Mackinac State Historic Parks Education Outreach

Mackinac State Historic Parks closed for the 2018 season in early October and will not reopen until early May for 2019. However, that doesn’t mean MSHP has stopped interpreting its history to the youth of Michigan. 

Each year, historic interpreters from Mackinac State Historic Parks visit hundreds of students throughout Michigan with its Education Outreach program. 2019 marks the 31st year of Historic Mackinac on Tour, an overview of Michigan history through the lens of Mackinac, and the 26th year of Water, Woods and Wildlife, a natural history program led by MSHP Curator of Natural History Jeff Dykehouse.

“While Mackinac State Historic Parks sites are closed for the winter, our costumed interpreters go to schools across the entire state of Michigan to engage students all year long,” said Steve Brisson, Mackinac State Historic Parks Deputy Director. “Students experience the Great Lakes watershed, the fur trade, and, one classroom at a time, students learn the cultural and natural history of Michigan that makes our state great.”

Historic Mackinac on Tour began in 1988. Two historical interpreters – one British redcoat and one civilian – engage students in Michigan history using Mackinac as the common theme. Students learn about the Native Americans who called Mackinac home, the fur trade, and the British military presence up to the American Revolution.

Water, Woods and Wildlife has been presented since 1993. Students learn about the natural history of Michigan, including the Straits of Mackinac and its location in the Great Lakes Watershed, the variety of wildlife, and the habitat required for the survival of that wildlife. This program runs in both fall and winter/spring. 

The outreach programs are presented throughout northern Michigan. Distance programs for 2019 include stops in Grand Rapids and Cadillac. On average, about 130 programs are presented each year reaching nearly 8,000 students.

Mackinac State Historic Parks’ education outreach programs are made possible, in part, by the generosity of Mackinac Associates, the friends group to MSHP.

Click this link to be directed to a PDF version of this press release. Photos are available upon request. A list of schools scheduled for a visit is attached.