Birchbark House Weekend - Madeline Island Museum
Birchbark House Weekend, a new special event at the museum, will feature family-oriented exhibits and activities centered around early Ojibwe village life.
In the old days, Ojibwe people lived in the woodlands in villages of birchbark houses. Birchbark houses were typically about 7-8 feet tall, about 7 feet wide and 15 feet long. However, they could be just about any size, from a small personal shelter in which to spend a night up to a community-sized one for many people. They were made of wooden frames which were covered with woven mats and sheets of birchbark. Birchbark was used because it is waterproof, and peels easily off the tree in large sheets. The frame could be shaped like a dome, like a cone, or like a rectangle with an arched roof. Once the birchbark was in place, ropes or strips of wood were wrapped around the wigwam to hold the bark in place.