Michigan historian shares stories of Mackinac at Baldwin Public Library

By: Mary Genson | Birmingham-Bloomfield Eagle | Published July 12, 2023

 Andrew Kercher will present “Behind the Scenes of History: The Straits of Mackinac” at the Baldwin Public Library.

Andrew Kercher will present “Behind the Scenes of History: The Straits of Mackinac” at the Baldwin Public Library.

Photo provided by Andrew Kercher


BIRMINGHAM — Mackinac is a popular Michigan tourist destination that brings people from throughout the country to its car-free streets every summer. Whether you are planning a trip Up North this summer or are just fascinated with Michigan history, mark your calendars for Monday, July 24.

The Baldwin Public Library is hosting Andrew Kercher to present ”Behind the Scenes of History: The Straits of Mackinac” at 7 p.m. This lecture is a hybrid event. Virtual participants must register at www.baldwinlib.org to receive a Zoom link.

Librarian Mick Howey said local history is a focal point for the Baldwin Public Library’s adult services department this summer.

“As someone who’s lived in Michigan pretty much my whole life, there is so much state history that I don’t know,” Howey said.  “So that’s why I would like to kind of focus on Michigan programs more and local authors more.”

While Howey has many Mackinaw City memories from when his grandma and aunt owned a hotel right outside of the city, he does not know a lot of history behind the iconic Michigan travel spot.

Kercher, the community engagement manager at Port Huron Museums and freelance lecturer, previously lived and worked in the Straits of Mackinac for nearly a decade. He said this particular lecture is an easy one for him because of his extensive personal experience in the area.

When some people think of Mackinac, they may think of its popular tourist traditions, such as the fresh fudge and riding bikes and horses around the island, but Kercher shares that there is much more to it.

“There are so many events that connect the whole world to Mackinac and Mackinac to the rest of the world. It hasn’t always been this tourist location that’s four hours away,” Kercher said. “It has been the center for some of these global conflicts, politics and economics.”

The audience will learn the history of Mackinac’s indigenous peoples, fur trade, battles and even the island’s iconic fudge.

Through the “Behind the Scenes of History: The Straits of Mackinac” lecture, Kercher also wants to give audiences an inside look at what it is like to live and work in Mackinac, especially during the winter.

Kercher shares stories of what it is like to work security for The Grand Hotel, Mackinac’s award-winning resort. Kercher emphasized the importance of learning about history, particularly history close to home.

“History gives you context to any kind of decision or thought-making process for the future,” Kercher said.

More information about Kercher can be found at kercher.info.