Liberty Hyde Bailey Museum

A National Historic Site
~ Birthsite of Dr. Liberty Hyde Bailey, America's Father of Modern Horticulture ~
museum portrait of bailey
museum winter

Constructed in 1857 by Liberty Hyde Bailey Sr., the museum is one of the oldest standing homes in South Haven, Michigan and was part of the Bailey farm that was some 80 acres. The farm was deemed to have one of the finest fruit orchards in Michigan and was recognized by the Michigan Pomological Society for the years 1873, 1875 and 1877.

In 1918, the farm was purchased by pioneer fruit grower Frank E. Warner, an authority on fruit farming. Warner made the Bailey house his home until his death in 1926.

In 1937, through the generosity of Mr. and Mrs. Clifton B. Charles of Bangor, Michigan, this property was obtained from the heirs of Frank E. Warner and presented to the city of South Haven as a memorial to Dr. Bailey. It holds many items used by the Bailey family. Currently, the museum is in the process of restoring the front parlor and birthing room.

original home
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main exhibit

Museum Exhibits

The historic homestead features a permanent exhibit detailing the life of horticulturalist-philosopher Liberty Hyde Bailey, Jr. and a seasonal special exhibit on a topic relevant to Bailey's life and work. Details on the special exhibit can be found here.

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Museum Library

The museum's collection contains a large selection of out-of-print books written or edited by Bailey, magazines, bulletins, encyclopedias, books from Bailey's personal library, and correspondence written by Liberty Hyde Bailey. The collection consists of a large reading library that is open to the public, as well as a rare books collection that can be accessed on request.

Museum Library Collection (PDF)

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Living Collections

The museum grounds exhibit period gardens relevant to Bailey’s horticultural interests and research, including an heirloom-variety kitchen garden, a nature trail, three trees (black walnut, Norwegian spruce, and sugar maple) planted by the Baileys, and special plots dedicated to Dianthus, Carex, and other genera to which Bailey dedicated his lifework. The ongoing development of the museum’s living collections serves a crucial role in telling the story of Bailey’s significant contributions to horticultural knowledge.


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Blacksmith Shop & Carriage Barn

Built approximately in 1867, this blacksmith shop once stood on Broadway Street in South Haven and was moved to the museum property for preservation. Artifacts pertinent to Bailey's experience of living on a sustainable nineteenth-century farm are housed in this building.

carriage barn

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