Maker Faire Detroit 2014 Keeps Makers in Michigan (Plus a Giveaway!)

Tinker, hack and mingle with over 400 makers during the ultimate festival of invention and creativity at the world’s original Maker mecca. Maker Faire Detroit returns to The Henry Ford July 26-27, 2014! Today, guest blogger Maddie Rich fills us in on what you can expect from young inventors at the popular event this year.

Photo courtesy of The Henry Ford

Photo courtesy of The Henry Ford

Celebrating our fifth year, Maker Faire Detroit 2014 will welcome back more than 400 makers with everything from robots and knitters, to flame shooters and power tools drag racing later this month. Maker Faire Detroit is a great opportunity to see makers of all ages, from kids to makers in their 80s. As an intern here at The Henry Ford, eager to attend my first Maker Faire, I am particularly interested in seeing the young adult makers and what new innovations and ideas are coming from them. Each year, local college graduates leave Michigan to find jobs and opportunities elsewhere. This hurts the state’s economy and makes it near impossible to grow and flourish. Maker Faire Detroit showcases the talent in Michigan and other areas and gives creative, innovative minds a place to interact and share ideas.

Photo courtesy of The Henry Ford

Photo courtesy of The Henry Ford

One participant in particular that proved to be full of talented innovators and is passionate about keeping bright, young minds in Michigan is Central Michigan University. CMU will be bringing student-made projects that showcase the skills and talents of their students. The main attraction will be their small, one-person off-road vehicle that was built completely from the ground up by students in CMU’s Automotive Engineering program. This car competes nationally in the Baja SAE Design Series. Central is also showcasing a movie created by students in the Broadcast and Cinematic Arts department and a student’s photo journalism project that was awarded second place from the Hearst Journalism Awards Program, a prestigious national competition.

I got the chance to talk with the Director of Student Life in the College of Science and Technology at CMU, Heidi Mahon, about their booth and what they do at Central to keep the obviously talented students they have in Michigan.

Photo courtesy of The Henry Ford

Photo courtesy of The Henry Ford

“CMU students stay in Michigan. They do,” says Mahon. She explained that the university is proactive in helping their students create a network with Michigan based companies so many of their alumni end up working with these companies. Mahon, not a native to Michigan herself, sees all the opportunities the state presents for her students. “Michigan is home to so many large, global companies. Dow, Ford, GM, Steelcase, just to name a few. We make sure our students make connections with these companies.” In addition to making sure their students are exposed to job opportunities with Michigan-based companies, they encourage students to pursue creativity and entrepreneurship through their annual New Venture Competition. At Maker Faire Detroit, CMU will be showing possible future students what they can do at Central and how their students are putting their skills to work to help make Michigan better.

Photo courtesy of The Henry Ford

Photo courtesy of The Henry Ford

Central is not the only university that will be present at Maker Faire Detroit this year. Kettering University and the University of Michigan-Dearborn will have booths that will showcase young talent in Michigan. There will also be booths geared towards even younger makers, such as the HYPE program at the Detroit Public Library, to inspire future entrepreneurs and innovators.

Big things are happening in Michigan and Maker Faire Detroit at The Henry Ford is the place to see them in action.

Do you want to score free tickets to Maker Faire at The Henry Ford? Simply tell us in the comments section below why you want to go to Maker Faire Detroit 2014 and who you would take with you. We’ll then select two lucky winners at random to win four tickets to the event. To be eligible, simply submit your comments (along with your email address) by this Thursday, July 17that 11:59 p.m. EST. We’ll contact the winner Friday morning using the email address provided (we won’t share it or sell it to anybody).  UPDATE: This contest has ended. The winner has been selected and contacted via email with their prize. Thank you everyone for the comments! 

Maddie Rich is a junior at Grand Valley State University, studying Marketing and Public Relations. She is a Marketing Intern at The Henry Ford this summer and cannot wait to attend her first ever Maker Faire Detroit. She loves living in the mitten and cannot wait to see what the future holds for her.

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.

An Inside Look at the Archives of Michigan

If you’re a Michigan history buff or just love to discover new things at Michigan museums, then a visit to the Archives of Michigan or the Michigan Historical Museum  in Lansing is sure to pique your interest! Today, Mary Detloff from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources takes us deep inside the Archives of Michigan for a look at Pure Michigan way back when. 

Outside the Michigan Historical Museum in Lansing, MI

Tucked into a light grey archival box on a shelf in the Archives of Michigan, organized neatly in manila folders, the yellowing onion skin typing paper represents the loving correspondence of a Michigan man and woman, a World War II soldier and his wife.

“Dearest, You know now that the invasion has started …” starts a letter from Charles Westie, a Michigan solider, writing to his wife Ardith on June 6, 1944 – D-Day. During the coming weeks, Westie would serve in combat in France as part of the invasion force that turned the tide in Europe in the Allied Forces’ favor.

The Westie correspondence, between two ordinary people caught up in extraordinary circumstances, shows the difficulty of the life of a soldier, waiting in England for his orders to go to battle in Europe, and his wife, waiting anxiously in Michigan for any news from her husband.

Archivist Bob Garret sorting through a photo collection recently donated to the Archives of Michigan.

These letters, along with hundreds of thousands of documents, maps, records, photographs and other ephemera, make up the Archives of Michigan. The Archives holds more than 120 million records that tell the story of Michigan from the encounters of Europeans and Native Americans to records from Governor Jennifer Granholm.

The Archives, the Michigan Historical Museum, and the Michigan Historical Commission all marked their 100th anniversary this past year, coming into existence in 1913 with a law signed by then-Governor Woodbridge N. Ferris.  The law created the Michigan Historical Commission, and directed the body to collect, arrange and preserve historical material related to Michigan and the old Northwest Territory.

”The Archives of Michigan serves as Michigan’s memory.  It holds the historical documents, maps and photographs of state and local governments and private citizens,” said Mark Harvey, state archivist.  “The Archives collections document the tragedies and triumphs of the government and individuals of the State of Michigan.”

Archivist Bob Garrett with an original blueprint for the Michigan State Fairground from 1922.

With documents dating back to 1792, the Archives of Michigan holds a vast selection of historical documents ranging from the original blueprints and architect’s drawings of the Michigan Capitol Building to the papers of former state legislators, to naturalization records from the turn of the century, to more personal collections, such as the Westie letters and a rare diary from a Michigan soldier who witnessed the Philippine-American War in 1899.

The public can access materials from the Archives in a couple of different ways.

Archivist Bob Garrett assisting a researcher in the Archives of Michigan Reading Room.

First, you can visit the Archives of Michigan, located in the Michigan Historical Center, 702 West Kalamazoo, in Lansing. The Archives has a reference room open to the public from 1 to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays. The reference room is always manned by two Archives staff members, who are available to assist visitors with records requests. Visitors of all ages are welcome, and typically include attorneys, academics, graduate students, staff from legislators’ offices or state agencies, persons doing genealogy research or younger students.

Some of the more popular records in the Archives have been digitized and are available to the public on the website www.seekingmichigan.org, which is a partnership between the Archives of Michigan and the Michigan History Foundation. Seeking Michigan features 1.2 million records, including items such as searchable Michigan census records from 1884-1894, death records from 1897 to 1920 and a lot of Civil War material.

Seeking Michigan also features an online shop called Michiganology that offers unique products with a tie to the Archives, such as t-shirts and prints featuring brewery labels from early Michigan breweries, which were required to register their labels with the state. The store also sells notecards featuring old trout stamps, items highlighting the Proud Robin (once a symbol of Michigan Week) and many other items. There is also a blog maintained by archivists and staff from the Michigan Historical Museum featuring stories from Michigan’s past.

Have you visited the Archives of Michigan or the Michigan Historical Museum? What interesting items did you see during your visit? 

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