Museum of Ojibwa Culture: A Photo Gallery

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The Museum of Ojibwa Culture is located in St.Ignace which is in Michigan's Upper Peninsula along the shoreline of Lake Huron where it meets Lake Michigan. This area is called the Straits of Mackinac. If you have ever hear of Mackinac Island, you can see the island from here. In fact, it is one of two places where you can catch a ferry over to the island.

The museum is a small building that was once a Catholic Church. The land is now owned by the city of St.Ignace. Outdoors there are representations of Native American homes along with a statue and grave site of Father Jacques Marquette. Marquette was a Jesuit priest who was a French Missionary to this area. He founded Michigan's first settlement in Sault Ste. Marie and later traveled west to found the settlement in St. Ignace.

Inside the museum, the first part is a store that sells Native American cultural and historical items such as books, dream catchers, statues, moccasins and more. Once you pass the store, the children's activities and displays of art, tools, animals furs, and other items of daily life are delicately displayed along the walls and in glass cases. As you round the corner, there are maps of the people and their travels, life size displays to show the daily life of the Ojibwa people and videos to provide more information about the lives of these great people.

Who are the Ojibwa People?

The Ojibwa Tribes are also known as the Chippewa Indians. Their tribes are found in the northern United States in states such as Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota and into Canada and they are Algonquin speaking Natives. The museum shares the relationship that the Ojibwa had with the Huron tribes as well as the French speaking people that came to this area over 300 years ago. Although there was a delicate balance to the relationship between the French and Native People, they built an economic bond through the fur trade with the French people. They did not typically have a good relationship with the British who were also present in the area during this time so they joined forces with the French who were in direct competition with the British. This created a quick bond between each group.

Outdoor Displays

Before even entering the building there are many interesting displays of the culture and time period. Although the museum focuses on the Ojibwa culture, it also shares the culture of the French people along with the Huron and Odawa people.

Two types of Native American homes.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Huron LonghouseExploring the longhouse.Benches line each side of the structure.  They are made of birch trees and bark.Birchbark tepeeAlex and Grace pretending to be Native Americans.A covered gathering area.Statue of Father Jacques Marquette.Grave marker for Father Marquette.
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Huron Longhouse
Huron Longhouse | Source
Exploring the longhouse.
Exploring the longhouse. | Source
Benches line each side of the structure.  They are made of birch trees and bark.
Benches line each side of the structure. They are made of birch trees and bark. | Source
Birchbark tepee
Birchbark tepee | Source
Alex and Grace pretending to be Native Americans.
Alex and Grace pretending to be Native Americans. | Source
A covered gathering area.
A covered gathering area. | Source
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Statue of Father Jacques Marquette.
Statue of Father Jacques Marquette. | Source
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Grave marker for Father Marquette.
Grave marker for Father Marquette. | Source

Children's Activites

One of the things that always impresses me about a place is it's availability of interactive things for children to participate in. I had visited this museum about seven years ago and I remembers that they had the tepee and longhouse on the grounds. Frankly this was the reason for our stop. I knew that having the chance to walk around in this homes would not only interest my children, but allow us to stretch our legs before continuing our long drive. What I didn't remember was the large number of activities available inside the museum for them to play with. The activities were so thorough and engaging that it allowed me to walk around and view the exhibits while my three and four year old had a great time in the children's section. The activities included matching games, coloring pages, books, felt story boards and more. They all related back to learning about the Ojibwa culture, creating fun and learning at the same time.

Photos of Various Children's Activities

Alex is playing an Ojibwa matching game.
Alex is playing an Ojibwa matching game. | Source
Grace and Alex are creating a story with a felt board and felt pieces from the Ojibwa culture.
Grace and Alex are creating a story with a felt board and felt pieces from the Ojibwa culture. | Source
Grace is coloring a picture that represents a part of the Ojibwa culture.
Grace is coloring a picture that represents a part of the Ojibwa culture. | Source

Art

Art is very much a part of the lives of Native Americans. They not only display their art but wear it and celebrate it at their ceremonies and festivals. Here are some examples of art by the Ojibwa Tribes.

Ojibwa Art

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Copper Dream CatcherDream catchers made of feathers and animal skin.Dream catchers and dolls.Quill work is a highly skilled talent.  It involves using porcupine quills to decorate various baskets and clothing.Decorative basket made of quills.  All are handcrafted.Another example of the detail in the quill work.Honoring the animals through copper art.
Copper Dream Catcher
Copper Dream Catcher | Source
Dream catchers made of feathers and animal skin.
Dream catchers made of feathers and animal skin. | Source
Dream catchers and dolls.
Dream catchers and dolls. | Source
Quill work is a highly skilled talent.  It involves using porcupine quills to decorate various baskets and clothing.
Quill work is a highly skilled talent. It involves using porcupine quills to decorate various baskets and clothing. | Source
Decorative basket made of quills.  All are handcrafted.
Decorative basket made of quills. All are handcrafted. | Source
Another example of the detail in the quill work.
Another example of the detail in the quill work. | Source
Honoring the animals through copper art.
Honoring the animals through copper art. | Source

Daily Life

The daily life of the Ojibwa was very traditional. The men hunted while the women and children spent their days planting, harvesting, sewing, and taking care of the home front. The men also cultivated the relationship with the French Fur Traders. It was a relationship that benefited both groups of people.

Daily Activites for the Ojibwa

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Alex explores the furs that are displayed.Furs from a variety of animals.Examples of arrowheads that were used as tools and for hunting.Toys that the children played with.LIfe size representations of men's lives.Family support was critical to survival.Song, dance, and ceremonies are an important part of their culture. Interactive map to show the travel routes of the tribes.
Alex explores the furs that are displayed.
Alex explores the furs that are displayed. | Source
Furs from a variety of animals.
Furs from a variety of animals. | Source
Examples of arrowheads that were used as tools and for hunting.
Examples of arrowheads that were used as tools and for hunting. | Source
Toys that the children played with.
Toys that the children played with. | Source
LIfe size representations of men's lives.
LIfe size representations of men's lives. | Source
Family support was critical to survival.
Family support was critical to survival. | Source
Song, dance, and ceremonies are an important part of their culture.
Song, dance, and ceremonies are an important part of their culture. | Source
Interactive map to show the travel routes of the tribes.
Interactive map to show the travel routes of the tribes. | Source

Museum of Ojibwa Culture

A marker500 North State Stree, St. Ignace, MI 49781 -
500 N State St, St Ignace, MI 49781, USA
[get directions]

Hours and Admission

*Admission
Hours
Preschool children: FREE
Memorial Day Weekend to Late June 9:00 am-5:00 pm
Elementary Children: $1.00
Late June to Labor Day 9:00 am-6:00 pm
Teens/Adults: $2.00
Labor Day-Mid October 10:00 am-3:00 pm
Family: $5.00
 
*Although there is no exact admission fee, there is a suggested donation.

Author's Note

This summer I had the pleasure of traveling to one of my favorite places to visit, Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Since I have family in this area, I make it a point to visit at least once a year. I decided last year that I would start a new tradition with my children and make ourselves tourists in our home state. Not only has this been a great experience for all of us, but we have seen some very interesting sites along the way. In addition to our visit to the Museum of Ojibwa Culture, we traveled to many places in the Upper Peninsula. If you are interested in reading more about our adventures traveling through Michigan, you can check out some of these other hubs that I have written about our stops along the way.

Interesting Things to See and Do in Marquette County, Michigan

Coastlines of Michigan's Upper Peninsula

Exploring Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore

On the Shoreline of Lake Superior: A Personal Narrative


More by this Author


Comments 4 comments

dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 5 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

We were up to that area a few years ao but I did not know about the museum or I might have made a point of seeing it.Thanks for sharing this information.


cardelean profile image

cardelean 5 years ago from Michigan Author

I'm sure you would have enjoyed it dahoglund since you are such a history buff! It's a great historical area to visit. Thanks for reading and commenting.


Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 5 years ago from North Carolina

Hi Cara-WOW! What an excellent hub photo gallery. I don't believe that there was the extent of 'children's activities' set up when you were younger than there are now. I think this has evolved.

You know how much I love anything about the Indian culture. I am amazed at all of the photos that you present here with the brief explanation. Very well done. Well worth the wait!


cardelean profile image

cardelean 5 years ago from Michigan Author

Thanks Mom, it was fun to do. We didn't go as a kid we went when Marco and Olivia were little but I don't think that they had it then. Glad you enjoyed it.

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