Argus Museum

525 W William St Ann Arbor

VAMONDE Ann Arbor
Written By VAMONDE Ann Arbor

Preserving the History of the Argus Company

The Argus Museum features products manufactured by the Argus camera company and tells the stories of the company, the people involved and showcases unique collections connected to Argus. The museum is housed in the Argus I Building, which was one of the facilities where Argus products were manufactured.

Argus was an American maker of cameras and photographic products, founded in 1936 in Ann Arbor, Michigan by Charles Verschoor. Its best-known product was the C3 rangefinder camera, which enjoyed a 27-year production run and became one of the top-selling cameras in history. The Argus Museum strives to collect and preserve Argus Camera Incorporated products and publications, along with the history of the company and its employees. Included in the collections are the stories of the people involved in the development and manufacturing of the products.

History

Established in 1987 with the acquisition of the Don Wallace Collection, the museum’s holdings include the rare 75, A4, C3 and C4 camera “giants” (large models used in trade shows), experimental model 12s, each with a different type of collapsing lens; and, various colors of the model A camera, favorites of collectors. Variations of the Model C3 camera (often referred to as The Brick), a common model of which over two million were sold, are on view. Employee memorabilia, including profit-sharing documents, employee identification badges and items related to the many sports and activities that Argus sponsored are also on display. Walk through the museum with Ben Weatherston below as he gives you an inside look at the Ann Arbor Portraits Gallery.

The museum also presents the company's contributions to World War II and the Korean War through various military artifacts. These include sighting devices, prisms, and lenses. You'll be able to see the M72 Telescope that was used in Sherman tanks, and an M18 sight used with Britain's 57mm anti-tank gun, also known as the Britain Six-Pounder.

The Argus I Building’s character lends itself to showcasing artwork. The museum presents photography exhibitions and features local and regional artists, particularly those who create images using film. The museum also hosts meetings, book signings, and an Argus Collector Group (ACG) Fall Conference.

Cover image By Kevin Stanchfield from Valencia, CA., America - Argus C3 35mm, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=22269626. Information courtesy of Wikipedia.

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