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Traverse City’s Great Lakes Children’s Museum Welcomes Indigenous Artists’ Exhibit

A new exhibit at Great Lakes Children’s Museum (GLCM) in Traverse City is exploring the history and culture of Indigenous people in the region.

GLCM Development Director, Lisa Brady, says though the exhibit itself is new as of June 25, the idea has been in the works since 2015.

“We thought it would be an important exhibit to include because we have seen only history shown long ago,” says Brady. “But it doesn’t really interact with people who are living now, who are younger and people who are growing up in the Native American culture, so we wanted to be able to bring that in here.”

The exhibit displays Indigenous people and what the culture values such as removing cultural appropriation, treaty agreements and more.

The idea is to make the “heavy” subjects more digestible for younger audiences that visit, but also interest there parents.

“We hope that it will spark conversations between parents and their children,” says Brady. “Because what the messages that Jamie created are distilled down to things that everyone would understand.”

Jamie John and

Early this year, Democratic state senators introduced legislation that would implement new social studies curriculum centered around the cultures of people of color and Indigenous groups. has only been introduced and has yet to make it past the senate.

Brady believes at our core, most person believe in the same values though our perspectives may change how we express them.

The exhibit will challenge adults and children to consider the different perspectives and cultural backgrounds that exist right at home. And to make it easier for kids to learn, the exhibit incorporates multiple senses from sight to sound and even smell.

“When you allow different senses to be engaged, then that’s actually how you’ll learn,” says Brady. “Hopefully a child will go out into the woods and then they’ll smell this and they’ll say, ‘that’s cedar wood. That reminds me of that Native American exhibit at the Children’s Museum.'”

The GLCM includes interactive exhibits that explore topics like maritime history and the environment. The interactive exhibit on Michigan’s Indigenous people will increase the diversity already present at the museum.

“I don’t know of any other art that is geared toward children and inadvertently their parents and other art that is really geared to help build a child’s foundational knowledge,” says Brady. “When they go out into the world, they are more comfortable because they’ve already been exposed to different types of people.”

The exhibit will be on display for a full year and will be added on to over that period.