Fort Michilimackinac earns Governor’s Award for Historic Preservation

2016 Governor’s Awards for Historic Preservation announced; second year in a row that historical preservation in Emmet County recognized at state level

An archaeological project believed to be the longest ongoing effort of its kind in the nation has earned state recognition.
Gov. Rick Snyder and Michigan State Housing Development Authority Executive Director Kevin Elsenheimer announced six recipients of the 2016 Governor’s Awards for Historic Preservation. Among the winners is the Mackinac Island State Park Commission for archaeological investigations that began in 1959 at Fort Michilimackinac.
“Each year we recognize the contributions of people who devote time, energy and money into preserving Michigan’s historic structures and archaeological sites,” Snyder said. “These sites are irreplaceable and are important to maintaining a sense of place and our authentic Michigan identity.”One of Michigan’s premier tourist attractions, the research at Michilimackinac, located in Emmet County, is conducted in full view of the public, and visitors have the opportunity to interact with the archaeologists.
“This is a wonderful and much-deserved honor for the Mackinac Island State Park Commission and its dedicated, hardworking staff,” said State Sen. Wayne Schmidt (R-Traverse City). “Mackinac Island and Fort Michilimackinac are essential to the Pure Michigan experience, and the commission works to protect and preserve them for all to enjoy.”
Since the scientific investigation began 57 years ago, 15 buildings have been reconstructed and more than one million artifacts have been recovered, identified and catalogued at Colonial Fort Michilimackinac. The fort celebrated its 300th anniversary in 2015 and for decades has been a national model for research and interpretation at sites of its type.
The State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) at MSHDA initiated the Governor’s Awards in 2003 to recognize outstanding historic preservation achievements that reflect a commitment to the preservation of Michigan’s unique character and the many archaeological sites and historic structures that document Michigan’s past.
“We recognize partnerships, innovation, creativity and excellence with these awards,” said Elsenheimer. “Good historic preservation projects reflect a desire to connect the past with the future, they involve collaboration, and we are pleased to recognize 26 different organizations this year.”
Phil Porter, Director of the Mackinac State Historic Parks, is a member of the Essence of Emmet historical collaborative, which produces the Essence of Emmet historical magazine series. In 2015, Emmet County’s Communications Director, Beth Anne Eckerle, was awarded the Gov. John B. Swainson Award for historic preservation efforts in the county, including for the Essence series.
To learn about previous Governor’s Award recipients go to Michigan.gov/shpo, click on Special Projects and Governor’s Awards.

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