Celebrate real things, real places and real stories of Michigan
Michigan Day is a new twist on a tradition that began more than 60 years ago. On Saturday, May 6, the Michigan History Center in Lansing debuts a new signature event celebrating our Michigan pride. Michigan Day features free admission, special guests, activities, hands-on explorations, demonstrations and make-and-take projects highlighting the full range of Michigan’s diverse history.
The event takes place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Michigan History Center, located at 702 W. Kalamazoo St. in downtown Lansing.
Although Michigan Day is new, the idea behind it is not. In 1950, a group of Michigan business leaders formed a task force to promote Michigan as a great place to live and start a business. Michigan Week was born out of the initiative and first celebrated in 1954. The inaugural celebration ended with the groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of the Mackinac Bridge.
“We are honoring Michigan Week’s original mission of promoting pride in all things Michigan with this new Michigan History Center signature event,” said Michigan History Center Director Sandra Clark. “Our focus is always on getting people curious about Michigan and sharing its history in new and interesting exhibits, programs and activities. Michigan Day brings an incredible range of stories together for a fun, one-day extravaganza.”
Michigan Day is made possible with the key contributions of Michigan History Center volunteers, said Sara Gross, Michigan History Center volunteer coordinator and engagement specialist. “Our volunteers work hard year-round to develop amazing educational tools; Michigan Day shows off their many talents and skills!”
Michigan Day will have a special focus on the 60th anniversary year of the Mackinac Bridge, a tribute to that first Michigan Week celebration. Visitors can take part in a family-friendly bridge engineering activity and see original documents from the Mackinac Bridge Commission. Other Michigan Day highlights include:
- Explore the storytelling and cultural objects of Michigan’s First Peoples with special guests Pokagon Band of Potawatomi.
- Watch a Civil War artist sketch scenes – and maybe even take a sketch home with you.
- Meet with Rosie the Riveter to learn about steel pennies and the Arsenal of Democracy and even hear a song.
- Celebrate the birthday of one of Michigan’s most famous rockers and vote on your favorite tune.
- Try your hand at making old-fashioned radio sound effects.
- Say ‘hello’ to the Lansing Flotilla of the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary and learn about safety on the Great Lakes.
- Visit the Library of Michigan and try your hand at a family-friendly paper craft featuring the beauty and history of the Water Wonder Land.
- Learn about the Detroit 1967 Project with the Detroit Historical Society.
- Take part in more than 20 other hands-on activities celebrating Michigan’s unique past and present.
Free admission for all visitors on Michigan Day is courtesy of the Docents Guild & Associates, the 501(c)3 organization that serves the Michigan History Center volunteer program. The sponsorship is in memory of Bill and Marilyn Cochran. Bill was an original member of the Mackinac Bridge Authority and served there for 16 years.
The Michigan History Center and visitor parking are on the north side of Kalamazoo Street, two blocks east of M. L. King Jr. Boulevard. Weekend parking is free.
The Michigan History Center’s museum and archival programs foster curiosity, enjoyment and inspiration rooted in Michigan’s stories. The center includes the Michigan History Museum, 10 regional museums, Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary and Underwater Preserve, and the Archives of Michigan. Learn more at www.michigan.gov/michiganhistory.