A Time of Change. 

This is Mackinac. 

Step into the home of Agatha and Edward Biddle, merchants who moved in around 1830. This was a time of change, and the 1830s were critical to the Biddles for another reason: as an Anishnaabek woman, Agatha and other indigenous people witnessed their culture subjected to immense changes. The decade transformed the Anishnaabek, linking old ways with Michigan’s modern indigenous culture.

The continuing story of the Anishnaabek of northern Michigan is not always a happy one. It is a story of battles won and lost, promises made and broken, and cultures repressed and resurgent. Most importantly, the story in which the Biddle family played a role is one that continues today. This new exhibit, created in conjunction with tribal partners, explores that story and how it still resonates on Mackinac Island and throughout northern Michigan.

Thank you for a great 2021 season! The Biddle House, featuring the Mackinac Island Native American Museum, will open for the 2022 season on May 3. 

Highlights

Live Programs

Costumed interpreters will interpret the house as the 1830s home of Agatha and Edward Biddle. Exciting and informative cooking demonstrations will take place throughout the day in the kitchen, as well as interpretation of the Anishnaabek gallery located in the rest of the house. The following programs will also take place daily:

1:00 p.m. A Time of Choice: The Treaty of Washington, 1836
This program offers visitors a brief overview of how the 1836 Treaty of Washington effected the Anishnaabek of northern Michigan, including Agatha Biddle. It is intended to complement the exhibit, offering more detail and context about the choices facing the Anishnaabek leading up to and during treaty negotiations, as well as the aftermath of its ratification.

3:30 p.m. Agatha, Magdelaine, and Elizabeth: In Business at Mackinac
This program offers visitors a brief overview of the lives of three Mackinac women: Agatha Biddle, Magdelaine Laframboise, and Elizabeth Mitchell. Although the focus of the new exhibits at the Biddle House, Agatha was by no means the only indigenous woman in business on Mackinac Island in the early 19th century. Instead, Agatha was part of a community of women who utilized their contacts in the Anishnaabek and Euro-American worlds to find success as merchants.

Exhibits

Two exhibit galleries inside the house, as well as a parlor restored to its historical appearance, tell the story of Agatha and Edward Biddle, the Anishnaabek of northern Michigan, and the critical decade of the 1830s. The story continues outside, with a short interpretive trail focusing on Anishnaabek culture and their relationship to Mackinac Island.

Watch the video below to learn more about the Biddle House: