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Trip Planner: USA / Michigan / Muskegon County / Whitehall / Michigan's Heritage Park at Hilt's Landing
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. To visit Michigan's Heritage Park at Hilt's Landing on your trip to Whitehall, use our Whitehall trip maker app.
Michigan's Heritage Park at Hilt's Landing reviews
So disappointed to learn the park is closed. Looked up the history of the park and learned George Hilt was the founder. He was also the owner and founder of the Quality Farm and Fleet stores...
So disappointed to learn the park is closed. Looked up the history of the park and learned George Hilt was the founder. He was also the owner and founder of the Quality Farm and Fleet stores... more »
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...
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
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 »
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.
This is a wonderful place to visit! We were initially told it would take1.5 - 2 hours to complete the trail. A little over 4 hours later, we were finally done. It was a slower day, which allowed us to spend plenty of time at each station, talking to the guides, asking questions and learning about Michigan's rich history. The staff were very knowledgeable and happy to allow us to interact with the displays. For example, I learned how to spin sheep's wool on a spinning wheel, which is trickier than one expect. As noted, the staff were knowledgeable. They are well educated and trained. It is clear that each of them is passionate about history, authenticity and preservation. They are wonderful resources. The displays are beautifully created and maintained. I highly recommend a visit to Michigan's Heritage Park.
Fun and educational. Lots of hands on and experience learning of Michigan history. Friendly staff.
We loved our visit to Michigan's Heritage Park and would go back in a heartbeat! Everything is designed to be interactive and hands-on. You can touch authentic artifacts and try your hand at atlatl! The staff were friendly and very knowledgeable about Michigan history. They were also very patient with us as we were finishing the trail a little past closing time. There is something for all ages at this beautiful park!
Lakeshore Museum Center is on fire. Great line up of events all summer. My family has already attended a civil war reenactment and a Native American Pow Wow! The employees and volunteers are so friendly and educational. My 2 yo son loves the animals and games! Oh, and Ice Box Brand Ice Cream Bars and so much fun stuff in the gift shop!
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