Michigan State Capitol scavenger hunt

If you ever take a trip to the State Capitol in Lansing, Michigan, here are some things to look for when you visit.

Michigan State Capitol

Have you ever been to the Michigan State Capitol in Lansing, Michigan? A fun citizenship activity is to take a walking tour of our state’s Capitol. This activity can be done within a family, as part of a school activity, a 4-H club or with any group working with youth. The following list contains some fun things to look for when you visit. You can learn more about the art and monuments with guides available online. Your group could take photos of the items listed below or just discuss them.

  • Who was the first governor of Michigan?
    • Stevens T. Mason was the acting territorial secretary at the age of 19, territorial governor at 22, and elected state governor at 24. What do you think of someone that age being governor? Do you think someone that age would be elected today?
    • His portrait is in the house chamber on the west wall and can be viewed from the gallery on the third floor.
  • What three animals are on the state seal?
    • Why do you think the eagle, moose and elk are on the state seal? How might they represent Michigan? Can you think of other animals that might be good for the state seal?
    • The state seal is located in many places throughout the Capitol. How many can you find?
  • How many portraits of nonfictional women are there in the Capitol?
    • As of 2017, there are two.
    • Jennifer Granholm was the first female governor of Michigan from 2003-2011. Her portrait is in the rotunda. As you look at the portrait, what do you think the different items might symbolize?
    • Eva McHall Hamilton was the first female legislator in Michigan. She was elected to a single two-year term immediately after women earned the right to vote in 1920. Her portrait is in the Senate chamber, where she served.
  • What do the muses represent in the Capitol rotunda?
    • The muses in the rotunda are fictional and represent fine arts, agriculture, law, science, justice, industry, commerce and education.
    • By looking at the muses, pair them with aspects they may represent in our society.
  • How many portraits of nonfictional people in the Capitol are non-governors?
    • Four.
    • Eva McHall Hamilton, mentioned earlier
    • Gerald R. Ford, the only U.S. president born in Michigan.
    • William Ferguson, the first African American legislator in Michigan. He was first elected in 1892 and served two terms in the Michigan State House. His portrait was hung in 2018.
    • Marquis de Lafayette, a French aide to George Washington during the American Revolution. His portrait is hanging in the Senate Chamber.
  • While standing on the floor of the rotunda, notice the flags in the cases.
    • These flags are replicas of flags of military units from Michigan who fought during the American Civil War. If you had to design a flag for yourself, what would you put on it?
    • Notice the plaques next to the flags. What did most of the soldiers die from?
    • More than half of the military-age males in Michigan volunteered to serve in the American Civil War. The American Civil War was to preserve the union and end slavery. What cause do you think could inspire that many people to put their lives on the line today?

To learn about the positive impact of Michigan 4-H youth leadership, citizenship and service and global and cultural education programs, read our 2016 Impact Report: “Developing Civically Engaged Leaders.” Additional impact reports, highlighting even more ways Michigan State University Extension and Michigan 4-H have positively impacted individuals and communities in 2016, can be downloaded from the MSU Extension website.

Data for this article comes from Tax Foundation.

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