Great Michigan gifts for the holidays

Michigan rocks - and jewelry made from them - make unusual and memorable gifts.

Dec. 12, 2013

It's never been easier to give a gift of Michigan history. In fact, it's only a click away.

Michiganology.com -- a partnership with the Michigan History Foundation - offers Michigan-themed products, with historic images from the Michigan Historical Center collections. All profits benefit the Michigan Historical Center's educational programs including the Big History Lesson and the Governor's Decision Room.

Jigsaw puzzles shaped like the state and featuring Michigan rocks and minerals.Customers purchasing Michiganology's unique products get quality Michigan-made items and promote education and awareness of Michigan's history and heritage.

Michiganology offers Michigan-made, Michigan-themed jigsaw puzzles, magnets, key chains, T-shirts, drinkware and paper goods. Drinkware products include mugs, travel cups, pint glasses and can koozies. Paper goods include prints, greeting cards, note books and note pads. Custom jigsaw puzzles are also available.

The Michigan Historical Center preserves the state's legacy, and the center's collections represent a wonderful mirror to the past. Michiganology products originate from several Michigan Historical Center collections including the Main Streets, Proud Robin, Lighthouse, Sporting Life and Vintage Brewery collections.

Pendant shaped like the Lower Peninsula and made of Petoskey stone.The Main Streets Collection consists of vintage Michigan town-themed post cards, spanning much of the 20th century. The Proud Robin gained prominence as the 1958 Michigan Week logo and now is available on a variety of products. The mid-century modern logo is the epitome of Michigan pride as he boasts "It's great to live in Michigan."

The Lighthouse Collection includes drawings and photographs of many Michigan lighthouses and is also popular as prints or puzzles.

The Vintage Michigan Brewery Label Collection is possibly the most unique representative of the center's collections. These labels from defunct Michigan breweries date from 1934-1956 and were originally submitted to the Michigan Liquor Control Commission as a licensing requirement. The labels stand as colorful mementos of Michigan's strong brewing past and, often, as symbols of community pride. Brands include Auto City, Cadillac, an early Dark Horse brand, an early Frankenmuth brand, Goebel, Grand Rapids, Muskegon and Old Michigan, among others.

It's easy to own a piece of Michigan brewing memorabilia, as these labels now adorn prints, T-shirts, pint glasses, can koozies, bottle opener key chains and more.

A display of Michigan-themed books and other products at the Michigan Historical Museum Store.Michiganology is adding new products, as Michigan Historical Center staff continues to rediscover fascinating materials in the collections. This unique store offers a variety of items for history enthusiasts, nostalgia buffs, lovers of fine artwork and people who are just proud to be from Michigan. There's a good chance that Michiganology offers something for you or someone on your holiday shopping list. Stop by www.michiganology.com to check it out and then check out to support history, education and the Michigan Historical Center.

Maybe you still like to visit a brick-and-mortar store? If you're in the Lansing area, you can stop by the Michigan Historical Museum's gift shop, located on the first floor of the Michigan Historical Center's building at 702 W. Kalamazoo St. in downtown Lansing.

The gift shop carries an array of Michigan-themed items, including trays to make ice cubes shaped like the Mitten state, Michigan oven mitts, jewelry made from Michigan copper and also Petoskey stones, copper coins and bars, and Petoskey stone drink coasters. The shop also carries embroidered apparel and several books on Michigan history and places.

The museum gift shop is open seven days a week -- 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Saturdays and 1 to 5 p.m. on Sundays. After you've shopped, spend some time at the museum's new special exhibit -- Lake Effects, which investigates the history and science of Michigan weather. For more information about the museum, go to www.michigan.gov/museum.

Perhaps you're looking for a natural resources-related item? The Michigan eStore has a selection at www.michigan.gov/estore. The DNR's online items at the eStore include Traveling Through Time, a guide to the state's historical markers. There is also a selection of frame-ready wildlife prints by Michigan artists that support the DNR's wildlife management work.

Michigan and Michigan State sock puppets, available at the Michigan Historical Museum Store.Camping fans would love a Michigan State Parks stainless-steel water bottle, which makes a great stocking stuffer. State park gift certificates are also available at the eStore, and can be redeemed for camping or mooring fees or merchandise at state parks. The gift certificates can only be redeemed if making camping reservations through the DNR call center, but cannot be redeemed through the online reservation system.

Not sure what to get? You can also make a tax-deductible contribution for that hard-to-shop-for person or in memory of someone at the eStore. You can make donations to Michigan's State Park Fund, Sportsmen Against Hunger or the Nongame Wildlife Fund.

No matter who is on your shopping list this holiday season, there are plenty of unique gifts available from the DNR and the Michigan Historical Center.