Midwest Living Review
The Mackinac State Historic Parks have always been known for their forts and lighthouses, for Colonial interpreters in military garb, and for pristine beaches. Now the parks department has broadened its reach into fine art. In July 2010, Mackinac Island unveiled the Richard and Jane Manoogian Mackinac Art Museum. Located in the 1836 building once known as the Indian Dormitory and set below Fort Mackinac, just steps from the ferry docks, the art museum beautifully displays a wide variety of art. Some works were crafted by early explorers of the island, like the intricate island map penned by Louis XIV's cartographer in 1690. Shiny brass rings have ties to the island's 18th-century Jesuit missionaries, while a finely beaded bandolier was worn in 1850 by a visiting Ojibwa chief. Other works on display include Hannah White's colorful 1830 painting of the island on white velvet cloth. Grand Hotel photographs and dinner menus recall upper-class holidays of the early 1900s, while souvenir toothpick holders and teacups decorated with horse carriages and the Mackinaw Bridge bring back memories of the 1960s. The Mackinac Art Museum's modern items include the colorful watercolor and acrylic paintings contemporary visitors have come to expect of Mackinac Island artists: depictions of the Grand Hotel's wide verandah, summer cottages overflowing with flower boxes and scenes of downtown island storefronts, the Mackinaw Bridge visible in the distance. The gallery's variety is impressive, and each item's connection to the island unique. In addition to the historical and contemporary artworks on display at the Mackinac Art Museum, the facility includes a Kids' Art Studio where children can create modern-day Mackinac Island artworks.