Category Archives: Services

Research Orientations and Hands-On Workshops

Students from SS 3540, History of Michigan, conducting research during a hands-on research workshop on June 2, 2016.
Students from SS 3540, History of Michigan, conducting research during a hands-on research workshop on June 2, 2016.

In addition to preserving and providing access to a wide variety of historic print, graphic and digital material, the staff of the Michigan Technological University Archives and Copper Country Historical Collections also offer research support services to meet the unique research needs of students, faculty, staff, and community members. Research support services within the Archives can be tailored to the specific needs of researchers, curricula, or one class. During the summer, our research orientations, tours and hands-on research workshops are particularly popular with undergraduate students and genealogical researchers.

Research orientations and tours
Research orientations and tours for small groups and class visits are designed to give participants an overview of policies, resources, and research methods. These sessions may appeal to faculty from many areas of the university to find ways to use, or promote the benefits of primary source materials in their courses. Research orientations and tours are designed for groups no larger than 20 participants and typically last 45-60 minutes; these are available to members of the university as well as to the community.

Hands-on research workshops
The newest service that the Archives has initiated is a hands-on research workshop. These sessions are built around a specific course objective, assignment, or research project. Workshops involve an in-depth discussion about research as it pertains to a specific topic or material type. These sessions include a hands-on research activity and worksheet customized to give participants a deeper understanding of a specific aspect of archival research. Research workshops typically last 45-60 minutes and they are available to all faculty, staff and other research groups.

In addition to these services, the department also offers research consultations for individual researchers. Please contact the Michigan Tech Archives at (906) 487-2505 or at copper@mtu.edu to learn more about how our research support services may benefit your archival research project.

2016 Travel Grant Program Call for Proposals

Arthur Edmund Seaman, former head of the Department of Geology and Mineralogy at the Michigan College of Mines (now Michigan Tech), conducting some research, circa 1905. Photograph is courtesy of the Keweenaw Digital Archives.
Arthur Edmund Seaman, former head of the Department of Geology and Mineralogy at the Michigan College of Mines (now Michigan Tech), conducting some research, circa 1905. Photograph is courtesy of the Keweenaw Digital Archives.

 

The Michigan Technological University Archives and Copper Country Historical Collections is currently accepting applications for its annual Travel Grant Program, which brings in scholars and researchers external to Michigan Technological University to work with the Archives’ collections. Financial support for the Travel Grant Program is provided by the Friends of the Michigan Tech Library, a support organization for the library and archives of Michigan Tech. Grants are awarded for up to $750 to defray the costs of travel to visit and conduct research in Houghton, Michigan.

The Michigan Tech Archives houses a wide variety of historical print, graphic and manuscript resources related to the Copper Country and Michigan Technological University. Subject coverage includes university and campus life, regional towns and cities, local industries and businesses, as well as social organizations, events and personalities of the Copper Country and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Primary topical research areas include the western Upper Peninsula, industrial history, particularly copper mining and its ancillary industries, social history, community development along the Keweenaw Peninsula, transportation and the environment. Finding aids for some of the collections can be found here: http://www.mtu.edu/library/archives/collections/.

To apply for funding through the Travel Grant Program please visit the program website: http://www.mtu.edu/library/archives/programs-and-services/travel-grants/

Applications are due on February 29, 2016. Award recipients will be notified by March 31. The successful candidate must complete their travel by December 9, 2016. Electronic submission is preferred.

For further information, please contact:

Lindsay Hiltunen, Senior Archivist
Michigan Technological University Archives and Copper Country Historical Collections
J. Robert Van Pelt and John and Ruanne Opie Library
1400 Townsend Drive
Houghton, MI  49931
Phone: (906) 487-2505
E-mail: copper@mtu.edu

Archives Reading Room Reopens

The Archives Reading Room reopened for research on Tuesday, April 2. Current hours of operation are Monday through Friday from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.  This has allowed the Garden (lowest) Level of the library to be reopened as well.

Delays associated with the freeze-drying and delivery processes — our materials are being managed by the same facilities handling Hurricane Sandy damaged materials — have made the return to Houghton slow going. Fortunately, the one-third that has been received so far has shown no significant damage.

Read a related story published in The Daily Mining Gazette by clicking here.

Archives Temporary Services

A temporary Archives service will operate on a limited basis starting on Monday, Nov. 19. An area will be accessible through the library’s north stairwell and will operate from 1 to 5 p.m., Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Due to the disaster, portions of the Archives collections will not be accessible initially. But other materials, including microfilm collections, topical vertical files, city directories and portions of the Archives’ manuscript collections will be available for use in this temporary service area. Additional information about Archives services and access to its collections may be directed to copper@mtu.edu or 487-2505.

The Archives and entire garden level of the Van Pelt and Opie Library remain closed. Library materials on this floor, including government documents and older print journals may be requested at the main Library Service Desk. Additional information about library services and access to collections on the Garden level may be directed to 487-2508 or library@mtu.edu .

Archives Disaster Recovery Update

Recovery work continues at the Michigan Tech Archives following a small fire and zoned sprinkler release on Friday, Oct. 26. Personnel from Facilities Management have begun to schedule necessary repairs to the Archives stacks area. Several light fixtures will be replaced, as well as all of the area’s ceiling tiles. Carpeting throughout the room will be removed and replaced with hard tile, with some repair to drywall and the replacement of floor moldings. Several sections of metal shelving damaged by the fire will also be replaced. The timetable for completion of this work is not yet finalized, but it is likely that work will not be completed until sometime into Dec.

Work is underway to assess and treat documents and photographs affected by the fire and water release. Archives’ staff have begun the process to re-house and return more than 700 boxes of material to their original order in appropriate archival storage boxes. Many of these items were temporarily removed from wet boxes on the afternoon of the disaster. Another 688 boxes of very wet materials were sent to Green Bay for cold storage. Personnel from Belfor, the professional disaster recovery firm engaged by the University to assist with the project, are arranging to transport this material to a freeze drying facility in Ft. Worth, Texas, for further treatment. It is unclear how much of this may be damaged beyond repair or when the recoverable portions may return to Houghton.

The Library again shares its appreciation to its staff and friends who assisted with the immediate recovery efforts at the time of the fire. The work of these individuals helped to avoid a much larger loss of irreplaceable local history resources.

Archives Recovering from October 26 Fire

Originally published in Tech Today, November 1, 2012
by Marcia Goodrich, Michigan Tech

The Michigan Tech Archives are recovering from the Oct. 26 fire and ensuing water damage. Though the facility remains closed, recovery crews are working to restore the area and its documents, with the aim of reopening it to the public.

At about 11:30 a.m. Friday, a fire broke out in the archives stacks, located on the garden level of the J. R. Van Pelt and John and Ruanne Opie Library. A fire alarm sounded and sprinklers were activated.

Michigan Tech Public Safety and Police Services responded immediately, as did Houghton City Police. The Houghton City Fire Department received a call at 11:50 and was on the scene at 11:57 a.m. They left after the fire was fully extinguished, before 1 p.m.

The fire was contained within a few square yards, but water damage was extensive. The floor was flooded, and several stacks of documents were heavily sprayed by the sprinklers and fire hoses.

Some of the most heavily damaged documents were pulled by fireman onto the floor.

The response from the University community was almost instantaneous.

“We were genuinely overwhelmed by the number of people who were calling and coming to the building to see what they could do to help,” said Archivist Erik Nordberg. “Staff from the archives and library were on the scene immediately, along with Public Safety and the custodial staff. We saw people from the social sciences department, from the Pep Band . . . As soon as they heard what was going on, there was an outpouring of assistance. We were all sharing in this tragedy.”

Facilities’ custodial staff worked into the night, removing water from the area and installing dehumidifiers. Library staff followed their emergency response plan and arranged for freezer trucks to be sent from Green Bay to pick up the water-damaged documents.

Meanwhile, dozens of library staff, faculty and students from across campus, National Park Service experts, and community members came to the scene to help. They removed boxes from the stacks, re-boxing and sorting them. They identified those with water damage so they could be loaded onto the Green Bay-bound trucks for freezer storage.

Library and archives staff, as well as dozens of volunteers, worked to re-house some of the wet records.

A total of 688 boxes of water-damaged documents were loaded onto the trucks, and in less than three hours they were on their way to Green Bay. Belfor, a worldwide disaster recovery and property restoration firm, is shipping the frozen documents to Fort Worth, Texas, to be freeze-dried.

On Sunday, Belfor set up a drying room in the library to restore documents that don’t require freeze-drying. The company also conducted clean up of the archives site, including air filtration and odor control.

Less than 20 percent of the documents in the archives stacks were affected. Nordberg estimates that only a small amount of material may be damaged beyond repair.

Archives staff members are on duty, but the area is closed to visitors until further notice. The public and members of the University community are welcome to call 487-2505 or email copper@mtu.edu with questions.

Detective Sargent Dale Hillier of the Michigan State Police District 8 headquarters in Marquette is leading the fire investigation. A ceiling light in the archives stacks was severely charred in the fire, but the actual cause will not be known until the report is complete.

University Librarian Ellen Marks had high praise for the archives and library staff, citing Nordberg, Archivist Beth Russell, Strategic Initiatives Librarian Julie Blair, who drafted the emergency response plan, and Senior Project Archivist Rachael Bussert.

A drying room was constructed by personnel from Belfor to help with damp materials not sent to Green Bay.

“Everything worked so well because of the quick response of the Houghton police and fire departments, Public Safety and our own Scott Ackerman [IT principal systems analyst], who’s a volunteer firefighter,” she said. “John Lehman [assistant vice president for enrollment services] did an excellent job as incident commander, and all the many student and faculty volunteers were wonderful. I’d like to give a special shout out to Pat Martin [chair of social sciences] and the social sciences students. We are so appreciative.

“I’ve only been here two years, but it’s clear to me that Michigan Tech is a place where everyone really knows how to pull together,” she said. “I’m really grateful.”

———————————————-

The fire and disaster recovery have been covered by several media outlets:

– Garret Neese article in the Tuesday October 30 edition of The Daily Mining Gazette.
– Television news piece from Marquette-based WBUP ABC Channel 10.
– Text and image piece from Marquette-based WLUC TV6/FoxUP.

Associate Press distributed a version of the story which was picked up by additional media sources, including the Detroit Free Press

Archives Moves Toward New Technologies

Working on mark-up of an EAD file during Michael Fox's recent archival description workshop.

The Archives was closed Thursday-Friday, September 8-9, 2011, so that staff could be  trained in several new software tools.

Michael Fox, recently retired from the Minnesota Historical Society, spent three days with staff of the Michigan Tech Archives (as well as some other friends). Fox reviewed some basic elements of how manuscript collections differ from museum and library collections. It is important to realize that unlike other item-level collections, archives have complex inter-relations within their manuscript collections. Very few archives catalog material to the item level. Instead, they gather descriptive data at the collection level, as well as information about groupings of documents in folders or within collections as records series. The hierarchical relationship between individual documents, the folders they reside in, the series of which they were created, as well as the overall collections which hold them require complex systems of description.

Encoded archival description (EAD) is a standard which has emerged in recent years to help archivists create and hold this type of hierarchical descriptive information. It uses extensible mark-up language (xml)  to take previous types of written inventories and finding aids and turn them into a standardized data format (it also relies on a descriptive standard called “describing archives: a content standard,” or DACS, to ensure that the contents of individual fields is consistent across the board). With information about our collections held in EAD format, the Michigan Tech Archives will be able to export information to web sites and other places where potential researchers might discover our collections.

This work is not for the faint of heart, however, and will involve many changes in the way that we do our work at the Michigan Tech Archives. One of these changes will be the migration of collections information to a new open source archival collections management software tool called Archivists’ Toolkit. AT will allow us to gather a variety of information about our collections, including both descriptive information and internal administrative notes about preservation and processing. From AT, we’ll be able to output descriptive information compliant to the EAD standard. We’ll also be able to export catalog records compliant to the library world’s MARC standard.  In these formats, we’ll be able to update and share information through sites like OCLC’s Worldcat and ArchiveGrid.

Although this may sound like technical mumbo-jumbo to some of our non-archivist researchers, it will mean a dramatic improvement to the variety and level of information that researchers may discover about our holdings.

We were pleased to have Fox’s training workshop supported through grant monies from the National Historical Records and Publications Commission. Over the course of the last two years, NHPRC’s funding of our current ‘basic archives’ grant has provided the first steps in this move toward better and more standardized description. During this period, we have already created collection-level records for each of the manuscript collections held at the Michigan Tech Archives (you can read some of these on our blog over here). With NHPRC funding for Michael Fox’s visit, we made the first steps toward implementation of Archivists’ Toolkit, EAD, and the next steps in our program.

Look for additional updates here.

Local Researchers for Hire

Interested in researching Copper Country history or tracing your family roots but are just to darn far away to visit the Michigan Tech Archives and Copper Country Historical Collections for yourself?

Although research is best done in person, there are alternatives. -- Photograph of Francis Jacker from the Keweenaw Digital Archives, Image #:MS042-040-T-182

As a courtesy for those who aren’t able to visit the Upper Peninsula, the Michigan Tech Archives offers a list of independent researchers for you to contact. You can make arrangements with these individuals to undertake research for you, from looking up an obituary in a historic newspaper to gathering background information for a book and more.

Zach Kukkonen
608-658-0909
kooksmart@hotmail.com
Open to researching anything.

Marjorie Lindley
755 Seventh Street
Laurium, MI 49913
906-337-2615
marjorielindley@yahoo.com
Will do look ups in the MTU Archives and marriage records in the courthouse. Also local cemeteries, photos, and information.

Peg Neidholdt
26330 Quincy Street
Laurium, MI  49913
906-337-2380
pegnied@charter.net
Researching genealogy records for 32 years. Researching Houghton and Keweenaw County for over five years. Member of the Association of Professional Genealogists.

These researchers are not affiliated with Michigan Technological University, and the Michigan Tech Archives has no control over the results of their work.

Reading Room Holiday Hours

The Archives will close for the holiday season at 5:00 p.m., on Wednesday, December 23, 2010.

We will reopen at 10:00 a.m., on Monday, January 3, 2011.

Requests for information can be left via e-mail at copper@mtu.edu or by telephone at 906-487-2505.

On behalf of the Archives’ staff, have a wonderful holiday season!

Erik
Julie
Christine
Beth

A 1915 Christmas scene taken by photographer J.T. Reeder. He titled the picture "Mary's 2nd Christmas tree."

Archives Closed Some Days This Summer

The Michigan Tech Archives will be closed on the following days: 

Monday, May 31, in observance of Memorial Day.
Tuesday, June 15, for a staff retreat.
Monday, July 5, in accordance with the University’s Independence Day Recess.

Otherwise, the Archives’ summer hours for public research are:
Monday-Thursday, 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Friday, 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Please call 906-487-2505 or e-mail copper@mtu.edu with any additional questions.

Archives Sponsors District History Day Competition

img_10355History came alive for more than 80 students in grades 4 through 12 as they participated in the District 1 regional competition for National History Day, held Saturday, March 20, 2010 at the Memorial Union Building on the Michigan Tech campus.  The competition is sponsored by the Michigan Tech Archives with financial support from the Michigan Tech Social Sciences Department.

Judges for the event were drawn from students, faculty, and staff in several campus departments, as well as representatives from museum and heritage organizations across the Copper Country. The event included a public showcase, with more than 300 parents, families, and members of the general public given a chance to learn from these young historians’ work.

The event operates similarly to other K12 competitions with some students qualifying to move on to the state and national levels of competition. Students participated in five categories (exhibit, website, documentary, performance and research paper)  focusing on this year’s theme of “Innovation in History: Impact and Change.” 

An article by Kurt Hauglie of The Daily Mining Gazette is online here.

Of the 42 competing entries, 27 were selected to progress to the state finals, to be held April 24 at The Henry Ford in Dearborn, and could continue to the National History Day competition June 13-17 at the University of Maryland. 

Here are the student projects which qualified to proceed to the state competition (with a few images to illustrate the breadth and quality of the students’ work): 

§ Megan Wells, “Walt Disney, the Innovator of Theme Parks” (Father Marquette Elementary, Marquette – Youth Division/Individual Exhibit)

§ Rachel Wells, “Kemmons Wilson: The Holiday Inn Story” (Father Marquette Middle School, Marquette – Junior Division/Website)

§ Katie Hiltunen, Alysha Narhi, Shirley Krogel, “Pasties: The Perfect Miner Food” (T.R. Davis Elementary, Dollar Bay – Junior Division/Website)

§ Elisha Houle, “The Cotton Gin: Expanding Cotton Production” (T.R. Davis Elementary, Dollar Bay – Junior Division/Individual Exhibit)

§ Jessica Marcotte, “Portage Lake Lift Bridge” (T.R. Davis Elementary, Dollar Bay – Junior Division/Individual Exhibit)

img_1041§ Ricky Greub, “American Automobiles: Past and Present (T.R. Davis Elementary, Dollar Bay – Junior Division/Individual Exhibit)

§ Ciarra Shelp, Carli Daavettila, “Basketball: From YMCA to Worldwide” (T.R. Davis Elementary, Dollar Bay – Junior Division/Group Exhibit)

§ Cecilia Burton, Mandy Maatta, “The Beatles” (Jeffers High School, Painesdale – Junior Division/Group Exhibit)

§ Mikayla Kyllonen, Kenny Maki, “Laser Surgery” (Jeffers High School, Painesdale – Junior Division/Group Exhibit)

§ Joshua Hendrickson, “The Refrigerator – “The Cool Way to Cool our Food” (Hancock High School – Senior Division/Research Paper)

§ Jodi Michael, “Barcodes: Scanning History” (Hancock High School – Senior Division/ Research Paper)

§ Lori Petrelius, “The Wonder Drug: The Downfall and Revival of Thalidomide” (Jeffers High School – Senior Division/Research Paper)

§ Jake Stratton, “Gyroscope: Changed History” (Hancock High School – Senior Division/Individual Performance)

img_1051§ Shelby Hill, Jessica Smith, Katrina Mills, Thea Balicki, “Fire Throughout History: Sparking Changes” (Hancock High School – Senior Division/Group Performance)

§ Dinah Bekkala, “Elias Howe and the Sewing Machine” (Hancock High School – Senior Division/Individual Documentary)

§ Jamie Dompier, Kaitlyn Hietala, “The Mackinac Bridge: Transporting Ideas, Culture and the People of Michigan,” (Chassell High School – Senior Division/Group Documentary)

§ Brett Hauswirth, Devin Kero, Zach Hill, “The World of Fast Food” (Hancock High School – Senior Division/Group Documentary)

§ Alissa Berg, Erin Raasakka, “Photographs: Snapping Through History” (Hancock High School – Senior Division/Group Documentary)

§ Ashley Laux, “Pony Express – Relay Across the West” (Chassell High School – Senior Division/Website)

§ Brianna Korpela, “United States Railroads: Reliance on the Rails” (Hancock High School – Senior Division/Website)

§ Ross Michaels, Daryl Usitalo, “BC Tools: Work Smarter, Not Harder” (Chassell High School – Senior Division/Website)

§ Erica LeClaire “A Woman’s Decision: The Innovation of Choice” (Dollar Bay High School – Senior Division/Individual Exhibit)

img_1059§ Kayla Marie Nuttall, “The Traffic Light: Making the Roads Safer” (Hancock High School – Senior Division/Individual Exhibit)

§ Kalle Markkanen, “The One-Man Drill: Rocking the History of Mining” (Houghton High School – Senior Division/Individual Exhibit)

§ Stephanie Dunstan, Angela Stites, “Penicillin: The Gateway Drug” (Hancock High School – Senior Division/Group Exhibit)

§ Kyle Kearly, Jordan Bierman, Dylan Meyer, “The Gatling Gun” (Hancock High School – Senior Division/Group Exhibit)

img_1062§ Brittany Puska, Hannah Rundman, “Fred Dakota: Gambling His Way Through History” (Jeffers High School – Senior Division/Group Exhibit)

District 1 is comprised of 12 counties in the Central and Western Upper Peninsula. The district competition is sponsored annually by the the Michigan Tech Social Sciences Department, the Michigan Tech Archives and Copper Country Historical Collections, the Quincy Mine Hoist Association and the Historical Society of Michigan.

For more information on National History Day, email District 1 coordinator Jane Nordberg at jlnordbe@mtu.edu or contact the Michigan Tech Archives at copper@mtu.edu