Jesse Besser Museum
The excellent Jesse Besser Museum and Planetarium (491 Johnson St., 989/356-2202, www.bessermuseum.org, 10 a.m.–5 p.m. daily, $5 adults, $3 children) in Alpena combines art, history, and science on two levels. The museum’s highlight is the “Gallery of Early Man,” a collection of Great Lakes Native American artifacts considered one of the finest in the country. To the probable dismay of archaeologists, the collection, which numbers more than 60,000 pieces, was gathered by Gerald Haltiner, a local state highway worker, and his museum-curator son, Robert.
The Jesse Besser Museum purchased the collection from the Haltiners in the 1970s and is working closely with local Native American tribes to review the collection with repatriation in mind. Some of its most intriguing artifacts are the copper items that date back more than 7,000 years, made by a people known only as the Copper Culture.
The Jesse Besser Museum’s Sky Theater Planetarium puts on changing shows, many with Native American themes, throughout the year.
by Laura Martone from Moon Michigan, 3rd Edition, © Avalon Travel