Artist-in-Residence Workshop

Join our resident artist for a free workshop. Workshop to be held in the Station 256 Conference room, located above the Mackinac Island State Park Visitor’s Center. This is a free workshop! #thisismackinac

June 12 – Rug braiding with multimedia artist Jillian Blackwell
June 26 – Island Echoes: Exploring the Sonic Canvasses Inspired by the Art and Nature of Mackinac Island with musician Carrie Pierce
July 10 – Sound as Story, Story as Sound: Explorations in Sound Art with sculptor and sound artist Susan Byrnes
July 24 – History of furniture making and the art and craft of woodworking with woodworker Kyle Huntoon
August 7 – A reading and discussion of an in-progress work, “Grand Island,” with writer Theodore Van Alst
August 21 – Creating compelling ultra-resolution photography with adventure photographer David Mills
September 4 – A discussion on the process of creating botanic illustrations with watercolor artist Jane Kendra
September 18 – A presentation of the choreographed work to the themes of Jane Schoolcraft’s writing with dancer Sarah Langdon
October 2 – A presentation on the personal work and trajectory as an artist with visual artist Mary Jo Karimnia

Artist-in-Residence Workshop with Author and Journalist Amy Haimerl

Amy Haimerl will host a workshop that is a mix of presentation and “Ask Me Anything” about how media works. Haimerl will present a warp speed history of media, from cave walls to TikTok. Then the group will discuss how changes in distribution have detached media from community and how those changes impact newspapers and magazines now. Finally, Haimerl will get granular and talk about how and why certain stories get assigned — and why some do not. All along, Haimerl will take questions from the audience about how the media sausage is made.

This is a free workshop located in the Station 256 Conference Room, located above the Mackinac Island State Park Visitor’s Center. #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 Playwright Jessie Lillis

For their public presentation, Heron Kennedy and Jessie Lillis will present their research on the island, as well as excerpts from an adapted script of The Tempest. By this point in the residency, they will have chosen a location for the performance, and will be well-underway with adapting the script, so they will be able to give participants an idea of the type of performance they can expect to see the following summer. If participants are interested, Kennedy and Lillis will be happy to perform selected passages from the adapted script.

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

Artist-in-Residence Workshop with Artist Patrick Mohundro

Artist Patrick Mohundro will give a lecture on their work, outlining their relationship to materials and how it relates to Mohundro’s childhood in Iron Mountain, MI. Additionally, Mohundro may give a workshop on stained glass and casting with different materials such as porcelain or deodorant.

Finally, Mohundro will introduce their gallery project in some capacity.

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

Artist-in-Residence Workshop Painter John Dempsey

Painter John Dempsey will give a presentation on Military Field Drawing during the time of the British and American occupation of Fort Mackinac. The discussion would focus on methods of drawing from direct observation and the training that was given military personnel during 18th and 19th centuries in order to communicate important military field information.

People attending this presentation will then be offered drawing materials and encouraged to try their hand at drawing items that are either located in the The Richard & Jane Manoogian Mackinac Art Museum or of a nearby outdoor landscape. They will be encouraged to make their drawings with the thought in mind that it will be sent as ‘reconnaissance’ to an imaginary group of British or American army officers.

The goal of the presentation is to encourage people to engage in an activity that directly connects them to an activity practiced by historic Mackinac inhabitants. Drawing from direct observation isn’t an activity that one necessarily associates with early America History but it can be easily understood as an important, and even vital, communication tool of the time.

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

Artist-in-Residence Workshop with Poet Lauren Carlson

Life By Water: on Mindfulness and Poetic Form
with Lauren K. Carlson and Great Lakes Poet Lorine Niedecker

Lauren K. Carlson will present an interactive poetry workshop for the public on mindfulness, poetic form and observing the natural world. Using regional poet Lorine Niedecker’s work as an example, participants will 1) receive a presentation on haiku, mindfulness, and objectivist poetry with relation to nature and place 2) take an observation walk (“gingko walk” in the Japanese Tradition) and return to 3) compose poems with notes taken while observing, before 4) sharing poems with other attendees and reflecting on the newly created works.

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

Artist-in-Residence Workshop with Composer Andrew Perkins

Perkins is a composer, conductor, and music educator from Fenton, MI. In 1938, a young folk music collector named Alan Lomax came from Washington, DC to record Michigan’s folk music traditions for the Archive of American Folk-Song at the Library of Congress. Lomax was particularly interested in the trove of ballads remembered by aging lumberjacks and Great Lakes sailors. In ten weeks, he recorded more than 120 performers from Detroit to the western Upper Peninsula. These recordings, along with the 1950’s recordings of Duane Starcher (recorded for WMUK Radio at Western Michigan University) were rich source material for an arrangement Perkins created in 2020 titled “TUEBOR SUITE.” The arrangement is for symphonic wind band, and has been performed dozens of times in the state and around the country.

For their public presentation, Perkins will sing these folk songs, accompanying themself on the guitar. During the residency, Perkins will also be composing a lyrical work based on the natural beauty and historical importance of the island, to be premiered at a later date.

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