Artist-in-Residence Workshop with Woodcut Print Artist Jean Gumpper

What makes a woodcut such a fascinating way to represent the natural world? Gumpper’s work explores the many dynamic connections between landscape and the physical process of carving and printing a wood block in a reductive method or layering different surfaces and colors in a monotype. Gumpper can see direct connections with scientific study as well as the layering of water, leaves and light.

This workshop will take place at the Station 256 Conference Room, located above the Mackinac Island State Park Visitor’s Center. This is a free event. #thisismackinac

Artist-in-Residence Discussion with Photographer Amy Sacka

Amy Sacka will provide a workshop that will include an introduction to their work, a discussion on work about the Great Lakes ice with National Geographic, a discussion about their current project, “Love Letter’s to Michigan State Parks,” and time for questions.

This workshop will take place at the Station 256 Conference Room, located above the Mackinac Island State Park Visitor’s Center. This is a free event. #thisismackinac

Artist-in-Residence Workshop with Porcupine Quill Artist Jenna Wood

Wood plans to build a 3 – 5 inch quill box that is reflective of the natural landscape and life on the island. During the workshop Wood will show their tools and process, as well as speak about how they have learned to quill, through generational knowledge, and the importance of passing down the art form and how it contributes to the knowledge of their culture.

This workshop will take place at the Station 256 Conference Room, located above the Mackinac Island State Park Visitor’s Center. This is a free event. #thisismackinac

Artist-in-Residence Workshop Kateri Kaminski

Kateri Kaminski’s workshop aims to educate MSHP patrons and art enthusiasts about Trade Silver, how it came into use, where it came from, and the historical impact it had on the Indigenous Peoples and colonies in early North America. Trade silver played an important part in the relationships that were forged between the Indigenous and Europeans.

Afterward a simple demonstration of how Trade Silver was made using basic tools. I will start with a sheet of silver and explain each step of creating a piece of history.

1. Coming to Colonial Michilimackinac
a. Father an interpreter of trade silver
b. Treasures from the Sand exhibit
1. Crosses
2. Rings with paste stones
2. Immersed in the history of 1700’s to 1800’s
a. Jesuit rings
b. Creating social and economical bonds between Native Americans and Europeans through the exchange of
c. Dutch/French/British and Fur Companies competed for trade dominance
3. Popularity of Silver among Native Americans
a. made exclusively for and used by Native Americans
b. Companies importing silver from Europe
1. Jewelry and Silverware filled most record keeping books
2. London/Ireland/Scotland
3. Women Silversmiths
4. Demand prompted silver being made in North America
a. Leading product by silversmiths from 1780-1820
b. Montreal, Quebec, Philadelphia
c. Designs requested by Native Americans similar to patters already found on leather, bark, shell, stone
5. Popular designs in Trade Silver
a. Brooches
b. Gorgets
c. Bands for arms, legs, hats
d. Earrings – cone and wheels
e. Rings
f. Hair pipes and hair ornaments
6. Decline of Trade Silver
a. Beaver over hunted
b. Government buying Native lands and removing them
c. Natives leaving old hunting grounds/moving out of the area
d. Fur companies selling or quitting
1. American Fur Company on Mackinaw Island shut down in 1854. Great Lakes fur trade ended that year

Mackinac has long been an inspiration for artists. Join Mackinac State Historic Parks’ Artist-in-Residence for a free workshop at the Station 256 Conference Room, located above the Mackinac Island State Park Visitor’s Center. This is a free event. #thisismackinac

3 historically family-fun festivities highlight full event calendar at Mackinac State Historic Parks

A visit to one of the Mackinac State Historic Parks provides educational opportunities for the entire family. Better yet, it inserts you into history, producing experiential fun that divulges memories of the past to create lasting family memories in the present. When in season, no matter the time you explore one of the six historic sites there are ample activities to discover, from firing the iconic Fort Mackinac cannon to zip-lining 50 feet above Mill Creek. However, a full event calendar delivers additional, unique experiences to plan an adventure around. Below are three events that highlight how Mackinac State Historic Parks offers can’t-miss historical escapades, two of which occur outside the summer season — a time you may not typically consider a trip to the area.

 Vintage Base Ball on Friday, July 23rd

 No, that’s not a typo: it’s “base ball” with no spaces. Since 2003, Mackinac State Historic Parks has hosted a 19th-century style “base ball” game at the ball field behind Fort Mackinac — the oldest continually used ball field in Michigan!

 This year’s matchup pits the Mackinaw City Boys against the Fort Mackinac Never Sweats. The Never Sweats honor the legacy of the Fort Mackinac team comprising of soldiers from the mid-1880s, which used the moniker.

 The game acknowledges the style, rules, and atmosphere of the era, which features barehanded play, “gentlemen’s rules,” underhanded pitching, players fined for smoking cigars on the field, old-timey cheering and more.

Get ready to say play ball Friday, July 23rd from 6:30 to 8pm. Admission is by donation.

 Fort Fright on Friday, October 7th and Saturday, October 8th

 Come October, Colonial Michilimackinac showcases how history can be frightfully entertaining. This long-time staple event kicks off the Halloween season through Colonial Michilimackinac’s haunted transformation. It’s the biggest event hosted by Mackinac State Historic Parks and provides an opportunity for guests to experience the site at night paired with an ambience set through eerie folklore.

 Lanterns guide you through an array of storytellers, fortune tellers, and legendary creatures like werewolves and witches for a folklore lesson loaded with thrills and chills. This spooky good time also features bonfires, cookies, candy, cider and other treats found throughout the grounds. Families can experience an entire evening of entertainment backdropped by the resplendently lit Mackinac Bridge.

 Conjure the frightful fun 6:30-9:30pm on Friday, October 7th and Saturday, October 8th. Tickets become available online in September.

 A Colonial Christmas on Saturday, December 10th

Historic Interpreters getting ready to celebrate Christmas at Michilimackinac In December you can jingle all the way to Mackinaw City for A Colonial Christmas. ‘Tis the season for holiday traditions of the 17th and 18th century to come alive at Colonial Michilimackinac. Amble through lantern-lit paths to hear accounts of the first Christmas at Mackinac in 1679 and traditions of historic residents.

 You can simply have a wonderful Christmastime perusing the fort as storytellers share German, French and Native American holiday customs. The warm, welcoming Christmas spirit at the event includes craft-making, games, and holiday snacks throughout the fort.

 Have a holly jolly Christmas at Colonial Michilimackinac on Saturday, December 10th from 4-7pm. Tickets will be available online later this year.

 These are only a few of the festivities that compose an eventful calendar throughout the six sites of Mackinac State Historic Parks. With entertainment that ranges from movie nights to artist residencies to various educational demonstrations like Maritime Michilimackinac, there’s bound to be something that interests every family member. This year our full event calendar returns, and we can’t wait to provide plentiful merriment and compelling history to numerous visiting families.

 View our entire event calendar here.






Artist-in-Residence Workshop with Poet Leila Chatti

Chatti will lead a writing workshop titled “Poetics of Place: Hello From ______!” This generative workshop will be focused on how to write place-based work, from postcard poems and travel narratives delighting in new experiences to deeper exploration of our well-known, day-to-day domiciles. How do we capture a place—its sounds, sights, smells, culture, and quirks—and convey it to someone who’s never been? How do we train our eyes to see again, more clearly, the details of our homes and hometowns, which may have become “mundane” through familiarity? This workshop will look at the work of established writers for examples of how to bring the places we love (and hate!) to life for distant readers, and participants will be given exercises to further their own work. Everyone has a story to tell about where they’re from, and where they’ve been—including Mackinac Island!

This workshop will take place at the Station 256 Conference Room, located above the Mackinac Island State Park Visitor’s Center. This is a free event. #thisismackinac

Artist-in-Residence Workshop with Playwright Alexander Utz

Utz will present a staged reading of his new play, which he’s currently developing, called Gut. It is about the experiments conducted by William Beaumont on Alexis St. Martin, beginning on Mackinac Island and continuing until their time together came to an end. The presentation will include a brief introduction on how the play came to be, including how specific places in the story like Mackinac came to influence the telling of the story itself. Then the presentation will move on to a staged reading of the play, which will be performed outdoors (most likely in Marquette Park). Because a lot of the play deals with travel, the outdoors, and the idea of exploring frontiers in that time period, it should be very interesting to perform it outdoors, and something very powerful about enacting these historical events in one of the places they actually took place. After the reading, Utz will lead a discussion with the audience about the themes explored in the play, the process of writing it, and the potential for more development going forward.

This workshop will begin at the Station 256 Conference Room, located above the Mackinac Island State Park Visitor’s Center. This is a free event. #thisismackinac

What Can I Find at the Mackinac Island State Park Visitor’s Center?

Ready or not the 2021 season is ready to start.

The Mackinac Island State Park Visitor’s Center from Fort Mackinac.

  If you’ve visited Mackinac Island, you probably remember the Mackinac Island State Park Visitor’s Center. It’s the building with the red roof just past the Chippewa Hotel. Today, we would like to share with you what the Mackinac Island State Park Visitor Center on Mackinac Island is all about and what you can find there.

  It’s simple, really: at the Mackinac Island State Park Visitor’s Center you can find out about all things Mackinac Island State Park. Want to know what demonstrations are going on at Fort Mackinac, or are interested in buying a ticket? Wondering what all comes with your Fort Mackinac ticket? We can help! Wondering about special events like Movies in the Fort or Music in the Park? Talk to us! Curious about the juried art exhibition at The Richard and Jane Manoogian Mackinac Art Museum, the Artist-in-Residence program, or the new exhibit at the Biddle House? We have the info. Want to know about the Botanical Trail, what’s at British Landing, or the status of M-185? That’s what we’re here for.

  There are some things we cannot help you with, though. Wondering who has the best fudge or how much a taxi ride is up to the Grand Hotel? You’re out of luck. If you’re interested in a Carriage Tour you’ll need to head down to the stand on Main Street. If you’re curious about hotels on the island, or dinner reservations, or who has the best night life, the Mackinac Island Tourism Bureau is your best bet, and that building is just down the road.

A new Arch Rock t-shirt available for the 2021 season.

  Starting in 2021, the Mackinac Island State Park Visitor’s Center will also serve as the home to the official Mackinac Island State Park Store. We will have great new souvenirs and merchandise: Arch Rock t-shirts, M-185 mile marker stickers, ornaments, mugs, and magnets, just to name a few. We also have all the Mackinac State Historic Park publications pertaining to Mackinac Island and as well as a few about our Mackinaw City sites.

U.S. Coast Guard Life-Saving Station stamp.

  Did you know that the Mackinac Island State Park Visitor Center was originally the site of the Coast Guard Life-Saving Station?  It was built in 1915, the year the Life-Saving Service and the Revenue Cutter Service were merged to form the U.S. Coast Guard. The Coast Guard closed the Mackinac Island Life-Saving Station in 1969, transferring operations to its new base in St. Ignace. In 1970 the Mackinac Island State Park Commission acquired the building, and the Visitor’s Center was born. We have a passport stamp available at the Mackinac Island State Park Visitor’s Center for the Mackinac Island U.S. Coast Guard Life-Saving Station if you would like to stop by and have your book stamped for a donation.

  The Mackinac Island State Park is also home to the Mackinac Island Artist-in-Residence Apartment, on the second floor, as well as the Station 256 Conference Room, also on the second floor. The conference room can be booked for small meetings and gatherings.

  The Mackinac Island State Park Visitor’s Center and official State Park Store open May 7. We hope to see you this summer!