The Beaver Island Historical Museum will have a clean, modern look and feel with metal, wood and rustic elements throughout, evocative of the Island’s cultural and natural beauty. Many of the walls of the exhibit halls will be covered with large graphics and interactive displays, ranging from simple tactile interactives to multimedia pieces and artifact displays to help tell the stories of the Island. Each content section will incorporate an ‘Island Audio’ station where visitors can listen to first-person accounts of life on the Island from either reenactments or from the museum’s oral history collection.
Our museum was built in 1850 by the followers of King James Jesse Strang, and used as a print shop.
Northern Michigan’s first newspaper was published in the Print Shop, as well as religious tracts and Strang’s Mormon doctrines.
Strang led his people to Beaver Island, which he described as paradise, a place where they could worship free of persecution. On the Island he was crowned as King of his people. In 1856 he was mortally wounded near the water’s edge by two of his former supporters. A special room in the museum tells the story of his life and his followers. Following Strang’s death, the Mormons were expelled from the island by a resentful mob which came across the lake to reclaim power over this strategic port, ending a brief yet dramatic era.
The Print Shop is now the general museum for the Beaver Island Historical Society. Besides displaying the story of Strang and his times, it tells the story of the Native American inhabitants, early Irish life, the Island’s musicians, and Feodor Protan, the Island’s most cherished man. The museum also has a collection of oral histories, diaries, genealogical records, land records, and archival photos.e to edit.