Explore Michigan Weather at the Michigan Historical Center

What’s your favorite season? No matter how you answer, the Michigan Historical Museum in Lansing has you covered with its new exhibit which explores Michigan weather in all seasons! Today, chief curator Maria Leiby gives us the inside scoop. 

These relics are from The Rockaway, which sank in November 1891 off of South Haven while hauling lumber from Ludington to Benton Harbor. All hands were rescued.

The exhibit takes its title, Lake Effects, from a major influence on our weather—the Great Lakes that surround us. Weather systems generally approach Michigan from the west or south, but the lakes add interesting twists in all seasons.

The Lake Effects exhibit is open now until Aug. 24, 2014 at the Michigan Historical Center.

This lightning rod was once on top of the Traverse City State Hospital.

Everyone who’s ever lived in Michigan, from Paleo-Indians thousands of years ago to school kids today has paid attention to the weather. In addition to information about earlier ways of predicting the weather, the exhibit looks at how Michiganians’ work and play are weather-influenced. Artifacts as varied as early spouts for collecting maple sap, a lightning rod from the Traverse City State Hospital, hunting decoys and a circa 1970 brown-and-orange snowmobile suit build a seasonal mosaic that gives visitors of all ages opportunities to learn, reminisce and tell family stories.

The exhibit also focuses on memorable weather events from Michigan’s past. Survivors of the tragic Great Lakes storm of November 1913 may have passed from the scene, but you might know someone who remembers the heat wave of 1936, one of Lansing’s numerous 20th century floods or an opening day at Tiger Stadium when the weather was actually spring-like!

This small child's sled was made in 1910 by an employee of Durant-Dort Carriage Company, in Flint, for his grandson.

Younger visitors can offer a weather report or forecast at a magnetic weather map or dress a magnetic figure for the weather — actual or hoped for. A full slate of programming beginning in December includes monthly family sessions on second Saturdays, a spring kite festival and an exploration of extreme weather.

The museum also invites you to share photos of your Michigan weather experiences on our Flickr page. Send them to icy27ran@photos.Flickr.com with the photo title in the subject line. You can include the story in the body of the message.

For more information about visiting the Michigan Historical Center in Lansing, including admission fees and hours of operation, go to www.michigan.gov/museum. Admission to Lake Effects is included in the regular admission price each day. While at the Center, don’t forget to visit the museum’s store for several Michigan-related books and gift options.

What do you love about Michigan weather? 

Maria Leiby is the chief curator of the Michigan Historical Museum.