Past Events

Holiday Market

Make sure our Holiday Market is on your calendar! We’ve gathered an eclectic mix of makers and artists to showcase their talents and wares for some unique holiday shopping. Support local artists and be sure to join us at the Holiday Market to explore a curated market of unique Michigan made products.

Moons: Worlds of Mystery

Moons: Worlds of Mystery immerses you in the amazing diversity of moons and the important roles they play in shaping our solar system. In many ways moons can be more interesting than planets and just as different from one another. Some moons have water, some are volcanically active, and some even have great lakes of methane. Join us at the Hurst Planetarium as we learn about the vast topic of moons.

Imagine the Moon

The Moon has had impactful meaning throughout human history. Inspiring creativity and folktales alike. The Moon has also served a practical purpose in keeping of the seasons or telling farmers when to harvest, and still effects our lives today as it produces the tides of the ocean. Our Moon, Luna, is truly one of the most fascinating celestial objects in the night sky. Join us at the Hurst Planetarium for Imagine the Moon as we dive into the cultural and historical values of the Moon.

Eco-Art with Grant Maniér

Eco Art is an art genre that takes recycled materials and uses them to create recycled art. Featured Horizon artist Grant Maniér will be on hand to facilitate this Eco-Art Presentation, which helps to raise awareness of special artistic talents and environmental responsibility. The ticket price includes the presentation, art kit, and admission to the museum/galleries.

Horizon Exhibit Opening Reception

The Ella Sharp Museum is thrilled to be the premier location for this amazing new traveling exhibition from the Museum of Special Art, (MOSA). The Horizon Exhibition features an eclectic collection of realistic, modern and abstract works from 18 different artists from across the U.S., Spain, and Canada. This exhibition is one that will truly leave you inspired as our community celebrates the artistic gifts and talents of artists with disabilities. The Ella Sharp Museum is dedicated to embracing and sharing artwork from all people. This exhibition is an example of inclusivity of work from a variety of artists of all ages with various experiences and abilities. Beer, wine and Hors d’oeuvres will be served as you enjoy the very special exhibit.

Toddler Tour: How People Make Things

Join the Ella Sharp Museum as we dive into the amazing world of manufacturing to discover just how important the story of our manufacturers is to all of us. We will explore the factory floor, seeing how things are cut, molded, deformed, and assembled to create the every day objects we use today!

Ella’s Halloween Bash

Ella’s Halloween Bash is the perfect October event for all ages! We’re hosting a jam-packed day of trick-and-treat activities on the museum’s grounds and inside too. Admission includes all museum exhibits, the planetarium Ooky Spooky Light Show, tours of the Hillside Farmhouse as available, and more.

A Walk Through Jackson’s Past

Please join us for a guided tour through Jackson’s oldest cemetery, Mt. Evergreen Cemetery. You will hear about some of Jackson’s famous families and their stories including Ella Merriman Sharp, Austin Blair, William Sparks and some not as famous families such as Col. Christian Rath, Dr. Ira C. Backus and Lucy Thurman. This rich history will take us back to the first child born in Jackson that survived to adulthood, through the Civil War and the creation of the Cascades Falls. This is a physical walk on a dirt path, up and down hills. This program is intended for people ages 8 and above.

Ooky Spooky Light Show

Get ready for laser lights and musical pizzaz in the Hurst Planetarium! Enjoy 11 Halloween classics, including Ghost Busters, Monster Mash and Thriller, expertly choreographed with dancing lights and graphics across the dome. Great for ages 6 and older, it’s a best bet when it comes to Halloween fun in Jackson.

Volunteer Open House & Training

Regularly scheduled volunteer meetings are every fourth Wednesday of the month at 10:30 am and 5:30 pm.  Join us in our Community Room to learn more about upcoming exhibits, programs and special events coming to the Ella Sharp Museum. These informal meetings run for approximately 30-60 minutes. We’d love for interested friends and existing volunteers to be a part of the fun.

A Walk Through Jackson’s Past

Please join us for a guided tour through Jackson’s oldest cemetery, Mt. Evergreen Cemetery. You will hear about some of Jackson’s famous families and their stories including Ella Merriman Sharp, Austin Blair, William Sparks and some not as famous families such as Col. Christian Rath, Dr. Ira C. Backus and Lucy Thurman. This rich history will take us back to the first child born in Jackson that survived to adulthood, through the Civil War and the creation of the Cascades Falls. This is a physical walk on a dirt path, up and down hills. This program is intended for people ages 8 and above.

Toddler Tour: Small Wonders – Special Exhibit

Giant colorful bugs! Take your kiddos into you into a hidden world never seen with an educator-led guided tour. Part art, part science, this larger-than-life-exhibition will inspire your natural curiosity to understand the form, function, and diversity of nature. From bees to moths and beetles (oh my!), all ages appreciate this world in a whole new way.

Space Aliens: Looking for Life in the Universe

Is life out there? how would we know? What are the signs to look for? If you have ever wondered about life somewhere else in the universe, join us at the Hurst planetarium as we attempt to answer these questions.

Spooky Space: Cosmic Connections to Halloween

Would you like to meet the stars of Halloween? Monsters, zombies, ghosts and their far more terrible counterparts in space? Oh yes, space has its monsters: black holes, zombie stars, and spectacular ghostly nebulae!

Member, Teacher, & Donor Appreciation Night

Join us for a fun evening with our new exhibit How People Make Things, planetarium shows, refreshments and unique demonstrations.

Cemetery Tour Training

Learn how to give historic, guided tours through Jackson’s oldest cemetery, Mt. Evergreen Cemetery and be a Volunteer docent at the Ella Sharp Museum. We need your help to make our “Walk Through Jackson’s Past” Cemetery Tour the best Halloween event in Jackson. We’ll review scripts and you’ll learn how to present the city’s rich history for the guided Cemetery Tours on October 19.

Life: A Cosmic Story

A Cosmic Story tells the 14-billion-year saga of how we came to be. It’s a journey from the microscopic view inside a plant cell to the vastness of our universe populated by billions of galaxies swirling in space.

Patio Party

Musical guest The Detroit Social Club along with Bright Walls’ Board Member, Clay McAndrews, will energize August’s Patio Party scene with ‘Creative Change in the Community.’ A cash bar will be available and Sylvia’s Catering says, “Come hungry to this artistic happy hour.” Patio Parties are free for adult members and $10 per person for non-members. Cost: Free for members and kids 10 and under (with adult). Non-members – $10 per person. Limited capacity – RSVP required.

Volunteer Open House & Training

Regularly scheduled volunteer meetings are back every second and fourth Wednesday of the month at 10:30 am and 5:30 pm. Join us in our Community Room to learn more about upcoming exhibits, programs and special events coming to the Ella Sharp Museum. These informal meetings run for approximately 30-60 minutes. We’d love for interested friends and existing volunteers to be a part of the fun.

Ice Cream Social With Larger-than-life Bugs From Around The World

Mark your calendars to celebrate our newest special exhibit, Small Wonders: Insects in Focus, with an ice cream social and loads of bug-themed activities such as crafty antenna making, live and acrylic insect viewing (complete with hissing cockroaches), and more.

Dark: Understanding Dark Matter

How do you study something you cannot see? Join us in the Hurst Planetarium to explore Dark Matter, the invisible glue that holds the universe together. Using immersive simulations, calculated with the world’s fastest supercomputers along with a touch of humanity, we’ll bring you to the forefront of contemporary astronomy for this 80% missing piece of the Universe.

Toddler Tour: One World, One Sky

It’s never too early to start visiting museums! Join us for a monthly toddler tour that highlights either our featured exhibits or the Hurst Planetarium. Themes change every month. Back by popular demand, this month’s experience includes the planetarium show Sesame Street’s One World, One Sky and a hands-on craft specially designed for ages 2-5.The program is approximately 45 minutes in duration and is limited to 30 participants.

Summer Ceramics Classes

Experience the excitement of transforming clay into functional pieces and works of art. Create at your own pace, with fellow students, or utilize the class instructor for individualized education. Ceramic methods practiced will include: wheel throwing, hand-building, slab work, tool tech, glazing methods, firing knowledge and more.

Patio Party

With a focus on history and ‘Making a Difference,’ July’s Patio Party guests can meet our guest honor, Jackson’s Mayor Daniel Mahoney, while listening to the sounds of Larry Sumner Jr. and enjoying tacos and nacho salad from Shorties Sweet Eats & Treats Catering. A cash bar is also available. Cost: Free for members and kids 10 and under (with adult). Non-members – $10 per person. Limited capacity – RSVP required.

From Dream to Discovery: Inside NASA

When humans dare to dream, we create truly amazing things. Join us in the Hurst Planetarium for an exclusive look into NASA’s latest photos from the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST). See why NASA says images from the world’s largest and most powerful space telescope usher in ‘dawn of new era in astronomy’ and get your out-of-this-world questions answered by Ella Sharp Museum’s astrophysicist, Travis Marlow, in this special presentation.

Hot Air Jubilee

Celebrate the Hot Air Jubilee at the Ella Sharp Museum with a variety of activities around the grounds and in the museum. We’ll be open with special 4 p.m. – 9 p.m. hours on Friday and Saturday for the Festival. Themed activities include Hurst Planetarium shows every half hour, making hot air balloon replicas in Exploration Stations and traveling back through time with Hillside Farmhouse tours on the hour. Plus, guests can experience Ella Sharp Museum’s five galleries of changing art, science and history exhibits.

Public Planetarium Show: Destination Solar System

The year is 2096. Space tourism is booming, and you’ve signed up for a quick trip around the Solar System with Space Express Tours! Space Express Tours⁠, the first tour company in deep space⁠, offers a variety of adventures including its most popular trip, Destination Solar System. This out-of-this world jaunt takes place on board the fastest ship in the Space Express fleet and is the only vehicle equipped with Space Jump™ technology.

Toddler Tour: One World, One Sky

It’s never too early to start visiting museums – especially ones with planetariums! Bring your little ones to the Hurst Planetarium for an out-of-this-world Sesame Street adventure with Big Bird, Elmo and Elmo’s friend, Hu Hu Zhu, from China. Our Toddler Tours include an art project and snack too for an exciting young learner introduction!

Public Planetarium Show: From Earth to the Universe

The night sky, both beautiful and mysterious, has inspired awe and been the subject of campfire stories, and ancient myths for as long as there have been people. A desire to comprehend the Universe may well be humanity’s oldest shared intellectual experience. Yet only recently have we truly begun to grasp our place in the vast cosmos. To learn about this journey of celestial discovery, from the theories of the ancient Greek astronomers to today’s grandest telescopes, we invite you to experience From Earth to the Universe.

Art, Beer, & Wine Festival

THANK YOU for making our 17th Annual Art, Beer & Wine Festival presented by County National Bank a huge success. Together, we all make the UNITY in CommUNITY. Our Jackson, MI museum is grateful for:

  • Dedicated sponsors and supporters who believe in us – they are the backbone for making this tradition possible
  • Amazing Michigan beer, wine and art vendors – the Festival’s shining stars needed to celebrate year-after-year
  • Hundreds of volunteers who selflessly help with setup, takedown and drink pouring and more
  • Enticing eats from food trucks and savvy food vendors
  • Great music that kept the crowds energized to party and shop
  • Our guests enjoying the Festival and supporting the Ella Sharp Museum

Art Beer & Stein – Mug Making Workshop

Get ready for Jackson’s Art, Beer & Wine Festival by crafting a mug or stein of your own! Come explore your creativity with clay and remember your experience at Ella Sharp with a functional vessel that’s yours to keep. In this 1.5 hour workshop you will create a custom vessel using clay and various hand tools. One drink ticket is included in the price of this workshop.

The Science of Star Wars

From ice planets and ion cannons to binary star systems and bizarre beasts – “Star Wars” is packed with strange worlds and even stranger science. Anything is possible in a galaxy far, far away – but is the science of Star Wars possible in our universe? Join the Hurst Planetarium on May 4th at 6:00 PM as we explore the truth behind the science of Star Wars.

Jackson County Museum Day

Join us in participating in Jackson County Museum Day on May 7, 2022 from 10 am – 4 pm! Visitors to Ella Sharp Museum can enjoy the museum galleries, historic farm lane, a show in the Hurst Planetarium, enjoy a Hillside Farmhouse tour and freshly popped popcorn from our historic popcorn wagon, Popcorn Charlie. Planetarium shows and Farmhouse tours will be offered every hour on the hour.

Public Planetarium Show: Chasing the Ghost Particle

Deep in the ice at the heart of Antarctica, IceCube, the biggest and strangest detector in the world waits for mysterious messengers from the cosmos. In this 30-minute planetarium show, learn how scientists are using tiny and elusive particles called neutrinos to explore the most extreme places in the universe – from exploding stars to black holes!

Public Planetarium Show: Back to the Moon, For Good

In honor of Black History Month, join Ella Sharp Museum for a planetarium show celebrating African American contributions to space exploration, past and present. Then, enjoy our feature show, “Back to the Moon, for Good”. Learn the history of humanities previous visits to our lunar neighbor and experience current efforts to get back to the moon – this time, for good.

Toddler Tour: Clocks!

It’s never too early to start visiting museums! Join us for a toddler tour exploring our collection and gallery of clocks from all around the world!

Romance in the Stars

The world of science contains many stories of forbidden love and romance. Join the Hurst Planetarium for a one of a kind Valentine’s Day experience, as we tour Earth, our galaxy, and beyond in search of romantic tales.

Public Planetarium Show: Back to the Moon, For Good

In honor of Martin Luther King Jr Day, join Ella Sharp Museum for a FREE planetarium show celebrating African American contributions to space exploration, past and present. Then, enjoy our feature show, “Back to the Moon, for Good”. Learn the history of humanities previous visits to our lunar neighbor and experience current efforts to get back to the moon – this time, for good.

Winter Break Planetarium Shows: Let It Snow

Ella Sharp Museum and Hurst Planetarium are celebrating the holidays with daily showings of Let It Snow, an animated musical of Christmas and holiday songs for the whole family. Featured music from Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, the Trans Siberian Orchestra, and more! Open to all ages. Includes a night sky tour of the Jackson winter night sky.

Wings of Winter

Fly on over to Ella Sharp Museum this December for the return of the Michigan Avian Experience and their amazing birds. This drop-in program is the perfect opportunity to meet some of Michigan’s birds up close and personal.

Holiday Candlelight Tour

Celebrate the Holiday and traditions during a historical candlelit tour of the Ella Sharp Museum’s grounds. The evening includes a tour of the decorated Hillside Farmhouse.

Toddler Tours: Let it Snow in the Planetarium

It’s never too early to start visiting museums! Join us this holiday season for a showing of “Let It Snow” in the Hurst Planetarium. “Let it Snow” features classic Christmas songs set along 3d animations. This experience includes a hands-on craft and is specially designed for ages 2-5. The program is approximately 45 minutes in duration and is limited to approximately 30 participants.

Planetarium Show: The Sun, Our Living Star

As we head in to winter, let’s heat up with our stellar, the Sun! It is our nearest star and our planet’s powerhouse, the source of the energy that drives our winds, our weather and all life. The passage of the Sun’s fiery disc across the sky — day by day, month by month — was the only way to keep track of time for countless past civilizations. This show includes a live night sky tour of the Winter Jackson night sky.

Planetarium Show: Mayan Archaeoastronomy

In a feast of colours and sounds, Mayan Archaeoastronomy: Observers of the Universe makes a tour of 6 Mayan temples: San Gervasio, Chichen Itzá, Uxmal, Edzná, Palenque and Bonampak where the spectator dives into a Mayan world of knowledge about the importance of the orientations of its temples in relation to the movement of some stars like the Sun, the Moon and Venus. Includes a live tour of the Fall Jackson night sky.

Explore the Night: Night Hike & Guided Telescope Observing

Let’s explore and use our night senses! Join Ella Sharp Museum and the Dahlem Center for a wonderful night under the stars.

A Walk Through Jackson’s Past

Please join us for a guided tour through Jackson’s oldest cemetery, Mt. Evergreen Cemetery. You will hear about some of Jackson’s famous families and their stories including Ella Merriman Sharp, Austin Blair, William Sparks and  families such as Col. Christian Rath, Dr. Ira C. Backus and Lucy Thurman.

Toddler Tour: Wildlife

It’s never too early to start visiting museums! Andy Andrews has been fascinated with wildlife since a young age. Celebrate the 15th Anniversary exhibit by bringing the little ones for a tour of our “Andrews Gallery of Wildlife Art” and accompanying activities and art project. This experience is specially designed for ages 2-5. The program is approximately 45 minutes in duration and is limited to approximately 30 participants.

Astrophotography Basics Workshop

Have you every tried to take a picture of the Moon, but you keep getting a bright splotch? Are you interested in taking photos of the planets or the Milky Way galaxy? All of this is within your reach! We will familiarize beginners with observing the Michigan night sky, photographing the night sky with digital cameras, and working with both cameras and telescopes at night.

Planetarium Show: From Earth To the Universe

The night sky, both beautiful and mysterious, has inspired awe and been the subject of campfire stories, and ancient myths for as long as there have been people. A desire to comprehend the Universe may well be humanity’s oldest shared intellectual experience. Yet only recently have we truly begun to grasp our place in the vast cosmos. To learn about this journey of celestial discovery, from the theories of the ancient Greek astronomers to today’s grandest telescopes, we invite you to experience From Earth to the Universe.

Farm to Table

September 10 from 5-10pm

Ella Sharp Museum invites you to attend our first annual Farm to Table event. This evening will feature small plates from local farmers and businesses. We will honor Ella and John Sharp successful farm and our local farmers. Special features will include cheese, Ella Beer, local breads, meats and produce. Stroll up and down our historic Farm Lane and meet the people behind the food while hearing tales of the Sharp farm. In the event of inclement weather, this event will be held inside the Ella Sharp Museum. Presented by Lammers Heating & Air Conditioning.

Collections & Exhibits Volunteer Orientation

Interested in volunteering for the museum’s collections and exhibitions department? This orientation will introduce new and returning volunteers to opportunities to assist in a variety of “behind-the-scenes” roles at the Ella Sharp Museum.

The event will consist of a short presentation, hands-on training, and tours through behind-the-scenes work areas. No pre-registration necessary.

Annual Art, Beer, & Wine Festival

Join Ella Sharp Museum for the annual Art, Beer, & Wine Festival presented by County National Bank.

This year’s festival will feature Michigan wineries, breweries, cider mills, and artists. The museum will also host food vendors and live music on the grounds and within the courtyard of the museum’s historic Hillside Farm Lane.

Patio Parties

Live music, food, and beverages on Farm Lane. Come and celebrate the LAST Patio Party with us for only $5/person. We appreciate reservations, so we ensure we have enough food for everyone. FREE for Sustainer Museum Members & above.

Toddler Tour: Planetarium

It’s never too early to start bringing your future astronaut to planetariums! Inspired by the Apollo Missions, this tour is all about the moon! This experience is specially designed for ages 2-5. The program is approximately 45 minutes in duration and capacity is limited.

Wildlife Wednesdays

Join Ella Sharp Museum and Michigan Avian Experience as we explore birds native to our region. Utilizing live birds and pieces from our collection of wildlife art, visitors will have an opportunity for a personal encounter with a different species of bird each week.

Tour of the Universe

Our Universe contains mind-boggling amounts of space and matter! Everything you see in the night sky has a place in space. This program takes you on a journey through thousands of stars and galaxies, where you’ll see some of the oldest light in the Universe. Includes a night sky tour.

Toddler Tour: Wildlife

It’s never too early to start visiting museums! Andy Andrews has been fascinated with wildlife since a young age. Celebrate the 15th Anniversary exhibit by bringing the little ones for a tour of our “Andrews Gallery of Wildlife Art” and accompanying activities and art project.