Michigan's Heritage Park at Hilt's Landing, Whitehall

#6 of 8 in Museums in Muskegon County
Science Museum · Hidden Gem · History Museum
The Michigan Heritage Park is an open-air museum that spans 10,000 years of Michigan history. It consists of a half-mile trail loop that starts with a pre-historic mastodon exhibit and ends at a Civilian Conservation Corps camp exhibit. The historical exhibits are recreations. The park is operated by Muskegon's Lakeshore Museum Center.
George Edward Hilt (1916–2012) had a plan before he died for his property called Hilt's Landing in Whitehall Township, Michigan. In his estate planning, Hilt made provisions that his vision of using his 230-acre family property should be for telling the story of Michigan's history to future generations. His trust fund appointed over two million dollars for developing Michigan Heritage Trail at Hilt's Landing—a portion going to build the historic park by the Lakeshore Museum Center and another portion for maintenance and operation of the facility. The effort to establish the park has gone on for nearly a decade.
The 19-acre open-air museum park opened on June 6, 2015, and has a visitor's center. It is a seasonal attraction, open from June through October. Local donors put millions of dollars into the park. The Consumers Energy Foundation was a large donor. It is part of a larger development at Heritage Landing, which is said to be Muskegon’s new “recreational gem.” It was funded in part by a special ballot proposal passed in 2011. Building the authentic recreations of furniture required staff to 'turn back the clock' and use antiquated methods.
The trail has site areas showing 10,000 years of Michigan history. Exhibits include the Mastodon Site; the Archeology Site; Native American Village; French Fur Trader Cabin; Colonial Cabin; Civil War Camp; Civilian Conservation Corps camp and a Michigan farmhouse. Visitors are encouraged to participate in activities so that they are interacting with the artifacts and culture, not just passively listening to a docent.
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Michigan's Heritage Park at Hilt's Landing reviews

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28 reviews
  • Michigan's Heritage Park is outstanding. The trail around the living museum is beautiful and the park is filled with knowledgeable staff. There are hands on activities at each stop on the trail and...  more »
  • This is a really interesting place if you like history. Its kind of back in the woods but you don't feel like you are in the middle of nowhere. The interpretors were very friendly and informative and....  more »
  • So much fun. I learned a lot when I visited
  • Went there for a 3rd grade field trip. My kiddos loved it and the employees are dedicated to providing a unique experience for these kids. Wish I could post more photos, but since there were classmates in them, I don't want to put other people's kids online, but I will say the staff were so patient and understanding with the kids. Also informed about the era they were working within.

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