Residents Appreciation Day

For residents of Mackinac, Cheboygan, or Emmet counties, for one weekend, we discount the admission prices for all of our sites to what they were when we first began operating our modern museum programs for the public in 1958. (.50 cents adults, .25 cents children). Thank you for supporting Mackinac State Historic Parks!

This special offer includes residents of Mackinac, Cheboygan and Emmet counties. Proof of residency is required (e.g. driver’s license).

What’s New for 2021?

  Opening day for Mackinac State Historic Parks’ sites is a little more than two months away, and MSHP staff have been busy readying new tours, exhibits, publications, and more.

  The most exciting opening for the season is the Biddle House, featuring the Mackinac Island Native American Museum. It had been slated to open for the 2020 season. However, construction progress was derailed during at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, allowing MSHP to only open the site for a weekend at the very end of the 2020 season. It will open on May 1 with the rest of the MSHP island sites.

  Up at Fort Mackinac, the beloved Kids’ Quarters will receive an update, the third to the exhibit in its history, helping to fulfill MSHP’s mission in presenting the history of the Straits of Mackinac. Housed in the oldest public building in Michigan, the Kids’ Quarters will allow guests to experience how soldiers and civilians lived at Fort Mackinac in the 19th century. Here you’ll be able to play various musical instruments used by the military, try on clothes, or design your very own fort, among many other activities.

  New programs at Fort Mackinac for the 2021 season include “The Changing Face of Fort Mackinac,” “The Army of the 1880s,” a deeper look into Mackinac National Park, a tour showcasing the women who called Fort Mackinac home, a Signal Drill Activity, and a program dedicated to what happened at Fort Mackinac after the army left in 1895. The Tea Room at Fort Mackinac, operated by Grand Hotel, will feature new menu items for the 2021 season, and, as always, will feature one of the most stunning views in Michigan. As always, the classic cannon and rifle firings will take place throughout the day, and guests can purchase the opportunity to fire the very first cannon salute of the day.

  At The Richard and Jane Manoogian Mackinac Art Museum, located in front of Fort Mackinac in Marquette Park, a new juried art exhibition will debut on the second floor – “The Seasons of Mackinac.”  While Mackinac has always been known as a “summer gathering place,” its beauty is unparalleled in all seasons. Mackinac Island resident and award-winning artist Bill Murcko will serve as juror for the show. It will be on display at the art museum from May 1 through October 10. Additionally, seven artists-in-residence will stay on Mackinac Island throughout the summer. Each artist will host a special, free workshop on the second Wednesday of their residency.

  Special events at Fort Mackinac and Mackinac Island include the annual Vintage Base Ball game, on July 24, special activities for July 4, and Movies in the Fort throughout the summer. New evenings events exploring Historic Downtown Mackinac and a look at Fort Mackinac then versus now will debut, as well as a new natural history event later in the summer.

  As guests enter Colonial Michilimackinac, in Mackinaw City, they will be stepping back in time to 1778, when rumors of war and peace swirled around Michilimackinac. Guests will see and hear how soldiers, civilians, and Native people responded to threats real and imagined as they attempted to maintain their livelihood, the fur trade. Two new programs at the fort will provide guests an opportunity to get more hands-on with history, where you’ll unpack a trade bale and another where you’ll explore an artilleryman’s arsenal. Other programs at the site will talk about women’s roles at the fort, the enslaved community, the 5,500 square feet of gardens, as well as musket and artillery demonstrations.

  An exciting new program at Colonial Michilimackinac allows guests the opportunity to fire all four black-powder weapons at Michilimackinac: the Short Land Musket, Wall Gun (a BIG musket), Coehorn Mortar, and, as the finale, the cannon. This program is available every evening after the fort closes for regular business June 5-October 8.

  The Mackinac State Historic Parks’ archaeology program will enter its 63rd season in 2021. Work will continue in House E of the Southeast Rowhouse at Colonial Michilimackinac. Archaeologists will be out daily (weather permitting) during the summer months.

  Special events at Colonial Michilimackinac include an exhilarating “Fire at Night” program, informative history talks on topics such as gardening, archaeology, laundry and more, a celebration of the King’s Birth-day on June 4, Movies by the Bridge, the ever-popular Fort Fright, A Colonial Christmas, a weekend exploring John Askin’s Michilimackinac, and others.

  The last few years have seen several gallery openings at Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse – the Straits of Mackinac Shipwreck Museum, the Science and Technology Exhibit, and the Marshall Gallery on the extensively renovated second floor. All galleries will be fully open for the 2021 season. Throughout the day, historic interpreters will sound the Fog Signal Whistle.

  Over at Historic Mill Creek Discovery Park, the Adventure Tour will return to operation for the 2021 season. A more robust daily events schedule will showcase the sawpit and sawmill, an extensive tour looking at what else happened historically at Historic Mill Creek, and guided nature hikes through the three miles of groomed hiking trails. A special evening program discussing archaeology at Historic Mill Creek and a closing weekend celebration mark the special events for Historic Mill Creek Discovery Park this summer. Click here for the complete list of special events.

  Two new publications will hit bookshelves in 2021. The first, Preservation at Mackinac – The History of the Mackinac Island State Park Commission, 1895-2020, is an update to 100 Years at Mackinac, originally published in 1995 as part of the centennial celebration of Mackinac Island State Park. This updated version fills in the past 25 years and adds additional details to other events. The other publication, Pipes and Bottles or Bacchanalian Revels? The Truth About Robinson’s Folly, is a new vignette by Todd E. Harburn and Brian Leigh Dunnigan. Both books will be available at museum stores this summer.

  Road work will continue along M-185. The road, which has been heavily damaged by high water levels the last few years, will be fully paved throughout the summer. While this may cause annoyances for the 2021 season, the completed road will allow visitors to explore the beautiful shoreline in peace for many years in the future.

  The Mackinac Island State Park Visitor’s Center, located on Main Street across from Marquette Park, will become home to the Official Mackinac Island State Park Store. Souvenirs, clothing and merchandise inspired by the natural and historical elements of Mackinac Island State Park will be available. Additionally, the six other museum stores will feature new and exciting items for the 2021 season.

  Most major projects were funded, in part, by Mackinac Associates. Visit mackinacparks.com for a complete listing of updates and projects at Mackinac State Historic Parks. The season begins at Fort Mackinac, The Richard and Jane Manoogian Mackinac Art Museum, and Biddle House on May 1. Tickets can be purchased here.

Getewaaking – “At the Place of the Ancient Ones”

P8310131 – Pottery fragments excavated at Getewaaking.

  Mackinac Island is blessed with a lovely natural harbor. The beach terrace above it has always been a center of activity. Today this area is the business district and Marquette Park. Hundreds of years ago this area was a bustling village. Scattered evidence of this village has been encountered during a number of construction projects over the years. A larger portion of the village was systematically excavated in 2009 during the conversion of the Indian Dormitory/old Mackinac Island Public School building into The Richard and Jane Manoogian Mackinac Art Museum. The excavation was carried out by Andrews Cultural Resources, under the direction of Wesley Andrews, through a contract with Mackinac State Historic Parks. All photos in this post were taken by Andrews Cultural Resources staff.

P8300125 – Copper bead excavated at Getewaaking.

  The village, which Andrews called Getewaaking, meaning “at the place of the ancient ones,” was inhabited seasonally from c.500 A.D. to 1600 A.D. Analysis of the animal bones excavated at the site showed that the villagers were fishing for whitefish and lake trout in the fall and burbot in the winter. They supplemented their diet with moose, caribou, beaver, white-tailed deer, black bear, and domesticated dog.

P8300122 – Copper point excavated at Getewaaking.

  A variety of pottery sherds were found, including some with decorations similar to those on sherds found on nearby Bois Blanc Island. An example is on display in the Mackinac Art Museum. [P8310131] Chert projectile points and scrapers were among the stone tools recovered. [P8300101] Copper beads and tools, including a projectile point, a knife and two awls, were also found. [P8300125] [P8300122] [P8300116]

P8300116 – Copper awl excavated at Getewaaking.

P8300101 – Chert projectile point excavated at Getewaaking.

Workshops at the Museum

Presented by the Mackinac Arts Council. Join local and regional artists as they share their art expertise. 2020 workshops take place in Marquette Park on the lawn outside The Richard and Jane Manoogian Mackinac Art Museum. Supplies are provided, but you may also bring your own. Class sizes are limited – early registration is recommended through the Mackinac Arts Council.

All workshops cost $20 per day unless otherwise noted. Discounts are available for students and Mackinac Island summer employees. Workshops are held after regular museum hours.

Workshop Schedule:

July 6 – Acrylics with Maria Sych
July 13 – Plein Air with Maeve Croghan
July 20 – Metal Punch with Megan Kromer
July 29 – Acrylic Studio with Maria Sych
August 5 – Instagram with Sara Wright
August 12 – Plein Air with Maeve Croghan
August 21 – Intercontinental Biennial of Indienous Art

Workshops at the Museum

Presented by the Mackinac Arts Council. Join local and regional artists as they share their art expertise. 2020 workshops take place in Marquette Park on the lawn outside The Richard and Jane Manoogian Mackinac Art Museum. Supplies are provided, but you may also bring your own. Class sizes are limited – early registration is recommended through the Mackinac Arts Council.

All workshops cost $20 per day unless otherwise noted. Discounts are available for students and Mackinac Island summer employees. Workshops are held after regular museum hours.

Workshop Schedule:

July 6 – Acrylics with Maria Sych
July 13 – Plein Air with Maeve Croghan
July 20 – Metal Punch with Megan Kromer
July 29 – Acrylic Studio with Maria Sych
August 5 – Instagram with Sara Wright
August 12 – Plein Air with Maeve Croghan
August 21 – Intercontinental Biennial of Indienous Art

Workshops at the Museum

Presented by the Mackinac Arts Council. Join local and regional artists as they share their art expertise. 2020 workshops take place in Marquette Park on the lawn outside The Richard and Jane Manoogian Mackinac Art Museum. Supplies are provided, but you may also bring your own. Class sizes are limited – early registration is recommended through the Mackinac Arts Council.

All workshops cost $20 per day unless otherwise noted. Discounts are available for students and Mackinac Island summer employees. Workshops are held after regular museum hours.

Workshop Schedule:

July 6 – Acrylics with Maria Sych
July 13 – Plein Air with Maeve Croghan
July 20 – Metal Punch with Megan Kromer
July 29 – Acrylic Studio with Maria Sych
August 5 – Instagram with Sara Wright
August 12 – Plein Air with Maeve Croghan
August 21 – Intercontinental Biennial of Indienous Art

Workshops at the Museum

Presented by the Mackinac Arts Council. Join local and regional artists as they share their art expertise. 2020 workshops take place in Marquette Park on the lawn outside The Richard and Jane Manoogian Mackinac Art Museum. Supplies are provided, but you may also bring your own. Class sizes are limited – early registration is recommended through the Mackinac Arts Council.

All workshops cost $20 per day unless otherwise noted. Discounts are available for students and Mackinac Island summer employees. Workshops are held after regular museum hours.

Workshop Schedule:

July 6 – Acrylics with Maria Sych
July 13 – Plein Air with Maeve Croghan
July 20 – Metal Punch with Megan Kromer
July 29 – Acrylic Studio with Maria Sych
August 5 – Instagram with Sara Wright
August 12 – Plein Air with Maeve Croghan
August 21 – Intercontinental Biennial of Indienous Art

‘The Seasons of Mackinac’ Open House and Reception

“The Seasons of Mackinac” will be celebrated with awards and a reception outside The Richard and Jane Manoogian Mackinac Art Museum. This event is open and free to the public. Co-sponsored by Mackinac Associates and the Mackinac Arts Council.

While Mackinac has always been known as a “summer gathering place,” its beauty is unparalleled in all seasons. We encourage artists working in all media to share with us their artistic visions of Mackinac Island and the Straits of Mackinac through the seasons. Subjects may be historic buildings, dramatic limestone formations, tranquil vistas, forested trails, water views, or whatev­er subject best captures the artist’s vision of Mackinac.

Workshops at the Museum

Presented by the Mackinac Arts Council. Join local and regional artists as they share their art expertise. 2020 workshops take place in Marquette Park on the lawn outside The Richard and Jane Manoogian Mackinac Art Museum. Supplies are provided, but you may also bring your own. Class sizes are limited – early registration is recommended through the Mackinac Arts Council.

All workshops cost $20 per day unless otherwise noted. Discounts are available for students and Mackinac Island summer employees. Workshops are held after regular museum hours.

Workshop Schedule:

July 6 – Acrylics with Maria Sych
July 13 – Plein Air with Maeve Croghan
July 20 – Metal Punch with Megan Kromer
July 29 – Acrylic Studio with Maria Sych
August 5 – Instagram with Sara Wright
August 12 – Plein Air with Maeve Croghan
August 21 – Intercontinental Biennial of Indienous Art