Museum of Ojibwa Culture: A Photo Gallery
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.
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
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
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 ArtClick thumbnail to view full-size
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 OjibwaClick thumbnail to view full-size
Museum of Ojibwa Culture
Hours and Admission
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
Labor Day-Mid October 10:00 am-3:00 pm
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.