Grant to Fund Murals Honoring History in Pontiac

Grant to Fund Murals Honoring History in Pontiac

(Lara Mossa, Jan. 27, 2021)

PONTIAC – Oakland History Center will contribute to the Pontiac Transportation Museum and help fund an outdoor mural downtown with a $5,000 grant the Pontiac-based organization received last month.

“There are so many worthwhile historic preservation goals we have,” said Mike McGuinness, executive director of Oakland History Center. “And for so many of them, the biggest challenge is lack of resources. These newfound dollars have brought new opportunity for us to advance these goals.”

Established in 1874 as the Oakland County Pioneer and Historical Society, Oakland History Center is a nonprofit group that works to save and celebrate Oakland County’s local history. Operating out of former Gov. Moses Wisner’s estate on Cesar Chavez Avenue, the agency has a research library, undertakes research projects and offers diverse programming that includes history tours and cemetery walks. Preserving the historic nature of Oak Hill Cemetery on University Drive is also one of the organization’s missions.

While the indoor activities are halted because of the Coronavirus, the center still does virtual tours and history presentations as well as outdoor exercises on the 5-acre property that includes historic buildings, displays and exhibits. Wisner, who was Michigan’s 12th governor from 1859 to 1861, conducted state affairs from his home, which is a national historic site.

Provided by the Pontiac-based Pontiac Community Foundation, Oakland History Center obtained nearly 20,000 votes during a two-week period to win second place in the Pontiac Impact Challenge. Oakland History Center sent daily reminders with emails, calls and texts; used social media; and enlisted members and general fans of the agency to vote, McGuinness said.

“We’re grateful, and it was a rewarding challenge engaging so many community members in boosting our effort,” he added.

One thousand dollars will be given to the Pontiac Transportation Museum, which is being built on Pike Street to laud cars, carriages and other modes of transportation manufactured in Pontiac. In addition, the money will go toward a large outdoor mural in downtown Pontiac that celebrates local history.

Coming up, Oakland History Center plans to hold a virtual presentation on Pontiac Schools’ desegregation on Feb. 18; resume outdoor flea markets in May; and honor Gov. Moses Wisner’s birthday on June 3. The organization is funded through private donations, membership dues, occasional grants and fund-raising events, most of which had to be canceled last year due to the pandemic.

For anyone who has research questions or are interested in the facility or tours, call 248-338-6732 or visit the website at

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