums are attributing a percentage of their electricity use to DTE’s Michigan-based wind and solar parks. 

“As a large institution, we try to do things that show leadership,” said Rebecca Salminen-Witt, Chief Strategy and Marketing Officer for the Detroit Historical Society. “Sustainability issues of all kinds are important to us, and because we are a public entity with a lot of visitors, we have the opportunity to walk the walk, set the precedent and be as energy conscious as possible.” 

Enrolling in MIGreenPower is a major component of a series of sustainability initiatives the Detroit Historical Society is undertaking. They’re currently in the process of switching all the museum lights to more efficient options, a task Rebecca says is particularly relevant for their purposes.  

“Lights in museums are very important in terms of both protecting and displaying the artifacts,” said Rebecca. “Lighting is a huge indicator of what the visitor experience is going to be like. When you see an object and it’s lit beautifully – especially the smaller or older artifacts – it changes the perception of that object completely.” 

The Detroit Historical Society is also preparing to install electric vehicle charging stations in the museum parking lots. In a way, this brings them full circle, as the museum has electric vehicles in their collection from over 100 years ago. It also speaks to the Detroit Historical Society’s vision – to integrate the past with the present while taking steps toward a brighter future. 

“As an organization that is firmly steeped in history, we want the work we do right now to be looked back on kindly,” said Rebecca. “We’re very cognizant that everything we do today is making history for tomorrow. This is the era where small improvements can be instrumental in changing the future.”