History Comes Alive

Life As It Was

Mackinac State Historic Parks presents three centuries of history at our sites in Mackinaw City and on Mackinac Island.

Cooking in the Biddle House KitchenAt Colonial Michilimackinac you can explore life on the fur trade frontier in the 1770s, including the civilian residents, Native Americans and British Soldiers. At Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse visit the restored keeper’s quarters, climb the tower, and visit the Straits of Mackinac Shipwreck Museum. Historic Mill Creek Discovery Park features a reconstruction of the late 18th century mill that provided lumber for the growing settlement on Mackinac Island. Fort Mackinac is restored to its 1880s glory with fourteen original buildings featuring diverse exhibits on such topics as the history of medical care and life of the Victorian solider. Our Historic Downtown Buildings are some of the oldest houses in Michigan with open hearth cooking at the Biddle House and an exhibit on Dr. William Beaumont’s groundbreaking medical experiments.


Historic Collections

Admiring ArtOur collection of furnishings, textiles, artwork, tools, equipment, personal items, archival material and photographs will help paint a greater picture of life at the Straits of Mackinac. Many of these objects are featured in over 40 period settings and special themed exhibits at Fort Mackinac, Colonial Michilimackinac and Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse. The Richard & Jane Manoogian Mackinac Art Museum includes fine and decorative arts, Native American art, photography and an annual show of the work of current artists.




Checking Archaeology ScreenWatch archaeology excavations in progress daily at Colonial Michilimackinac, home of one of the longest continual archaeological digs in North America. An interpreter is on site to answer visitor questions and explain the process. The reconstructed buildings at the site are based on completed archaeological work and several buildings included preserved features of the original structure. The best objects excavated over the last half century are on exhibit throughout the site, particularly in the subterranean “Treasures From the Sand” exhibit. Historic Mill Creek Discovery Park also features reconstructions that followed extensive archaeological work in the 1980s and 1990s and dozens of artifacts are on exhibit here as well. The Straits of Mackinac Shipwreck Museum at Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse includes stunning treasures recovered from wreck sites.