History Comes Alive - Mackinac State Historic Parks | Mackinac State Historic Parks

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.

At Colonial Michilimackinac you step back in time to 1777, as the British prepared to end the American Revolution with a decisive blow. Historic interpreters, including the civilian residents, Native Americans, a blacksmith, and British Soldiers, show you daily life in the community. At Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse visit the restored keeper’s quarters, explore the second floor of the house, climb the tower, and visit the Straits of Mackinac Shipwreck Museum. Historic Mill Creek features a reconstruction of the late 18th century mill that provided lumber for the growing settlement on Mackinac Island while also showcasing northern Michigan’s rich natural history. 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. The Biddle House, featuring the Mackinac Island Native American Museum, takes you into the 1830s home of Agatha Biddle and explores this critical decade of change for the Anishnaabek people. Our Historic Downtown Buildings are some of the oldest houses in Michigan an exhibit on Dr. William Beaumont’s groundbreaking medical experiments, a working blacksmith, and a look at Mackinac’s unique architecture.


Historic Collections

Our 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, the Biddle House, 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.


Watch 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 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.