Askin’s Men and Women at Michilimackinac, 1778

Askin’s Men and Women at Michilimackinac, 1778, will explore the lives of the men and women, both free and enslaved, who worked for the merchant John Askin at Michilimackinac in the 1770s. Join the staff at Michilimackinac as they demonstrate the various work performed by Askin’s employees, who included sailors, bakers, gardeners, cooks, voyageurs, laundresses, and more. Be sure to explore all around the fort and grounds, as informal demonstrations will be taking place throughout the weekend as well! All events will be included with a regular ticket to Colonial Michilimackinac. #thisismackinac

PROGRAM SCHEDULE

10:00 a.m. – Hands on History: Unpack a Trade Bale Activity
11:00 a.m. – Askin’s Employees Program
12:00 p.m. – Michilimackinac’s Enslaved Community Program
2:00 p.m. – Sailors and Voyageurs Boat Demonstration
4:00 p.m. – Askin’s Employees Program
5:00 p.m. – Hands on History: Unpack a Trade Bale Activity
6:00 p.m. – People of the Fur Trade Program

Askin’s Men and Women at Michilimackinac, 1778

Askin’s Men and Women at Michilimackinac, 1778, will explore the lives of the men and women, both free and enslaved, who worked for the merchant John Askin at Michilimackinac in the 1770s. Join the staff at Michilimackinac as they demonstrate the various work performed by Askin’s employees, who included sailors, bakers, gardeners, cooks, voyageurs, laundresses, and more. Be sure to explore all around the fort and grounds, as informal demonstrations will be taking place throughout the weekend as well! All events will be included with a regular ticket to Colonial Michilimackinac. #thisismackinac

PROGRAM SCHEDULE

10:00 a.m. – Hands on History: Unpack a Trade Bale Activity
11:00 a.m. – Askin’s Employees Program
12:00 p.m. – Michilimackinac’s Enslaved Community Program
2:00 p.m. – Sailors and Voyageurs Boat Demonstration
4:00 p.m. – Askin’s Employees Program
5:00 p.m. – Hands on History: Unpack a Trade Bale Activity
6:00 p.m. – People of the Fur Trade Program

Sunset at Mill Creek

When the sawmill closes for the day and visitors leave the park, the North Woods of Historic Mill Creek Discovery Park come alive with wildlife. Join park naturalist Kyle Bagnall on a quiet evening stroll as we search for animals that become active at night. We’ll be on the lookout for residents such as porcupines, raccoons, owls, and mink along the creek. We may also hear coyotes in the distance and flute-like songs of wood thrushes ringing through the trees. Before sunset, we’ll climb the steps to the top of the Forest Discovery Tower for an amazing view as the sun disappears beneath the horizon.

Participants should meet in the front parking lot, near the flagpoles, where we’ll begin our hike. This is a free event. Participants are encouraged to wear comfortable walking shoes. #thisismackinac

Sunset at Mill Creek

When the sawmill closes for the day and visitors leave the park, the North Woods of Historic Mill Creek Discovery Park come alive with wildlife. Join park naturalist Kyle Bagnall on a quiet evening stroll as we search for animals that become active at night. We’ll be on the lookout for residents such as porcupines, raccoons, owls, and mink along the creek. We may also hear coyotes in the distance and flute-like songs of wood thrushes ringing through the trees. Before sunset, we’ll climb the steps to the top of the Forest Discovery Tower for an amazing view as the sun disappears beneath the horizon.

Participants should meet in the front parking lot, near the flagpoles, where we’ll begin our hike. This is a free event. Participants are encouraged to wear comfortable walking shoes. #thisismackinac

Michilimackinac Unreconstructed

All the of the buildings you see at Michilimackinac today are based on archaeological excavations, but not every structure that has been excavated has been reconstructed. Join Curator of Archaeology Dr. Lynn Evans for an evening tour to learn about these locations and what they tell us about life on the fur trade frontier.

Admission by donation. Entrance is off Straits Avenue. #thisismackinac

Michilimackinac Archaeology 2021 Mid-Season Update

We have reached the halfway point of the 2021 archaeological field season at Michilimackinac and there is progress to report.

Door latch

  The southeast cellar seems to be showing signs of bottoming out. The soil in the southern portion is becoming very sandy with pebbles, like the glacial beach which lies under all of the fort. Some of the wood wall fragments have disappeared. Part of a door latch was found in this area. The northern part of the cellar is becoming somewhat sandier, but the wood planks continue, and it recently yielded a small, plain pewter button and a musket ball.

Pocketknife

  The east wall of the central cellar has become better defined with the burned tops of eight wood posts now exposed. The most interesting artifact of the summer (so far) came from the north edge of this cellar, an intact pocketknife. We hope that future research will help us date it or at least identify it as French or British in order to better understand the construction sequence of the cellars.

  Excavation of 1781 demolition continues further north. We expect to find remnants of the north wall of the house in this area. We have opened the first quad in what we expect to be the final row of squares for this project.

New Quad Opened Up

  The 2021 field season is sponsored by the Mackinac Associates, and we are grateful for their support. Follow MSHP’s social channels and this blog for updates on the rest of the season, or, better yet, come visit the site. We will be excavating every day, weather permitting, through August 21.

Using Cold Frames at Michilimackinac

 Gardeners, especially at the Straits of Mackinac, have always been interested in helping their plants grow despite sometimes problematic environmental conditions. Building walls or planting hedges can protect plants from the wind, which might break fragile stems and leaves, while changing the soil chemistry with manure or compost can make a poor soil rich enough to grow the sweetest melons. But what about the cold? How would gardeners in the 18th century protect tender plants from the snow and frigid temperatures so common in northern Michigan?

 Cold frames may have been the answer. Our gardeners at Colonial Michilimackinac have recently been generously gifted with a very nice cold frame. Built using 18th century specifications, it is essentially a miniature greenhouse. Pots of plants are set inside the frame, or seeds can be planted directly in the soil to get off to a good start in the small, protected environment. The wooden frame is topped with two glass “lights” or windows that can either be kept closed in cold weather to trap heat, vented to release moisture, or completely removed to allow for air flow on sunny and warm days.

 With a bit of work, a cold frame can even be used to generate heat to keep young plants warm and healthy. Historically, frames were placed over brick-lined pits full of animal manure. As the manure decomposed, it released heat, keeping the inside of the frame warm enough to support lettuces, spinach and other cold season vegetables throughout much of the winter, or at least late fall and early spring. Modern gardeners use electric heat mats to produce similar results.

 If you are interested in see our new cold frame and learning more about the gardens and the people that lived at Colonial Michilimackinac visit mackinacparks.com for tickets and more information.

Sunset at Mill Creek

When the sawmill closes for the day and visitors leave the park, the North Woods of Historic Mill Creek Discovery Park come alive with wildlife. Join park naturalist Kyle Bagnall on a quiet evening stroll as we search for animals that become active at night. We’ll be on the lookout for residents such as porcupines, raccoons, owls, and mink along the creek. We may also hear coyotes in the distance and flute-like songs of wood thrushes ringing through the trees. Before sunset, we’ll climb the steps to the top of the Forest Discovery Tower for an amazing view as the sun disappears beneath the horizon.

Participants should meet in the front parking lot, near the flagpoles, where we’ll begin our hike. This is a free event. Participants are encouraged to wear comfortable walking shoes. #thisismackinac