Here you can find the timeline history of Colonial Michilimackinac, the orientation video exploring Michilimackinac’s history, virtual tours of Michilimackinac exhibits, educational resources, and more!
In 1715 French soldiers constructed Fort Michilimackinac. This fortified community became the great fur trade center of the Northwest until its relocation to nearby Mackinac Island in 1781. It was here where fur traders and Indians rendezvoused, French and British officers organized war parties and explorers began their journeys into the vast western unknown.
1,000 BC to 1650 AD– Semi-nomadic peoples at Straits of Mackinac.
By 1650 AD- Anishanabeg people at Straits of Mackinac.
1634– Jean Nicolet passes through the Straits of Mackinac looking for the Northwest Passage.
1670– Father Claude Dablon, S.J. visits Straits of Mackinac and winters on Mackinac Island.
1671– Father Jacques Marquette, S.J. brings Hurons to Straits of Mackinac, and establishes Mission of St. Ignace on north side of straits near existing Odawa village. Continue reading…
Michilimackinac: Crossroads of the Great Lakes orientation film:
Attack! at Michilimackinac:
Explore some of Colonial Michilimackinac’s amazing exhibits with these six videos and virtual exhibit:
Firearms on the Frontier:
Michilimackinac was home to a diverse group of people, including merchants, British soldiers, voyageurs, and more.
Musket Firing Demonstration:
Colonial Michilimackinac is home to one of the longest ongoing archaeological excavation in North America.
In 1959, the Mackinac Island State Park Commission contracted with Michigan State University to carry out a season of excavation at Michilimackinac. Thus began an archaeological project that has continued every summer since, one of the longest ongoing projects of its kind. Much of the west half of the fort was excavated and rebuilt during the 1960s. By 1969, it was apparent that overseeing archaeology at Michilimackinac was a full-time job, and Dr. Lyle Stone was hired as the commission’s first staff archaeologist. Excavation moved outside the walls in the early 1970s, when three rowhouses from the suburbs of the fort were discovered prior to building the Visitor’s Center under the Mackinac Bridge. In 1974, excavation resumed inside the fort walls. Leaving the west side behind, archaeologists began to work on the powder magazine, which turned out to be the most intact building ruin at Michilimackinac. Work continued in the southeast corner of the fort for the next two decades, including the excavation of multiple rowhouse units, most notably the home of Ezekiel Solomon, Michigan’s first Jewish settler. In 1998, archaeologists returned to the southwest corner of the fort to tie together current results with excavations done in the 1960s. This project resulted in the reconstruction of the South Southwest Row House in 2013. We are now excavating part of the Southeast Row House.
Click here for more information on Colonial Michilimackinac archaeology.
Click here to view the Preliminary Archaeology Reports from Colonial Michilimackinac
Mackinac State Historic Parks maintains a robust collection of educational resources, such as lesson plans, about all of its sites, including Colonial Michilimackinac. Learn more here.
Worksheet for Coming Together at the Straits: The People of Michilimackinac virtual exhibit.
The Mackinac register of baptisms and interments, 1695-1821.
More videos on Michilimackinac can be found on our YouTube page, including how the gardens are prepared, the role the blacksmith played, the Michilimackinac cannon, and more!
Support for exhibits and demonstrations at Colonial Michilimackinac comes from Mackinac Associates – friends preserving and sharing Mackinac’s heritage. Please consider checking them out!
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