LANSING, Mich. — It’s been years in the works, and now, Heritage Hall, a visitor and education space attached to the Michigan Capitol building, has officially opened its doors.
“This project, interestingly enough, has been a project 30 years in the making," said Rob Blackshaw who serves as executive director of the Michigan State Capitol Commission.
In that role, he’s been running point on the more recent phases of this three-decade long project.
"There were really two needs that drove the project; number one a safer entrance for the students of Michigan to come in, and the second is there’s always time to gather inside the capitol," he said.
Those big gatherings and the catered food, Blackshaw said, add to the wear and tear of the historic halls.
“As you’re squirting ketchup on 140-year-old plaster and decorative walls, the carts get slammed into Michigan white pine painted to look like marble. It’s very hard to maintain anyway outside of the abuse it takes from these larger events," he said.
So this new space is pulling double duty, offering a place for gatherings and education.
“There’s a lot that we do behind the scenes that people don’t know about," Blackshaw said. "For instance, we built a conservation laboratory in which we can now actually restore some of Michigan’s Civil War battle flags.”
Want to check out this new visitor’s center for yourself? It’s open five days a week, and there’s lots to learn. Plan your trip here.
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