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.

Four Pure Michigan Ways to Spoil Yourself For Singles Appreciation Day

Now’s your chance to spoil yourself! Our friends at The Awesome Mitten share four fun and delicious ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day’s counterpart –  Singles Appreciation Day.

Being single doesn’t mean you have to stay home on February 14th – Valentine’s Day can and should be celebrated by singles!

Photo courtesy of Aaron Murdick's Fudge

Photo courtesy of Aaron Murdick’s Fudge

Michigan provides many opportunities to enjoy single life. Of course, there are many Michigan winter outdoor activities such as skiing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling or ice fishing to occupy your time. If that’s your thing gather up your group of girlfriends or buddies, bundle yourself up and spend your day in the brisk Michigan winter. I am not what you would call “outdoorsy,” but I still can get a mad case of cabin fever and mid-February is often when that reaches its peak.  If you prefer the indoors, Michigan provides just as many opportunities to treat yourself.

Spoil Yourself with Michigan Chocolates
If you are going to stay in, invite your friends over and treat yourselves to some classic Valentine’s Day Michigan chocolates. My personal favorite is Jackson’s Gilbert’s Chocolates  (mmm I could really go for some chocolate covered potato chips right now.)

The Chocolate Garden is another Michigan favorite that beckons travelers along I-94. With billboards featuring accolades from the likes of the Food Network, I had to stop. When I tasted those delicious truffles, I was amazed at the quality of this seemingly roadside attraction (They sell online too!)

Another popular Valentine activity is to drown our single sorrows in some Mackinaw Island Fudge Ice Cream.  Make it a true Michigan sundae with a little Sander’s Hot Fudge on your Hudsonville Ice Cream.

Photo by Rebecca Calkins

Photo by Rebecca Calkins

Chocolate also pairs well with Michigan wine! Mindo Chocolate does wine pairing events including wine festivals which is where I first tasted these delicious dark specialties, including a few varieties with Michigan fruit. They do not have a storefront, but they are distributed in great little shops around Michigan. I know in my neighborhood they are available at Lone Oak Vineyard Estate.  Speaking of alcohol…

Go Out for a Drink…
Choose your favorite Michigan wine or beer, of course! A tour on a Michigan wine or beer trail is just what a group of single girls or guys needs to have a good time this Valentine’s Day.

I’ve taken several tours along the Southeast Michigan Pioneer Wine Trail both with friends and with family. Pro Tip: pack some bread and cheese or stop at your local farmers market on the way and snack between stops. It’s a great way to soak up some alcohol and make your trip a little more delicious. Weaving your way from Adrian in the south to Haslett in the North is at least a two day activity in order to hit them all, but my personal favorites are Sandhill Crane Vineyards and J. Trees Cellars.

I just went on a mini beer tour in Grand Rapids a few weeks ago with a stop at Brewery Vivant and Arcadia. Of course, Founders is usually a requisite stop for me. Near my home, I’ve also made a mini tour right along I-94 with Dark Horse, Grand River and Chelsea Alehouse.

Sandhill Crane - Photo courtesy of Experience Jackson

Sandhill Crane – Photo courtesy of Experience Jackson

Eat Your Way through Michigan
Although restaurants maybe booked up for dinner, that doesn’t mean a nice singles awareness lunch tour couldn’t satisfy a friends’ trip. Most of my favorites are around my hometown of Jackson, including a few award winning Jackson restaurants  including Michigan’s Best Barbeque at West Texas BBQ.

Work Off the Food with a Dance Party
Since I’m not the outdoorsy type, I have to find some way to work off all of that chocolate, beer, wine and food. There are many great Michigan nightlife hotspots to choose from all over the state. If shaking your booty on the dance floor isn’t your thing, there is always an evening at the casinos or another of my personal favorites, karaoke!

Whether single or taken, we love our fans! Have a Happy Valentine’s Day!

Headshot 1 originalRebecca Calkins is the Communications Director for Experience Jackson. She grew up in Jackson and returned after attending college at Ball State University in Muncie, Ind. When not working, Rebecca enjoys cooking and traveling, always looking for the next culinary or cultural adventure.

Five Ways to Stay Active and Hydrated This Winter (Plus a Giveaway from Absopure!)

Screen Shot 2015-02-09 at 11.45.51 AM

New Absopure Pure Michigan Winter Packaging

To celebrate the winter season and their new Pure Michigan packaging, Absopure shares five fun ways you can stay active and hydrated while making warm memories with your family this season. Plus, learn how you can win a Northern Michigan Winter Getaway to Boyne Mountain from Absopure. To enter for your chance to win, visit the Absopure (un)Filtered blog.

It’s no secret that Michigan has some of the best summer vacation spots in the country, but there’s something about a fresh blanket of snow that transforms our great state into a winter wonderland. But just because it’s cold outside, doesn’t mean you have to hibernate at home.

Here at Absopure, we’re passionate about empowering others to lead healthy, active lifestyles year round. Whether you enjoy shredding the slopes, snowshoeing across the countryside or dancing on ice, there are plenty of ways to get outside and enjoy the season.

Here are five fun ways to stay active and create warm family memories this winter.

Hit the slopes
Home to some of the Midwest’s best ski resorts, Northern Michigan provides a steady stream of snowfall and fresh white powder for skiers and snowboarders alike. Ranked second in the nation for the total number of ski areas, Michigan’s ski slopes are great for any skill level. Boyne Mountain is no exception. Whether you’re a beginner or a black diamond pro, Boyne Mountain has plenty of fresh powder and a variety of terrains to match anyone’s abilities. You can even try your hand at other fun outdoor activities, like tubing, cross country skiing, snowmobiling and even snowshoeing, while you’re there.

Go sledding
You don’t have to spend big bucks to have fun on the slopes. Sledding can be just as fun and is an activity the entire family can enjoy! Similar to sledding, snow tubing has become a popular winter pastime for Michigan residents. If you’re looking for the perfect sledding hill, look no further! Pure Michigan has your ultimate guide to the best sledding and snow tubing hills.

Ride the trails
Have a need for speed? With more than 6,500 groomed trails, Michigan has one of the most extensive systems of interconnected snowmobiling trails in the country. Grayling alone has more than 300 miles of groomed snowmobiling trails that wind through rolling hills and vast forests. So the next time you decide to go for a ride, take the path less traveled and feel the rush of cold winter air against your face as you race through Michigan’s snowmobiling trails.

Lace up your skates
Whether you pick up a game of pond hockey or visit one of Michigan’s many outdoor skating rinks, it’s time to lace up your skates and get moving. Ice-skating can be a great way for the entire family to have fun and stay in shape.

Absopure-Northern-Michigan-Winter-Getaway-BoyneCross-country skiing
If you’re not afraid of the cold and ready for a good full-body workout, cross-country skiing might be your thing. It might not be easy, but it’ll get your adrenalin pumping and work your arms, core and legs at the same time. Plus, you’ll enjoy scenic views of Michigan’s spectacular snow-covered landscape—a sight that only comes once a year.

As you’re out enjoying all that our great state has to offer this winter, remember to drink plenty of water. Staying hydrated during the winter months is just as important as it is during the dog days of summer. Even if you’re not feeling thirsty, make sure to drink plenty of water to keep your body running its best.

Win a trip to Boyne Mountain! 

Create your own Pure Michigan adventure this winter! Visit the Absopure (un)Filtered blog for your chance to win a Northern Michigan Winter Getaway to Boyne Mountain. Complete with a Ski, Stay and Splash Package for a family of four, including two night’s lodging in the Clock Tower Lodge at Boyne Mountain Resort with breakfast, two-day unlimited lift tickets for four, plus two-day waterpark passes to Avalanche Bay, Michigan’s largest and best indoor waterpark, the winner will experience and enjoy all that Northern Michigan’s winter wonderland has to offer.

How do you stay active and what activities does your family enjoy on a Pure Michigan Snow Day? Share your photos enjoying the snow using #PureMichiganSnowDay on Twitter and Instagram or visit michigan.org/snowday.