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.

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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.

Calling All Parents! Combat Cabin Fever With These Family Fun Activities

Has your family come down with a case of cabin fever? When you can’t brave the elements for a Pure Michigan snow day, there are plenty of other exciting ways to beat the winter blahs. Get the kids out of the house with these fun indoor activities that are sure to put a spring back in their step.  For more indoor family fun, visit michigan.org

Swim, Bounce, Play and Create

Michigan Waterparks

With a number of indoor water parks right here in our state, there’s no need to travel far far to make a splash! Make it a day trip or a full weekend getaway. Indoor waterparks in Michigan include the Fairview Beachfront Inn & Waterpark in Mackinaw City, The Great Wolf Lodge in Traverse City, Zehnder’s Splash Village Hotel & Waterpark in Frankenmuth, Soaring Eagle Water Park and Hotel in Mount Pleasant and others.

See what kids have to say about their Pure Michigan waterpark adventures in the video below.

Sky Zone Trampoline Park – Multiple Locations

This is a reason to jump for joy; Sky Zone Trampoline Park is high energy family fun! Their goal is to promote fun fitness while flying through the air. The parks offer open jump, a SkySlam court to test your basketball skills, SkyRobics fitness classes, ultimate dodge ball and a foam zone. Sky Zone is a safe and fun way to use up all of that stored energy. Jumps times start every 30 minutes.

Glow Golf – Multiple Locations

Practice for summertime putt-putt with a glow-in-the-dark twist! Enjoy 18 holes of miniature golf that will truly test your putting ability. Aim for a hole-in-one with just the glow lighting leading you through the course. Some courses also offer laser tag for an even bigger interactive challenge.

Paint a Pot – Holland

Cater to your creative side and pick out a piece of pottery to make all your own. This is a fun activity to do with kids when you only have a short amount of time. Once you have your piece, pick out the paint colors and get creative. The process is very simple and the atmosphere is inviting. It’s art therapy for every age! Paint a Pot is located in Holland, with other similar attractions located throughout the state.

Animal Lovers

Bat Zone – Bloomfield Hills                              

Take a personal, behind the scenes tour with a bat expert at the Bat Zone. You will experience bats in flight, flying squirrels, owls, a two toed sloth and the largest species of bat in the world. The tour themes change each season so you are able to learn more throughout the year. Also, don’t miss your chance to get a glimpse of a T- Rex and spend some time learning at the Cranbrook Institute of Science Museum.

Photo courtesy of SEA LIFE

Photo courtesy of SEA LIFE

SEA LIFE Michigan Aquarium – Auburn Hills

The Sea Life Aquarium located at Great Lakes Crossing Mall will transport your family to an underwater experience they won’t forget. Come nose to nose with sharks, walk under the underwater ocean tunnel and encounter more than 5,000 creatures. You can even hold a crab or touch a sea star in their Touchpool Experience. Enjoy fun talks and feed shows throughout the day. Make a day of it by eating at the Rainforest Café or stopping at Jeepers! for arcade games and mini rollercoasters.

Great Lakes Zoological Society – Ann Arbor

This is a conservation-oriented zoo and rescue center. The center houses a 5,000 square foot indoor exhibit area focusing on reptiles and amphibians, as well as birds and invertebrates. There are over 90 animals and over 60 species from around the world.

Learning and Discovery

Michigan Museums

Keep your family’s curiosity alive. A visit to Michigan’s art, science and history museums can bring a richer appreciation for the world around us.  With over 400 museums in Michigan, one may be closer than you think. Children’s museums like the Grand Rapids’ Childrens Museum or Ann Arbor Hands On Museum are educational but also hands-on, which can be fun for both children and their parents.

Photo courtesy of The Henry Ford

Photo courtesy of The Henry Ford

Detroit is home to a number of world class museums like the Detroit Institute of Arts, which features over 100 galleries with art from ancient to modern times, as well as The Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village in Dearborn. The Henry Ford boasts four one-of-a-kind attractions, 200 acres including Greenfield Village (closed during the winter season) and the Ford Rouge Factory Tour, that will bring you through the ages. Notable treasures such as John F. Kennedy’s Limousine, Rosa Parks bus, and Abraham Lincoln’s chair, plus experiences such as Model T Rides and an assembly plant walking tour make your visit to The Henry Ford truly unique. The Henry Ford offers a glimpse inside centuries of American life with hand-on activities for the kids throughout!

If you ever catch yourself looking up at the stars, searching for the big dipper or just gazing into space, Longway Planetarium  and Sloan Museum in Flint offers the largest indoor star gazing facility in Michigan!  The shows last for about an hour where you will be transported to a sky full of stars, while an expert gives you an astronomy lesson.  You can also explore the Sloan Museum which features exhibits for all ages. This winter, check out Videotopia, an exhibit on the art, science and history of video games!

Candy Tours 

ohmylilliIs your sweet tooth calling? Indulge in some comfort food while experiencing how some of Michigan’s sweet sugar confections are made.  Oh My Lolli in Brighton lets you  behind-the-scenes.  Get a personalized tour through the production experience – from the molten candy to the folding and rolling, and finally to the finished product! Don’t forget to grab a lollipop of your own for the car ride home.

Morley Candy Makers in Clinton Township is the place where Sanders chocolate and desserts are created. Morley Candy Makers free factory tour is perfect the family and available Monday through Friday. The journey begins with the story of chocolate, how chocolate is made and how Sanders and Morley Candy Makers got their start in Detroit. Observe Michigan’s largest candy maker create delicious treats in the 100 foot observation walkway, enjoy a chocolate sample and visit the unique candy shop to put the finishing touch on your visit.

What indoor activities do you and your family like to do during the winter months? 

Cure Your Cabin Fever! Five Reasons to Take a Vacation Day and Head Outside

According to the U.S. Travel Association, U.S. workers only use 77 percent of their paid time off, resulting in nearly 169 million forfeited vacation days and $52.4 billion in lost benefits! Luckily, PTO days can be used any time during the year, and a quick winter trip is sure to cure any cold-weather blues. Here are six reasons to use those vacation days and explore what a winter day in Pure Michigan has to offer.

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1. There’s plenty of fresh powder! 

With more than 51 ski areas, 260 chairlifts, 1,000 runs, 50 terrain parks and an annual snowfall of more than 100 inches, Michigan offers some of the best ski and snowboarding slopes you can find in the Midwest. In-state resorts like Boyne Mountain Resort and Crystal Mountain are perfect for weekend away to shred some fresh powder or even take your very first lesson. Many resorts offer tubing and sledding fun, too!

2. Wineries are less crowded in the winter.

Take a winter winery tour! Many think that all Michigan wineries hibernate during the winter season, but some stay open all year long  for you to enjoy! One popular winter activity among foodies is to warm up with a glass of wine/small bites from a trio of wineries along a 7.5-mile ski and snowshoe path on the Leelanau Peninsula. The only question is, do you prefer red or white?

3. Trying something new can be thrilling!

Dog Sledding
Dog sledding is a wild winter adventure. The hot breath of the huskie pack fogs the crisp winter air as they pull you with focused determination across the glistening landscape. Imagine you’re racing against another team, over the same frozen terrain that explorers did long ago! Dog sledding is a fun activity for the whole family and can create memories that last a lifetime.

Iceclimbing

Ice Climbing
One of winter’s newest silent sports, Ice climbing, combines challenge and adventure. With ropes and harnesses, ascend stunning icefalls, cliffs and rock slabs, all waiting to be conquered. Swing your axe into the ice, hold on tight and inch your way up the frozen ladder. Be one of the first people to know to say you climbed a frozen waterfall!

Ice Luge
Did you know that one of lonely three luge tracks in the United States can be found right here in Michigan? Located near the shores of Lake Michigan in the Muskegon Winter Sports Complex, you’ll be able to fly down the track just like the winter Olympians do.

4. There’s always time for quality time.

Photo courtesy of Zehnder's

Photo courtesy of Zehnder’s

Romantic Getaways
Sweep your sweetie away on a romantic getaway. You don’t have to go far to find a perfect weekend getaway with that special someone in your life. Some romantic packages include champagne dinners, in-room Jacuzzi’s and wine tastings while others let you relax with spa treatments or special in-room amenities. There’s no wrong choice when surprising a loved one with a romantic getaway in Michigan.

Family Fun
If you’re experiencing some cabin fever, we bet the kids are too! Family-friendly waterparks can be found all over the state, just waiting to wash away the norm. Whether you splash in the shallows with the little ones, or race each other for bragging rights down the twisting water slides, nothing brings families closer together than a Pure Michigan water park adventure. 

Ice Fishing5. The fish still bite during the winter. 

During the winter, Michigan’s four Great Lakes, more than 11,000 inland lakes and hundreds of rivers and streams provide anglers with the perfect location to ice fish for bluegill, perch, pike and walleye. Whether you’re a master angler or don’t quite know your way around a reel yet, fishing in Michigan is fun for everyone. Make sure to mark Free Fishing Weekend (Feb.14-15) on your calendar and check out our Winter Angler’s Ultimate Packing List before hitting the ice!

How would you spend a winter day off in Pure Michigan? Share your photos enjoying the snow using #PureMichiganSnowDay on Twitter and Instagram or visit michigan.org/snowday.