Visitors at Old Mackinac Point

Visitors at Old Mackinac Point

Some visitors, like this Lighthouse Service inspector being greeted by Keeper George Marshall, came on official business.

Some visitors, like this Lighthouse Service inspector being greeted by Keeper George Marshall, came on official business.

The Old Mackinac Point light station was always popular with visitors. While tourists today visit the preserved light station as an historic site and museum, beginning in 1890 visitors also toured the station while it served as an active aid to navigation. (more…)

Native American Quillworking in the Great Lakes Region

Native American Quillworking in the Great Lakes Region

Huron_moccasins_with_quillwork_and_moose_hair_1780-1830_-_Bata_Shoe_Museum_-_DSC00647 What did the local Native populations do during the long, historic winters in northern Michigan? Winter was a fantastic time for the women and children of Native families to make things. Today, most things we wear have some sort of decoration on them. There were many different ways for Native people to decorate their clothing and accessories, but porcupine quillwork was perhaps the most unique decorative art developed by the Native groups of the Great Lakes region. (more…)

Dressing a Colonial Soldier

Dressing a Colonial Soldier

A lot went into getting dressed as a regimental soldier garrisoned at Fort Michilimackinac, but it was just part of a normal day in the 1770s. Watch as one of our historic interpreters goes through the process of getting dressed piece-by-piece.

How Michigan Became a State: The Treaty of Washington, 1836

How Michigan Became a State: The Treaty of Washington, 1836

As Michigan celebrates its 180th birthday, let’s take a look at the treaty that gave us much of the Michigan we know today. Without the 1836 Treaty of Washington, an agreement between the U.S. government and the Anishinaabek people, Michigan could never have become a state on January 26, 1837.

H-Schoolcraft

Agent Henry Schoolcraft was supposed to represent Native American interests during treaty negotiations. However, he did not stop alterations to the treaty after Ojibway and Odawa leaders departed Washington, and he recommended forcefully removing the Anishinaabek from their homes in northern Michigan.

Treaty Of Washington

The Treaty of Washington ceded nearly 14,000,000 acres to the federal government. This territory, which makes up just under 40% of the state of Michigan today, is colored yellow on this map.

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Surviving the Canadian Climate: British Winter Uniforms

Surviving the Canadian Climate: British Winter Uniforms

von Germann

Friedrich von Germann sketched this British soldier dressed for the Canadian winter in 1778.

Capot

As depicted in von Germann’s drawing, British soldiers donned blanket coats, wool leggings, and fur-trimmed “Canadian caps” to keep warm in wintertime.

When the men of the 8th Regiment arrived at Michilimackinac in 1774, they, like the rest of the British army posted in Canada, found themselves in a remote wilderness with pleasant, temperate summers and harsh, bitter winters. The Canadian winter climate was significantly cooler than what most soldiers were accustomed to in Britain. Fortunately, several uniform pieces allowed these men to live and even fight in the coldest of Canadian winters.

Leggings

With the lapels buttoned over, collar turned up, and tails let down, a soldier’s regimental coat helped protect him from the cold. Blue wool leggings further protected his legs.

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2016 Collections Acquisitions

2016 Collections Acquisitions

In 2016, the Mackinac Island State Park Commission accessioned 131 gifts and 142 purchases to the historic object and archival collection. Postcards, stereoviews and ruby souvenir glass by island businessman Frank Kriesche added to established collections in the state park. As in previous years, the new acquisitions represent a wide array of topics including some of the first color glass plate negatives, a mezzotint of the Mackinac Bridge being constructed and a large collection of Mackinaw City related objects.

brown%2c-helen-gertrude (more…)

Mackinac’s Longest Serving Soldiers: The 23rd U.S. Infantry

Mackinac’s Longest Serving Soldiers: The 23rd U.S. Infantry

If you have visited Fort Mackinac during the summer, you have probably seen historic interpreters representing men from Companies E and K of the 23rd Regiment of U.S. Infantry. The original soldiers arrived at Fort Mackinac in June 1884 and left in May 1890, making them the longest serving unit to be stationed at the post. Fort Mackinac was considered an easy post to garrison, but the 23rd also saw hard service in numerous conflicts around the world.

23-infantry-reg (more…)

Washerwomen: British Military Laundresses at Michilimackinac

Washerwomen: British Military Laundresses at Michilimackinac

If you have visited Colonial Michilimackinac recently, you may have noticed a few changes, including new exhibits, new gardens, and whole new buildings. A new addition in 2017 will be a weekly laundry demonstration at the Soldier’s House. Although our interpreters won’t be washing your socks, it is still worth a visit to see how the enlisted men’s wives were working in the 1770s. (more…)