Virtual Fort Mackinac - Mackinac State Historic Parks | Mackinac State Historic Parks

Virtual Fort Mackinac

Here you can find the timeline history of Fort Mackinac, the orientation video exploring Fort Mackinac’s history, virtual tours of Fort Mackinac exhibits, educational resources, and more!

Fort Mackinac’s History: A Timeline

Fort Mackinac was founded during the American Revolution.  Believing Fort Michilimackinac at what is now Mackinaw City was too vulnerable to American attack, the British moved the fort to Mackinac Island in 1780. Americans took control in 1796. In July 1812, in the first land engagement of the War of 1812 in the United States, the British captured the fort. In a bloody battle in 1814 the Americans attempted but failed to retake the fort.  It was returned to the United States after the war. The fort remained active until 1895. During these years Mackinac Island was transformed from a center of the fur trade into a major summer resort.

The stone ramparts, the south sally port and the Officer’s Stone Quarters are all part of the original fort built over 225 years ago. The other buildings in the fort are of more recent origin, dating from the late 1790s to 1885. The buildings have been restored to how they looked during the final years of the fort’s occupation. Interpreters depict U. S. Army soldiers from this same period, dressed in distinctive Prussian-inspired uniforms

1779-81 The garrison and fur trade community are moved from Michilimackinac to Mackinac Island.

1783 Mackinac Island part of new United States.

1796 British soldiers depart and American soldiers arrive to garrison fort on September 1.

1812 On July 17 British soldiers capture Fort Mackinac in first land engagement of War of 1812 in the United States.

1814 On August 4 Americans attempt but fail to recapture island. Continue reading…

Heritage of Mackinac

This 15-minute movie provides an orientation to Fort Mackinac’s history.

Virtual Exhibits

Explore some of Fort Mackinac’s exciting exhibits, such as the Battle for Mackinac and the Changing Face of Fort Mackinac, 1779-1895.
The Changing Face of Fort Mackinac:

The Battle For Mackinac Island:

A Deeper Look: The Battle of Mackinac Island.

A Deeper Look: Cos. E & K, Fort Mackinac, Mich., 1886:

A Deeper Look: Cos. E & K going on Parade:

A Deeper Look: East Blockhouse:

A Deeper Look: Interior of Barracks:

Guns Across the Lakes: Capture of Fort Mackinac:

Guns Across the Lakes: The Battle of Mackinac Island:


Watch as a Fort Mackinac interpreter runs through a rifle firing demonstration at Fort Mackinac, and learn about the differing firing positions the soldiers would have used in battle.
Rifle Firing Demonstration:

Rifle Firing Positions:

1880s Exercises:

U.S. Army Signal Drill of the 1880s:

Educational Resources

Stanton Guard at Fort Mackinac during the Civil War.

Mackinac State Historic Parks maintains a robust collection of educational resources, such as lesson plans, about all of its sites, including Fort Mackinac. Learn more here.

More Viewing

More videos on Fort Mackinac can be found on our YouTube page, including about Wayne’s Legion, the garrison of Fort Holmes, the Fort Mackinac rifle range, and more!

Support for exhibits and demonstrations at Fort Mackinac comes from Mackinac Associates – friends preserving and sharing Mackinac’s heritage. Please consider checking them out!

Click here to check out other MSHP sites.

Click here to return to the Explore at Home main page.