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Fort Mackinac Interpreter – Military

Department: Museum ProgramsFM Interpreter 1
Fort Mackinac, Mackinac Island
Start/End Date: early May-early June through August-mid October
Pay Rate: Starting at $13/hr

Click here to fill out an application.

Scope of Duties:
This position serves visitors to Mackinac State Historic Parks (MSHP) by working as a historic interpreters at Fort Mackinac, an original fort used by the British and U.S. military from 1780-1895 on Mackinac Island, Michigan. This full-time seasonal position is responsible for interpreting the role of soldiers at the fort during the 19th century, primarily the 1880s.


  1. Put visitors to Fort Mackinac and other MSHP sites first by treating them with respect, serving their needs, and providing an enjoyable and educational experience.
  2. Interpret 19th century American Army garrison life through military drills, black powder rifle firings and cannon demonstrations, marching, music programs, and other assigned interpretive tasks.
  3. Lead or participate in regularly scheduled history tours, black powder firing demonstrations, music programs (bugle, drum, fife, etc.), and special programs throughout the season.
  4. Present informal interpretive programs about garrison life, Mackinac National Park, other topics of the fort’s history (War of 1812, Civil War prisoners, British military history), and other appropriate topics at scheduled locations throughout the fort.
  5. Participate in other interpretive presentations and special events as required.

Position Requirements:

  1. Must have an interest in historical interpretation and be dedicated to public engagement and education.
  2. Must be outgoing, enthusiastic, self-motivated, and have strong public speaking skills.
  3. Experience with or interest in historic interpretation, 19th century material culture and society, historic military interpretation, Great Lakes history, black powder weapons, period appropriate music (bugle, drum, fife, etc.), and other period-appropriate trades is strongly recommended.
  4. Must be able to follow verbal and written directions, and be able to verbally communicate with visitors and coworkers.
  5. Must be able to work assigned position length. Positions work 12 to 23 weeks, will start in early May or June, and will work to Labor Day or through October; length of employment will vary depending on the position.

Work Location and Schedule:
This is a full-time seasonal position, which typically works 40 hours per week for 23 weeks from early May through mid-October (shorter-term full FM Interpreter 2time positions are also available; see position requirements). The workstation for this position is Fort Mackinac, although the employee may be required to work at other MSHP park sites. The position is primarily based outdoors in the confines of the fort, but indoor work is required on a regular basis. Work schedules are posted in advance and are subject to change depending on park operational needs. The employee may be asked to work evenings, holidays, and/or weekends as park needs dictate.

Physical Requirements:
This position will require the employee to wear costumes or wool uniforms in all types of weather conditions, including extreme heat. Position will also carry and discharge original rifles with black powder and fire cannons, causing loud noise (earplugs are provided). This position will be required to stand for long periods of time. Stretching and bending are moves commonly made throughout the day by employees in this position. The employee must have the ability to do the following activities, with or without, reasonable accommodation: Frequent lifting, carrying, transporting, loading and unloading of supplies, walking long distances on rough terrain and up steep inclines, frequent twisting, bending, stooping, reaching and grasping, sitting and/or standing for long periods of time, and ability to utilize ferry boat transportation to and from Mackinac Island. Marching and climbing stairs are done on an hourly basis.

Dress Code:
The park maintains a dress code for employees in the public service to promote a productive and safe work environment and to maintain MSHP’s public image. This means no inappropriate hairstyles, jewelry, clothing or fashion statements are allowed. Employees are required to be in approved park costume at all times while on duty, which includes the wearing of proper footwear. The park will furnish the employee with the required costume items which must be returned at the end of seasonal employment. Violation of the dress code may result in disciplinary action up to and including dismissal.

The employee works under the direction of the Interpretation Coordinator and the Fort Mackinac Lead Interpreter.

General Position Information:
This is a temporary seasonal at-will position which serves at the will of the employer and does not include recall rights or benefits (other than those mandated by governmental laws). This position will expire at the time employment is ended for the season and the employee does not have recall rights to this or any other MSHP position in the future. Specifically, the park is under no obligation to hire the individual in subsequent seasons. The number of weeks and hours worked may vary as park needs dictate. Additional information will be provided upon employment.

Due to the high volume of applications, only those applicants invited to interview will be contacted.

Click here to fill out an application.

Questions or cannot apply online?
Please contact:

P.O. Box 873
Mackinaw City, MI 49701
231-436-4100 x111