2008-08-30 / Top News

Smithsonian Associates Enjoy Tour of Historic Parks

Smithsonian associates learn about Mackinac's flora, fauna, and bird migration from park naturalist Jeff Dykehouse at Fort Holmes. Tour leader David Armour is at right (with hat). (Photograph by Grace Armour) Smithsonian associates learn about Mackinac's flora, fauna, and bird migration from park naturalist Jeff Dykehouse at Fort Holmes. Tour leader David Armour is at right (with hat). (Photograph by Grace Armour) David and Grace Armour hosted 22 Smithsonian Associates on Mackinac Island August 21 to 24, giving them a behind-the-scenes look at Mackinac State Historic Parks operations and samples of Mackinac Island life with a cottage tour and viewing of a new ice bridge video.

Members of the group came from California, Oregon, Colorado, Wisconsin, New York, Maryland, and Michigan. This was the fourth year Dr. Armour has led the tour, which stayed at the Grand Hotel.

Dr. Armour is the former deputy director of Mackinac State Historic Parks and he and Mrs. Armour now live in Pennsylvania.

Providing personal tours were the staff of Mackinac State Historic Parks, including Director Phil Porter, Chief Curator Steve Brisson, naturalist Jeff Dykhouse, and the head of interpreters, Katie Cederholm, and Jane Manoogian opened the Manoogian Foundation West Bluff cottage for the group.

A new and much appreciated experience, said Dr. Armour, was Mark Rensel and Jenifer Silvernale showing the premier edition of their film, "Ice Bridge: Mackinac Islands Hidden Season," which he said provided a new dimension to the tour experiences. The producers "introduced the film, explaining how they had spent five winters on the Island enabling them to capture numerous stunning images and amass hours of footage, which they distilled down to a breathtaking film," he said.

Plans are currently underway for a 2009 Smithsonian "Journey to Magnificent Mackinac Island."

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