Six Fascinating Artifacts to See at the Michigan Historical Museum

A day spent exploring a Michigan museum can cure your cabin fever in a hurry! Guest blogger Mary Dettloff from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources give us some inside information on what you’ll find at the Michigan Historical Museum this winter and beyond. 

Michigan Historical Museum

Michigan Historical Museum

The end of the U.S. Civil War, the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln, the economic boom in post-war Michigan – these facets of American history are all examined in a new special exhibit at the Michigan Historical Museum called “Conceived in Liberty.”

The exhibit takes its themes from Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. It opens with the Battle of Gettysburg and follows Michigan soldiers through the end of the war. There are stories of cavalrymen in battle, engineers and mechanics building bridges, Native Americans serving in Company K of the First Michigan Sharpshooters and Michigan’s 102nd U.S. Colored Troops.

The exhibit then turns to the war’s end and the following two decades. It includes artifacts associated with Lincoln’s assassination, stories of Michigan’s economic expansion and diversity, and illustrations of equality and inequality following the war. The final segment, which includes the Civil War flag exhibit area, focuses on how we have remembered the war.

Some of the special artifacts included in the exhibit are:

1. An 1863 newspaper from Vicksburg, Mississippi, printed on the back of wallpaper because there was no newsprint available due to the Union siege.

2. A rosette from the casket of Abraham Lincoln. Dell Root Howard, who graduated from Coldwater High School in 1876, donated the rosette to the Coldwater Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, which in turn donated to the Michigan Historical Museum in 1941. It is unknown how Howard came to possess the rosette. She was 8 years old the year Lincoln was assassinated. An illustration of Lincoln lying in state shows a very similar rosette as part of the casket presentation.ConceivedInLiberty-20141003-5273_rosette_small

3. An invitation received by U.S. Senator Zachariah Chandler of Michigan to attend President Abraham Lincoln’s funeral services at the White House on April 19, 1865. The card is on loan from the Library of Congress.

4.  A lady’s jacket said to be worn by a Michigan resident who was at Ford Theater the night President Lincoln was shot there.

ConceivedInLiberty-20141003-5269_jacket_small

5. A headband created by Michigan Indians from Company K of the First Michigan Sharpshooters for their commander, Colonel Charles V. DeLand.

6.  A tobacco pouch carried by abolitionist and women’s rights advocate Sojourner Truth, who lived in Battle Creek after the war. She traveled to Kansas in 1879 in support of the “Exodusters,” blacks who fled the south after federal troops were withdrawn at the end of Reconstruction.

Sojourner Truth Tobacco Pouch

Family programming related to exhibit is being offered through the summer of 2015. For more information on the popular “Second Saturdays” program, go to www.michigan.gov/museum.

The Michigan Historical Museum is located at 702 W. Kalamazoo St. near downtown Lansing. Weekdays during the school year, the museum is busy hosting students from across the state on educational field trips. Weekends and summer months are less crowded. The museum is an easy drive from the Grand Rapids and metro Detroit regions.

The museum and visitor parking are on the north side of Kalamazoo Street, two blocks east of M. L. King Jr. Boulevard. Weekend parking is free. General admission fees for the Michigan Historical Museum, which include the special exhibit, are $6 for adults 18-64, children through age 5 are free, youth ages 6-17 are $2, and seniors 65 and up are $4. Annual passes are available, and there is no admission charge on Sundays.

Have you ever made a visit to the Michigan Historical Museum? 

Mary Dettloff is senior advisor for communications for the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR), and a native of Northern Michigan.

Five Michigan Honeymoon Getaways That Won’t Disappoint

Photo by Andrejka Photography

Photo by Andrejka Photography

Did you know that February is National Weddings Month? You plan and prep for months and months, but once the big day is over and you’ve said your ‘I do’s,’ it’s time to unwind and spend some quality time with your other half. Michigan’s sandy beaches, dramatic waterscapes, romantic sunsets and small town charm make the perfect backdrop for a perfect honeymoon.

These five Pure Michigan honeymoon getaway ideas won’t break the bank and certainly won’t disappoint!

1. Mackinac Island

Grand Hotel - Mackinac Island. Photo by Julie Christiansen

Grand Hotel – Mackinac Island. Photo by Julie Christiansen

There is no place quite like Mackinac Island. Enjoy a relaxed vacation on the island where everything moves a little slower (No cars are allowed!). Whether you travel by horse and buggy, bicycle or foot, you’ll take in beautiful scenery surrounded by water. Immerse yourself in a quaint downtown atmosphere, shopping and all of the fudge you can possibly eat. Complete your honeymoon getaway by staying at the famous Grand Hotel or choose from the multiple unique bed and breakfasts around the island.

2. Traverse City

Traverse City is a four season travel destination, you can choose between winter and summer sports galore. In the winter, there are plenty of opportunities for your favorite winter sports. In the summer, climb mountains of sand at the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, which will provide breathtaking views seen from the dunes and forest. After all of the exercise you deserve to enjoy some delicious eats. Dining in Traverse City will be a culinary journey with plenty of restaurants for sampling amazing food and Michigan craft beer. Round out your trip and toast to your new life together with some romantic wine tasting on the Leelanau Peninsula. 

3. Michigan’s Gold Coast

Michael Johnson Grand haven

Grand Haven Sunset. Photo by Michael Johnson

From Saugatuck to Holland and Grand Haven to Silver Lake Sand Dunes, you can’t go wrong on 3,000 miles of sandy shoreline.  

Named one of  USA Today’s Best Summer Weekend Escapes, Saugatuck’s grassy dunes, white sand beaches, unique shops, fine dining and exquisite lodging lure visitors from far and wide. This beachtown has maintained the charm of small-town rural America and is the perfect place for a easygoing getaway with your sweetie.

Holland is a small, historic town with so much to offer. Take a stroll on the cobblestone sidewalks or a bike ride on the scenic lakeshore. Ride your horse to the finish on an antique carousel. Watch windmill blades pinwheel through the sky. This is a perfect option for a low-key honeymoon where you just want to enjoy each others company. Here, you’ll fall in love with Holland and each other all over again.

Silver Lake Sand Dunes. Photo by Jennifer Lilienthal.

Silver Lake Sand Dunes. Photo by Jennifer Lilienthal.

One of Michigan’s featured beachtowns and a renaissance city, Grand Haven has become a beacon for those looking for simplicity and natural beauty. From its roots as a highly commercial port-of-call for ferries and passenger liners, Grand Haven has evolved to become a place of serene enjoyment, hosting lively outdoor recreation, a thriving downtown, history, culture and festivals on the shores of Lake Michigan and the Grand River. Grand Haven is also home to the world’s largest musical fountain, boardwalk, beautiful beaches, lighthouses, historic downtown, and more.

Silver Lake Sand Dunes is a beach paradise! Nestled along the shore of Lake Michigan and Silver Lake you’ll find massive sand dunes, beach buggies—with the only sand dunes in Michigan where you can drive your own ORV—and miles of pristine shoreline beaches designed for pure fun. Spend the morning on the dunes, the afternoon in the water and finish your day in one of the dunes’ charming villages for a relaxing dinner at a locally owned restaurant.

Lover's Leap at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. Photo by Dave Duchaine

Lover’s Leap at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. Photo by Dave Duchaine

4. Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore

If you want an experience you will never forget, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore is the place to go. Multicolored sandstone cliffs, beaches, sand dunes, waterfalls, inland lakes, streams, forests and wildlife comprise this scenic area on Lake Superior. Activities include sightseeing, camping, kayaking, backpacking, hiking, fishing, picnicking and boating. For the more adventurous couple, paddling is one of the best ways to see this magnificent shoreline. Take a photo together at Lover’s Leap to truly capture the moment.

5. Michigan Resorts

Nothing sets the stage for a luxurious vacation quite like a Michigan resort. From shopping to fine dining, luxurious spas to beautiful mornings along fairways, Michigan resorts have it all. Here you can relax, have fun and live it up. A five-star night in one of Michigan’s resorts can be a honeymooner’s dream come true. Challenge your sweetie to a round of golf on one of many championship golf courses throughout the state. You won’t want to miss this elegant, yet rustic getaway.

Where in Michigan would you go on your dream getaway? For more on popular Michigan attractions and destinations, visit michigan.org/hot-spots.

Try to Pronounce the Names of 9 More Tongue-Twisting Michigan Destinations

A few months ago, we challenged our fans to pronounce the names of 12 cities within the state that could be considered Michigan tongue-twisters. Since our fans didn’t break a sweat, we’re taking the gloves (or mittens) off and offering another challenge.

Can you correctly pronounce the names of these nine unique cities and towns in Michigan? Test your skills below!

Ocqueoc River Falls - Photo by Patti Potts

Ocqueoc Falls – Photo by Patti Potts

1. Ocqueoc Township
Ocqueoc is home to the largest waterfall in the Lower Peninsula. In addition to the falls, there is access to the Ocqueoc Falls Bicentennial Pathway, which includes loop lengths from six miles to three miles where you’re free to hike, cross country ski or bike. “Ah-key-ock” is the perfect place to get lost and explore the beautiful nature of Pure Michigan.

2. Ontonagon
Ontonagon County on the south shore of Lake Superior includes the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park , created in 1945. Famous locations in the park include the Lake of the Clouds, one of the most scenic spots in all of Michigan and Summit Peak Observation Tower, one of the highest points in found in the state. For history buffs, there are self-guided trails to old mining sites on the Union Mine Scenic Trail, and the Nonesuch Mine location. A trip to “On-ten-ogg-en” should be on every Michiganders bucket list!

3. Quanicassee
For fishing enthusiasts, a trip to “Qua-kna-ca-see” might be a Michigan angler’s paradise. You might catch walleye, perch or bass or even have northern pike, sunfish or catfish tugging at your line. Camping and boating options are available all along Saginaw Bay, from Bay City west of Quanicassee to Unionville heading east from the town. Check out charters and fishing guides also operate on these waters!

Michigan Iron Industry Museum

Michigan Iron Industry Museum

4. Negaunee
The discovery of iron ore by an exploratory mining party near the shore of Teal Lake in 1844 launched the birth of of “Ne-gaw-nee”. Native Americans who had long resided in and traversed the area led the explorers to the massive outcropping of ore. Their heritage lives on in the name of Negaunee, which means “pioneer” in Chippewa. Consider visiting the Michigan Iron Industry Museum and explore the first iron forge in the Lake Superior Region.

5. Sebewaing
“See-ba-wing” is a perfect summer destination as it annually hosts the Michigan Sugar Festival in June. The village features a marina, County Park, museums, shops, restaurants and bed and breakfast accommodations, among much more. Sebewaing is a great place for a weekend excursion and is known for great walleye fishing, too!

6. Onekama
In 1845, Adam Stronach built a lumber mill on the channel between Lake Michigan and Portage Lake. “Oh-neck-a-mah” (the Native American name for Portage) was settled and soon had two major railroads; the Manistee and the Northwestern. Today, the village consists of many prospering businesses including restaurants, lodging facilities, retail stores and a marina. The Historic Portage Point Inn along with other Victorian style cottages offer a glimpse back in time when tourism first started and this great resort town was developed.

Naubinway, MI - Photo by Edward Shotwell

Naubinway, MI – Photo by Edward Shotwell

7. Naubinway
Here’s an easy one. Naubinway, or “naw-bin-way”, is the northernmost community on Lake Michigan’s shoreline and the largest commercial fishing port on the Great Lakes in the Upper Peninsula.  A unique treat for visitors is the chance to purchase fish caught locally, buying the fish directly off the dock. The Native American name Naubinway means Places of Echoes. Pack up the van and spend a weekend at Hog Island Point State Forest!

8. Onondaga Township
The small town of “on-on-dah-gah” is located near Lansing in Michigan’s Lower Peninsula. The township and community were named after the Iroquois nation of Onondaga, historically based in New York. A post office was first established at the place about 1844, with Perez Howland as the first postmaster. In 1847 Perez Howland built a grocery, where the post office was operated out of. Today, Onondaga offers man home-town restaurants and taverns for visitors to enjoy.  If you’re looking for something sweet, check out Balzer Blueberries of Onondaga, a U-Pick Pure Michigan treat!

Charlevoix - Photo by Alan Leese

Charlevoix – Photo by Alan Leese

9. Clio
Clee-oh? Cly-oh?  Clio, pronounced “Cli-oh”, is located near the northern border of Genesee County. The area functions as an adjunct community to the greater Flint area and has a significant amount of manufacturing and small businesses. If you’re looking for a place to unwind, visit Buell Lake County Park and drop in a line!

Too easy? Give these a try: Charlevoix, Fort Gratiot, Kewadin, Bois Blanc, Ponshewaing, MenonaquaTopinabee

How many of these could you name without missing a beat? Let us know below! For more information on unique Michigan cities and attractions across the state, visit Michigan.org.