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…)

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…)

Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse and the Armistice Day Storm of 1940

Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse and the Armistice Day Storm of 1940

November storms on the Great Lakes are infamous for their ferocity and violence. Some, such as the Great Storm of 1913, which sank 12 ships and killed over 250 people, or the 1975 storm that sank the Edmund Fitzgerald, are well known. In November 1940, another strong storm struck the Great Lakes and caused widespread damage, including in the Straits of Mackinac. (more…)

The Werewolf Story You Haven’t Heard Comes to Life at Fort Fright

The Werewolf Story You Haven’t Heard Comes to Life at Fort Fright

French Canadian tales of the supernatural are explored at Fort Fright each year and one of the favorites is the story of the werewolf. It’s quite different from what we may be familiar with today, but for people in the 1700s at Fort Michilimackinac, the idea of a werewolf was no less terrifying.

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Brand New Cannon at Colonial Michilimackinac is Shining Example of History and Craft

Brand New Cannon at Colonial Michilimackinac is Shining Example of History and Craft

Come be one of the first to see Michilimackinac’s latest addition in action: a new 6-pound cannon!

IMG_3160 Delivered last week, the cannon is an exact reproduction of a light 6-pound traveling gun. During the 1770s, the British kept two of these bronze guns on Michilimackinac’s parade ground, ready to defend the fort in the event of an American attack. Mounted on a highly mobile carriage with large wheels, these guns could throw a 6 pound cannonball nearly a mile. Although never used in anger, British soldiers fired the guns to celebrate the King’s birthday and other ceremonial events. (more…)

A New Exhibit at Michilimackinac: The Commanding Officer’s House

Ever wonder what happens during the winter time at Mackinac State Historic Parks? Although our museums are closed for the winter, there’s still a lot of work going on to prepare for 2016. One of our major projects this winter is the renovation and reinterpretation of the Commanding Officer’s House at Michilimackinac, which will look completely different when visitors arrive next summer. (more…)

A Century Ago at Old Mackinac Point – December 15, 1915

Have you ever kept a journal or a diary? Looking back at what you’ve written can help you remember ideas, special events, and how you felt at a certain time. A century ago, the keepers at the Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse were required to keep a log of their daily activities, and while the logs don’t reveal the keepers’ emotions, they do tell us a great deal about what life was like at the station. (more…)

Mackinac’s Field of Dreams – The Fort Mackinac “Never Sweats” and Vintage Base Ball

Mackinac’s Field of Dreams – The Fort Mackinac “Never Sweats” and Vintage Base Ball

“The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It’s been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt, and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. This field, this game, is a part of our past, Ray. It reminds us of all that once was good, and that could be again.  –Terrence Mann – “Field of Dreams”

The large, grassy field behind Fort Mackinac has served many purposes since the end of the Civil War.  It has been a drill field for soldiers, a playground for scouts, and a great place to canter a horse.  But the one constant on that field for nearly a century and a half has been baseball.   Fort Mackinac soldiers established the first ball field on this site in the 1870s and continued to develop and improve the field until the fort closed in 1895.  Local residents and summer workers played baseball at the “fort ball grounds” in the early 20th century.  Since 1934, when Civilian Conservation Corps workers built the nearby scout barracks, boy and girl scout troops from across Michigan have played ball on the same field during the summer months.

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