Gate City Smithsonian
Craig Michaud + Museum of Nashua History, Nashua
One of the benefits of transforming your entire basement into a city history museum is that you get to define what’s history and what’s not.
A 1993 graduate of Nashua High School, Craig Michaud’s meticulously curated exhibit on the “Gate City” is packed with items you’d expect to see at a historical society display: police badges, firefighter maps, military uniforms, school sports trophies, mayors’ “keys to the city,” glass milk bottles from local dairies, streetcar tokens and minor league baseball memorabilia.
But he also preserves more obscure items, including: pizza boxes, restaurant menus, bar swizzle sticks, an original shopping cart from the defunct Bradlees department store, and a skimpy tank top from the former Nashua Hooters “breastaurant.”
Michaud, who works as an HVAC professional and also as a photographer for the Boston Bruins Alumni charity team, considers documenting Nashua his third occupation. His basement museum could easily be a full-time job on its own.
“The museum space stops here,” says Craig, pointing at his two rooms of shelved memorabilia. “My wife says nothing can come upstairs. I started buying items at estate sales and on eBay, but now people who are cleaning out their attics are contacting me to see if I’m interested in their stuff.”
Craig’s museum gets about a dozen visitors (by appointment only) a month, reaching many more people through his “Nashua, NH: Past, Present and Future” Facebook group.
“I would love to have a bigger Nashua history museum downtown,” he says, “but it’s tough for me to picture how to financially pull that off.”
This profile appeared as part of a larger article in the September 2023 issue of New Hampshire Magazine highlighting some of the fascinating collectors and passionate collectors in the state.
To learn more about the other Granite State Super Collectors, click here.