Mr. Michilimackinac: Jim Evans’ 47 Years

Jim Evans 6Jim Evans isn’t a stranger to attention.

Entering his 47th season as a historical interpreter at Colonial Michilimackinac, Jim is a fan-favorite among visitors and employees alike. However, Jim is known for his soft-spoken, friendly demeanor and isn’t one to boast about his accomplishments. A native of Mackinaw City, Jim has always been fascinated by his hometown’s rich history.

“I remember reading books as a child about Colonial Michilimackinac and the attack, and being fascinated by it,” said Jim. “Especially when it happened in your own backyard, you can’t help but want to know more.”

Starting in 7th grade up until his senior year in high school, Jim reenacted as a Native American in the annual Colonial Michilimackinac Pageant while also working at the local Dairy Queen. After his last season at Dairy Queen in the summer of ‘69, Jim attended his freshman year at Lake Superior State University in pursuit of a teaching degree.

Through his years in college, Jim worked at the fort in the summers after being hired as a seasonal interpreter in 1970. However, after being both certified in secondary and elementary education, Jim began his full time position as a Historic Lead Interpreter at the fort in 1977.

Despite his impressive resume, Jim mostly lights up when he talks about both his coworkers and the visitors.Jim Evans 4

“I’ve worked with a lot of great people, who have become doctors, lawyers and Marine Corps captains. I have tons of great memories with both coworkers and staff at the park,” said Jim. “I just like people a lot, and I get a lot of energy and excitement from the visitors.”

Additionally, Jim also met his wife, Curator of Archaeology Dr. Lynn Evans through MSHP in 1989, while she was on an archaeological dig at Colonial Michilimackinac.

“The fort has done a lot for me,” said Jim with a smile. “It’s really special for Lynn and I.”Jim and Lynn

However, it’s the combination of history, meeting people, teaching and simply being outside that makes his job especially enjoyable.

“It’s a homerun. I get to be outside in the summer, talking to kids and in the winter, I work under the Education Outreach program through MSHP,” said Jim. “So no matter what, I’m teaching. In a sense, I’ve never really had a ‘job’ in the traditional sense because I enjoy it that much.”

While Jim and the other interpreters receive a lot of thank you’s and praise from visitors, he pauses to reiterate the importance of other MSHP staff members in his interview.

Jim Evans 5“I feel kind of bad as an interpreter because we get a lot of thank you’s from visitors, but I don’t think the staff who clean the bathrooms or sell admission tickets get as many,” said Jim. “I sure hope they do, because they do a lot for us.”Jim Evans 2

Jim does notice that with each passing season, an end date becomes closer in sight. But Jim shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon, or even wanting to.

“As long as I can still move around,” he half-jokes. “I take it day by day, year by year. As long as I feel good and continue to enjoy what I do, then I’ll be here.”

 

Jim Evans 3

3 Responses to “Mr. Michilimackinac: Jim Evans’ 47 Years”

  1. Dave Schmidt

    After working with Jim for seven seasons, and numerous Outreach trips, I can say that Jim is one of the few men that have had a life that is Truly Successful. My time with him will be a treasured memory for the remainder of my life…. Few men have ever touched the hearts of so many for so many years… It was an honor..

    Reply
  2. Michelle Rastoskey

    Our family has been vacationing at Mackinac for the past 30 years. One of our favorite places to visit has been Fort Michilimackinaw. My husband and I visited the fort just a couple of days ago. It was great to see Jim as we have always enjoy his demonstrations. Looking at the blog pictures, I suddenly realized that our family was front and center at his demonstration. Thanks for the memories.

    Reply
    • Dominick Miller

      Thank you for your continued visits! We are truly lucky to have Jim on our staff, and that’s awesome that you’re in the blog photos!

      Reply

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