Posted by: Kath Usitalo | July 7, 2011

Take A Free Trip Through Michigan’s Past

The new Mackinac Bridge was something worth commemorating, as this museum display shows

When did pieces of my past become museum material?

On a tour of the Michigan Historical Museum in Lansing I saw the Mackinac Bridge souvenir tray that’s pictured in my post about asparagus wine.

A salute to Michigan's car culture

The metal tray is something I saved from my parents’ home, but I remember it from my youth. The grand opening of the 5-mile long suspension bridge spanning the Straits of Mackinac was a big, souvenir-worthy event; I’m sure we also had the glasses pictured above. Until the bridge opened in 1957 ferries connected the Upper and Lower Peninsulas, and the wait for the boat could take hours. So the Mackinac Bridge was worth celebrating.

A wintry depiction of early residents of the region

Museum exhibits reach much further back than the 1950s, however. You can travel from the time of the first people in the region, through the mining era, the golden age of automobiles, and into the 20th century.

Current special exhibits and events include:
Plowshares Into Swords: Marking the Civil War Sesquicentennial
George Armstrong Custer-A Living History Presentation by Custer interpreter Steve Alexander, 1-4 p.m., Saturday, July 9
Special viewing of the “Custer Flag,” through July 15

Admission is free, and the museum is open 7 days (pay for parking on weekdays; $1 per hour, cash only).

Visitor Info Clicks:  Lansing

Pure Michigan

The state's recreational history display includes a vintage snowmobile and a 22-foot AuSable River boat that dates to 1933







  1. I have to laugh when I visit the S&H stamp area in the museum and recognize our old cooler that we took on road trips and some glasses that we had at the cottage. Yes indeed, when did we pass the age where our childhood is now in a museum?

    • Ah yes, S&H Green Stamps and those metal coolers for picnics. Well, at least they are good memories!

  2. Now aren’t you glad you saved the tray? It’s so cool. I love that museum even though I haven’t been there in awhile.

    • That’s my motto, Save Everything!

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