Interpretive Projects

One of the crown jewels in Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is the Port Oneida Rural Historic District. A historic farming community on 3,400 acres with 18 farmsteads and 121 buildings in their original locations, they offer tangible connections to our past. The fields and buildings were passed down through the generations, spanning over 100 years of subsistence farming. Port Oneida represents the evolution of land use, agricultural technology and architecture. This unique collection of farmsteads is ripe for interpretation to the visitors of Sleeping Bear.

Preserve Historic Sleeping Bear is  implementing educational projects from their Interpretive Model for Port Oneida. Products, locations, ways and means to tell the stories of the landscape are taking shape through exhibits, kiosks, wayside signs, tours and field guides . Three themes – community, land and migration – share historical information about Port Oneida as well as other historic properties in the park. You can purchase your Field Guide at the Olsen Farm History Center.

Past or On-going Projects

  • Publishing the first Field Guide to Port Oneida
  • Presenting Tours of historic farms and village
  • Historical Research
  • Co-founder and co-sponsor of the Port Oneida Fair
  • Offering programs such as Path to the Page
  • Conducting oral history recording of farmstead descendants
  • Hosted the Olsen Family Reunion

New Projects

  • Funding interpretive signage for all historic properties in the Park with the exception of Glen Haven and some existing signage on the Mantiou Islands.
  • Developing a professional exhibit at the Olsen Farm History Center
  • Training Tour Guides
  • Developing trunk shows

Are You a Descendant of original settlers in the park?

The story of the Europeans that settled in this area is being chronicled through interviews with the descendants of these families. Recordings are being conducted, edited and preserved in both digital and book formats by one of our members. If you would are a descendant of one of the historic areas in the Park, please contact or Tom Van Zoeren at  We would love to document your history!

If you would like to delve further into this history, you can purchase books in the Olsen Farm History Center.


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