Frequently asked questions

Why do commercial photographers need to purchase a photo permit to shoot at Mill Race Village?


Mill Race Village has value. When commercial photographers use the Village as a backdrop, they are using it as their “studio”. Commercial photographers are making a profit by using the Village and we are asking those individuals to help us to maintain this beautiful backdrop.




How does Mill Race Village define a commercial photographer?


A “Commercial Photographer” is defined as anyone who charges a fee for their photography services, sells their images, or uses images of Mill Race Village to sell any product or service. “Photography” includes any film or video format.




Do photography instructors with student(s) need to purchase a permit to shoot at the Village


Photography instructors associated with for-profit organizations or companies are considered Commercial Photographers and do need to complete an application. Instructors associated with non-profits, such as community colleges or other schools, that sell their images, must also purchase a commercial photography permit.




I’m a Northville City Resident, don’t I already pay for the Village maintenance with my tax dollars?


Mill Race Village receives no funding from the City of Northville for maintenance of the buildings and grounds, for salary for Village employees or for maintaining the historic archives. The City is the landlord and the Northville Historical Society is the tenant. All building and grounds maintenance (apart from mowing the grass and plowing the snow) is the responsibility of the Historical Society. When the Church needs a new roof or the School needs a fresh coat of paint, the Society has to raise the funds. If someone is offering to sell us a bell made at the Foundry to display for visitors, that’s on us too!




As a City Resident, why can’t I take pictures at the park?


You are welcome to take photos of your family and friends, and of anything in the Village as long as you do not bring a commercial photographer onto the grounds. The Village grounds are closed occasionally for private event rentals. These wedding and party rentals contribute 50% of our operating costs! If there are signs that there is a private party in progress on the Village grounds, the Village is closed to all members of the public. Please respect the signs and don't put yourself in the photographs of the wedding party!




I just bought a fancy diffuser and props for my camera to try out, and I want to use them in the Village? May I do so?


Not unless you want to be considered a commercial photographer! You may bring a camera only. No other special equipment.




I’m pretty sure I saw someone there taking photos who looked like a professional. If they didn’t buy a permit why should I?


From time to time we have less than honest individuals who take the Village and the work of our volunteers and staff for granted. We have hired photo security personnel who randomly stroll the Village grounds to warn people who are shooting without a permit. Why should you buy a permit? Because it’s the right thing to do. Because you follow rules and you’re a good person!




Can I come to the Village to take pictures before Prom or Homecoming?


We love to accomodate prom and homecoming photo taking when we can! We try to stay on top of prom and homecoming dates of local schools but not all schools make this information readily available. If we know that we have a private party rental on the day of prom or homecoming, we will contact the schools beforehand to advise them that unfortunately we cannot allow pictures that day. Please feel free to call or email the office with an inquiry for your prom or homecoming date.




What if I can’t afford to pay for a one day photo permit?


The good news is you don’t have to pay for a one-day permit if you hire one of the commercial photographers who have made the choice to purchase a one-year photo permit from Mill Race Village.




How do I buy a one-day permit?


We have detailed information on the photo tab of our website. First step is to contact the office with your inquiry. We sell one-day permits no earlier than one month before the requested date. We can advise if the Village grounds are available during the day/time you’re interested in.




If I buy a permit for a day pass, will I have the Village to myself?


No. If you want the grounds to yourself for a photo shoot you may call the office to rent the grounds. Otherwise, the public will likely be milling about and other permitted photographers may also be on the grounds shooting as well. Please be courteous to other visitors and photographers.




I see the day rate is different for members of the NHS? How do I become a member?


Anyone can become a member of the NHS! You do not need to be a resident of Northville to join and support the Village! Go to the “Get Involved” tab on the website to find out how to become a member today! It costs only $25 for individuals and $35 for families.





The Northville Historical Society is a 501(c)(3) non-profit volunteer organization responsible for the financing and operation of Mill Race Village and preservation of the Northville Archives.

©2020 BY MILL RACE VILLAGE, NORTHVILLE HISTORICAL SOCIETY

(248) 348-1845

215 Griswold St

Northville MI 48167