Historic House Interpreter – Blacksmith

Department: Museum Programs
Locations: Benjamin Blacksmith Shop, Historic Downtown, Mackinac Island
Start/End Date: Early June through late August
Pay Rate: Starting at $11/hr

Accepting applications for the 2020 season.

Scope of Duties:
This position serves visitors to Mackinac State Historic Parks (MSHP) by working as a historic blacksmith interpreter at the Benjamin Blacksmith Shop on Mackinac Island, an original late 19th, early 20th century building and business on Mackinac Island (Mackinac Island State Park). This full-time seasonal position is responsible for interpreting the unique role of a blacksmith on Mackinac Island in the 1950s.


  • Put visitors to the Benjamin Blacksmith Shop and other MSHP sites first by treating them with respect, serving their needs, and providing an enjoyable and educational experience.
  • Using a coal forge and other period-appropriate tools, demonstrate early 20th century blacksmithing skills to park visitors.
  • Interpret the history of the shop building, the people involved with the shop, and the unique role of blacksmiths on Mackinac Island and why many shops closed by this time in American history.
  • Through demonstrations and interpretation, produce items for use in park displays and interpretative programs, and for sale in MSHP museum stores.
  • Participate in other regularly scheduled interpretative presentation and special events as required.

Position Requirements:

  • Must be 18 years or older.
  • Must have an interest in historical interpretation, late 19th and early 20th century blacksmithing techniques and material culture, and metalworking.
  • Must be outgoing, enthusiastic, self-motivated, and have strong public speaking skills.
  • Experience with the demonstration and interpretation of historic blacksmithing techniques is strongly preferred.
  • Must be able to work assigned position length. Position works approximately 12-13 weeks, from early June through late August.

Work Location and Schedule:
This is a full-time seasonal position, which typically works 40 hours per week for 12-13 weeks from early June through late August. The workstation for this position is on Mackinac Island, Market Street, Benjamin Blacksmith Shop, although the employee may be required to work at other MSHP park sites. The position is based indoors in the original blacksmith shop of Robert and Herbert Benjamin. 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:
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 up to 35 lbs., walking long distances and up steep inclines in all weather conditions, frequent twisting, bending, stooping, reaching and grasping, sitting and/or standing for long periods of time, and the ability to utilize ferry boat transportation to and from Mackinac Island. The employee will be required to wear a historic costume at all times while working indoors and outdoors in various weather conditions. This position will be exposed to extreme heat conditions within the blacksmith shop and must be able to work in this environment.

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.

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

[ back ]