Mastodons on the Loose: How a new public art project is connecting Muskegon to its history—and future

With the constant hum of construction happening in Muskegon, it can be easy to become absorbed by this quickly changing world of ours: the buildings being erected, the renovations, the debuting businesses. And while this melange of jackhammering and ribbon cuttings is very much about a growing economy, about the future, it’s also inevitably tied to the past, to a history spanning hundreds of millions of years.


Here, against a backdrop of emerging restaurants and coffee shops, is a landscape that tells the stories of ancient seas, of mile-thick ice that once covered our state, of long-extinct animals like mastodons and mammoths and giant beavers. It is a story of continental glaciers that encompassed the land we now call Michigan for more than a million years, of the sand and other sediments that, after centuries of being blown by the wind, have become the dunes framing our beaches.


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