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.

Unusual Michigan Festivals to Put on Your Summer Bucket List

Michigan is home to a number of “off the beaten path” festivals you won’t find anywhere else.  From Elvisfest to Cheeseburger fest, and everything in-between, there truly is something for everyone to enjoy. Here are just a few of the most unique Michigan festivals to add to your summer bucket list. For more, visit michigan.org/events.

lumberjackJack Pine Lumberjack Show
May 16 – September 1, Mackinaw City
Come cheer the Lumberjacks in this fast paced competition of chopping, chain-sawing, pole climbing, logrolling and more. You’ll see turn of the century skills of the lumberjack in action!

Train Expo 2014
June 20-22, Owosso
See the very best in steam locomotives from all over the U.S. as well as vintage WWII airplanes and some of the finest in automobiles from across the generations, all in Owosso! A giant midway, an auto race and the history of transportation will be available for the family to see, ride, and experience for this unforgettable weekend.

Marquette Mountain Mud
June 21, Marquette
Enjoy natural river showers via snow guns, river crossings, a huge mound of snow to climb, a giant slippery slide, plenty of other challenging  obstacles, and fresh mud to run and crawl through.  Enjoy a scenic chairlift ride to the top of Marquette Mountain, then complete your chosen 4-mile or 2-mile race to the finish line at the chalet. The courses will lead you through a set of switchbacks and various obstacles along your 550 foot descent  to the finish!

PIC SHOWS: FROM SHOOT: Chough bakery, Padstow.Michigan Pasty Fest
June 28, Calumet
Celebrate the Keweenaw’s “Pasty” history with a parade, children’s games, a pasty sale, live music and dancing with the Pasty Bake-Off for the coveted Copper Pasty Award. Event held at Agassiz Park.

Cedar Polka Fest
July 3-6, Cedar
Held yearly in Cedar, Michigan, under the big tent on the tennis courts. Highlights include a parade on Saturday at noon, softball tournament, a polka mass and polka under the big, big tent with the big names of polka.

Michigan ElvisFest
July 11-12, Ypsilanti
The Annual Michigan ElvisFest brings the best of Michigan’s Elvis impersonators together!  It’s just around the corner – Friday, July 11 and Saturday, July 12.

Maker-Faire-Detroit

Photo courtesy of The Henry Ford

Maker Faire Detroit
July 26-27, The Henry Ford
Tinker, hack and mingle with over 400 makers during the ultimate festival of invention and creativity at the world’s original Maker mecca. You won’t believe your eyes!

Fish Sandwich Festival
August 1 -3, Bay Port, MI
Fresh fish sandwiches are the stars of the show during this festival! Free entertainment, parade, classic car show, bingo, kid’s games, raffles. Check out website link for full event schedule.

Michigan Pirate Festival
August 4-10, Grand Haven
Michigan Pirate Festival’s 8th year in western Michigan is this August 4-10, 2014, in Grand Haven. This year’s event will include pirate hunters, re-enactors, literary and fantasy characters, encampments, and pirates from more eras than ever before. Come out and see for yourself what the excitement is all about!

Rubber Ducky Festival
August 16, Bellaire
See two-thousand rubber ducks race down the Intermediate River! Also, visit the Arts and Craft show at Duckling Park on Broad Street with kids games, sidewalk sales and parade.

005The US-127 National Yard Sale
August 7-10, Hudson, MI
Dubbed the “World’s Largest Yard Sale”, this unique festival spans across five states!  Starting in Gadsden, Alabama and ending just north of Hudson, this national event is something bargain hunters can’t afford to miss (pun intended).

 Cheeseburger in Caseville
August 8-17, Caseville, MI
This family-oriented, 10-day event offers daily music, homemade boat races, parades, classic car shows, and more!  Not to mention the many different varieties of cheeseburgers you can enjoy as you spend time on the shore of picturesque Lake Huron.  Purchase your Cheeseburger Button to get into all of the events for the entire 10 days!

If you’re a cheeseburger fanatic, this festival is the one for you. If you’re more of a barbecue lover, be sure to check out Caseville’s Country Rib Stock Festival happening June 27 – 29th!

Blueberry-Festival-2012-043-1024x768Montrose Blueberry Festival
August 14-17, Montrose, MI
The Montrose Blueberry Festival is a weekend full of fun for the whole family!  Come enjoy delicious blueberry pancakes and pies while you sit back, relax, and watch the parade go by. This annual festival includes a flea market, carnival, 5k/8k road race, and much more.  Make your way to Montrose for a weekend you won’t forget!

For more celebrations dedicated to the blueberry, head out to Marquette’s Blueberry Festival on July 25th or the National Blueberry Festival in South Haven August 7th-10th!

Edmore Potato Festival
August 22-24, Edmore, MI
Celebrate all things ‘potato’ with a farmer’s market, parade,  rodeo, fireworks and more!

If you’re looking for more quirky and unique Michigan festivals throughout the year, be sure to keep the Trenary Outhouse Races or Potterville’s Gizzardfest on your radar!

Do you know of any other unique festivals happening around the state this summer? 

 

Celebrating Women Who Rock at The Henry Ford, Especially When They’re From Michigan

Women Who Rock at The Henry Ford is an unprecedented chance to revisit the musicians who have helped shape rock and roll — innovators like Madonna and Aretha Franklin, Janis Joplin, Tina Turner and dozens of others! Today, guest blogger Lish Dorset gives us a sneak peek at some of the artifacts featured in the new exhibit.

On May 17th, we opened the doors of our Flex Gallery in Henry Ford Museum to our latest exhibit, “Women Who Rock: Vision, Passion, Power.” Presented by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, our staff has been buzzing about the ever since the first artifact arrived in Dearborn.

Photo courtesy of The Henry Ford

Photo courtesy of The Henry Ford

The exhibit highlights the creative contributions of many talented female musicians, from contemporary icons like Lady Gaga to renowned artists like Billie Holiday. It’s a safe bet that one of your most favorite female artists will be represented in the exhibit.

What makes this exhibit even more exciting is its connection to Michigan artists. Who can you expect? Some pretty well-known artists, that’s who. For rock fans, Meg White’s Pearl peppermint bass drum reflects her time with The White Stripes. A collection of lyrics, clothing and even a clarinet represent Patti Smith.

Going back to the 1960s, two of The Supremes’ iconic dresses are included in the exhibit. For Aretha Franklin, there are sheets of lyrics, dresses and even a poster of her with Martin Luther King, Jr.

Photo courtesy of The Henry Ford

Photo courtesy of The Henry Ford

And what would a Michigan roundup be without Madonna? Showcasing some of her work from 1990s, you’ll see handwritten lyrics, notebooks and instantly recognizable costumes designed by none other than Jean Paul Gaultier.

I can’t wait to see such an amazing group of Michigan women included in this awesome exhibit.

To help celebrate “Women Who Rock,” we’re giving away tickets to Henry Ford Museum throughout the summer. Simply let us know what your first concert was by tagging a social update with #MyFirstConcert and you’ll be entered to win.

Photo courtesy of The Henry Ford

Photo courtesy of The Henry Ford

You can see “Women Who Rock” May 17 through August 17 at Henry Ford Museum. Entrance to the exhibit is included with membership to The Henry Ford or paid museum admission.

Do you plan to visit The Henry Ford to see Women Who Rock this summer?

Lish Dorset is the social media manager for The Henry Ford in Dearborn. She lives in Royal Oak with her family. You can learn more about Women Who Rock by checking out The Henry Ford’s blog.