Category Archives: Staff

Summer Intern Update

Steve is hard at work assisting a patron with some genealogical research.
Steve is hard at work assisting a patron with some genealogical research.

Here is an update from our summer intern. He’s learned a lot and we are keeping him busy!


Hi everyone, it’s me again, with an update on my first few weeks in the archives. Although it’s only been a short period of time, I’ve seen a lot of friendly faces, both new and familiar. Not only have many visitors come from all over the country to stop in and research their family during their travels, there have even been a few professors stopping in to work on projects (yes, they work during the summer). One of my primary goals when I applied to this internship was to gain a lot of practical experience, and I think that goal is certainly being fulfilled. My first week was spent learning about the archives, and about the different collections that are here, how to locate them, and how they might be useful to patrons. I was also tasked with performing some remote research for a patron, using the digital microfilm reader to collect newspaper articles on the Northern Copper Country professional baseball league from 1907, which included many teams from the Keweenaw and surrounding areas. Seeing other articles from the time, referencing President Theodore Roosevelt, ships wrecking in the Great Lakes, or even articles about how much the locals love ice cream and soda provides an engaging context to what was happening at the time.

Much of my time has been spent shadowing archivists at the reference desk. That means I watch and learn about the procedures and techniques of interacting with patrons and helping them with their inquiries or research. Sometimes I will even take the lead to help patrons understand some of the procedures of the archives’ reading room and getting started searching through some of our databases and collections. Soon I will be taking my own reference shifts. My favorite part of working here is helping patrons with their genealogical research. When we can show someone the house their ancestor lived in on a Sanborn fire insurance map, or an employment card from the mining company that shows exactly how much they were paid, or just hearing the excitement in their voices or the joy on their faces as they uncover information they never knew before.

In the work room, preparing some collections for relocation and cleaning.
In the work room, preparing some collections for relocation and cleaning.

I have also begun to do some of the archives work that goes on behind the scenes. I have performed the accession process for a number of small donations from the Michigan Tech Registrar’s Office. Accessioning is the first step in adding donations to our collections, to establish and record exactly what they are and where they’re located physically in the archives. These donations included a set of Michigan Tech Commencement Programs (including from my own commencement ceremony!) that will likely be my first processing project. Processing a collection includes digging deeper to make sure the items are arranged in an orderly manner and described in order that the material is easily findable and accessible to the public. I recently finished writing up a plan for Lindsay, the University Archivist, to approve so I can get started on the processing procedure. I’m looking forward to working on that, and on helping the archives process a number of other small collections during my time here.


Welcome to Summer Intern Steve Moray

Steve Moray assesses a map of Isle Royale in the archives stacks.
Our new summer archives intern, Steve Moray, assesses a map of Isle Royale in the archives stacks.

On behalf of the Michigan Technological University Archives and Copper Country Historical Collections, in partnership with the Friends of the Michigan Tech Library, we hope you will help us welcome our new archives intern for summer 2017. Steve Moray was selected as the Friends of the Michigan Tech Library Archives Intern after a competitive national call for applicants. While in Houghton, Steve will be assisting with research support services and behind-the-scenes tours in the Michigan Tech Archives, particularly during the busy summer season. He will also be responsible for arrangement and description of several small manuscript collections and assist with developing new processing workflows for our ArchivesSpace implementation. We are very excited to have him on board! Below, please take a moment to get to know Steve as he introduces himself in his own words.


Hello everyone! My name is Steve Moray and I am a graduate student in the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s coordinated MA History/MLIS degree program, concentrating in Archives. I graduated from Michigan Technological University in 2012 with bachelor’s degrees in Archaeology and History. I am thrilled and honored to return to my Alma Mater for this incredible internship opportunity at the Michigan Technological University Archives and Copper Country Historical Collections. As an alumnus, I am already familiar with the archives and have used the collections in multiple classes during my time at Michigan Tech, including for a research paper on amusement parks in the Keweenaw Peninsula and for my undergraduate thesis on the history, archaeology, and GIS mapping of a historic copper mine on Isle Royale (Island Mine). In addition, my archaeology field school at Cliff Mine and History of the Copper Country classes both contributed to my in depth historical knowledge of the local area.

In 2013 I moved to Milwaukee and got a job as a field archaeologist working all over Wisconsin at a small archaeology firm. The nature of the job kept me away from home during the work week for nine months of the year. After three years, and much soul-searching, I came to the realization that my chosen profession was not fulfilling my passion. I wanted to find a way to incorporate my long time hobby, genealogy, and my love of historical research into a new, stable career that would allow me to come home every night, while also igniting that missing passion in me. I was lucky that Milwaukee had one of the best MLIS programs in the nation, and after some research, I applied for, and was accepted into, the Coordinated MA History/MLIS program.

My professional interests include collections digitization, MPLP (More Product, Less Processing), and history and genealogy reference. The final paper for my Introduction to Modern Archives Administration class at Milwaukee discussed the use of MPLP in digitization projects to balance issues of backlog, access, preservation, authenticity, and constraints of time and funding. This is a subject I am eager to explore further as I continue to develop as a professional. In my History program at UWM I have also taken Research Methods in Local History, which entailed conducting an in depth research project specifically focused on utilizing the March on Milwaukee digital collection and various physical collections of the UW-Milwaukee archives. After graduating from my master’s program I would like to pursue a career as an archivist at a local or state history archival institution, or as an archivist for the National Park Service at a National Historical Park.

I am also a seasoned genealogist with 20 years of research practice and am experienced in a wide variety of records located in both physical and digital repositories. I am currently working on becoming a Certified Genealogist and I would like to use my extensive knowledge and experience not just personally, but in a professional capacity as well.

When I’m not at school or work my hobbies include photography, doing genealogy for myself and friends, exploring the outdoors (especially the waterfalls of the Keweenaw), and reading authors such as Neil Gaiman and Neal Stephenson, among many others.

I will be here until the beginning of the Fall semester, so stop in and say hi, and let me help you with your historical or genealogical research!


For more information on the Friends of the Michigan Tech Library Internship Program or to set up a time to say hello to our new intern, please call Lindsay Hiltunen at (906) 487-2505 or e-mail us at copper@mtu.edu. The Michigan Tech Archives can also be found on Twitter: @mtuarchives.


Michigan Tech Archives Seeking 2017 Summer Intern

The Michigan College of Mines library reading room, 1920s or 1930s.
The Michigan College of Mines library reading room, 1920s or 1930s.

 

The Michigan Technological University Archives and Copper Country Historical Collections is currently seeking applicants for the Friends of the Michigan Tech Library Graduate Internship for summer, 2017. The archives provides a high level of service to scholars, students and a wide range of walk-in visitors and global patrons through virtual reference. Summer services are fast-paced and we see an increase in visitors, especially through our role as part of the Keweenaw Heritage Site network, a partnership with the Keweenaw National Historical Park, a member of the National Park Service. Areas of emphasis include manuscripts, maps, print and digital images which document the Keweenaw Peninsula, Michigan’s Western Upper Peninsula (U.P.) and university history. Partnerships with faculty and collaborative initiatives within the Van Pelt and Opie Library expose archivists to leading edge projects. Current projects include a migration to ArchivesSpace, a formalization of our outreach program through the Harwood Cohort Public Innovators workshop, and a research study and exhibit of the Copper Range Railroad.   

The intern selected will receive substantial experience in both public service and collections handling. The intern will assist in (day-to-day) public service activities, including greeting and assisting researchers, retrieving and shelving collections, and assisting university and community patrons with use of materials and equipment. The intern will also gain experience in organizing, describing and processing archival collections. This includes researching people or events covered by a collection, cleaning, arranging, boxing and creating finding aids.

Preference will be given to applicants currently enrolled in a graduate archival studies program, but consideration may be given for equivalent education and experience. The following skills are required:

  • Knowledge of contemporary archival practices, policies and procedures, including arrangement and description, and familiarity with DACS, MARC, LCSH and MPLP.
  • Demonstrated analytical and research skills.
  • Ability to work independently and exercise initiative, discretion and judgment.
  • Ability to work collegially and effectively in a team-based environment.

This is a 35 hour per week, part-time summer position to span seven weeks. The preferred start date is June 26, to coincide with the university’s second summer session. There are no benefits included with this position and the successful candidate will be expected to cover travel expenses to Houghton, Michigan. The intern will be compensated in the form of a $5,000 stipend to be paid out bi-weekly throughout the duration of employment. Offers of employment are contingent upon and not considered finalized until the required background check has been performed and the results received and assessed. Housing options in the Copper Country include independently requesting a single occupancy dorm room and included meal plan (depending on availability) or making off-campus housing arrangements. In addition to a great working environment you will enjoy exquisite scenery, moderate temperatures and outdoor activities near the shores of Lake Superior!

To learn more about us, please visit our website: http://www.mtu.edu/library/archives/

Applications are due by May 12, 2017. Direct any questions, or submit your cover letter and resume to:

Lindsay Hiltunen, University Archivist
Michigan Technological University Archives and Copper Country Historical Collections
Attn: Graduate Student Summer Intern Position
Van Pelt and Opie Library
1400 Townsend Drive
Houghton, MI 49931
copper@mtu.edu
(906) 487-2505

Michigan Technological University is an Equal Opportunity Educational Institution/Equal Opportunity Employer, which includes providing equal opportunity for protected veterans and individuals with disabilities.


Michigan Tech Archives Wins State History Award for “Black Voices in the Copper Country”

BlackVoices Blog Piece

The Historical Society of Michigan has named the Michigan Technological University Archives and Copper Country Historical Collections winner of its 2016 Special Programs/Events Award, for its “Black Voices in the Copper Country” project. “Black Voices” was recognized for its “dynamic series of programming, exhibits and social media campaigns relating to African American social history in the Copper Country.” The award will be presented at the historical society’s annual State History Conference in Alpena, Michigan, Sept. 23-25, 2016. The project team consisted of University Archivist, Lindsay Hiltunen, Project Researcher, Martin Hobmeier, and Graphic Designer, Mike Stockwell of Cranking Graphics.

University Archivist, Lindsay Hiltunen presenting the Black Voices project at the National Council on Public History Annual Conference in Baltimore, MD, March 2016.
University Archivist, Lindsay Hiltunen presenting the Black Voices project at the National Council on Public History Annual Conference in Baltimore, MD, March 2016.

The society presents the State History Awards every year to individuals and organizations that have made outstanding contributions to the appreciation, collection, preservation and/or promotion of state and local history. The awards are the highest recognition from the Historical Society of Michigan, the state’s official historical society and oldest cultural organization. There were 15 other awards in categories including a lifetime achievement award, distinguished volunteer service, books, magazine articles, media and restoration projects.

Project Researcher, Martin Hobmeier discussing the Black Voices project for TV6 news in May 2016.
Project Researcher, Martin Hobmeier discussing the Black Voices project for TV6 news in May 2016.

For more information about the award please visit the Michigan Tech News site.

For more information about “Black Voices in the Copper Country” or the Michigan Tech Archives, e-mail copper@mtu.edu or call (906) 487-2505. Find us on Twitter @mtuarchives.


Welcome To Our New Assistant Archivist

Our new team member, Emily Riippa, poses in the stacks at the end of her first week.
Our new team member, Emily Riippa, poses in the stacks at the end of her first week.

 

On behalf of the Michigan Technological University Archives and Copper Country Historical Collections, a department of Michigan Tech’s Van Pelt and Opie Library, we hope you will help us welcome the newest member of the team, Emily Riippa. Emily is our newest assistant archivist which is a one year term position to help us with special projects and various public services and outreach initiatives. Below, please take a moment to get to know Emily as she introduces herself in her own words.


My name is Emily Riippa, and I’m delighted to join the staff of the Michigan Technological University Archives and Copper Country Historical Collections as Assistant Archivist for the next year. I am twice a graduate of the University of Michigan, earning degrees in history (bachelor’s, 2014) and archives and records management (master’s, 2016).

You’ve heard the term “dream job,” and that’s exactly what working at the Michigan Tech Archives is for me. While I was born and raised downstate in Grand Rapids, my family’s roots in the area are very deep: my ancestors first arrived in the 1870s, and my parents grew up in Winona and Hancock. Little did they know what they had started when they brought me to visit the Keweenaw at three weeks old! I fell in love with the Copper Country and its remarkable history during annual childhood vacations, which prompted me to write my undergraduate honors thesis on women’s experiences in the region between 1880 and 1930. Last summer, I was an archives technician intern at Keweenaw National Historical Park, which I enjoyed tremendously. I have also worked part-time at the Bentley Historical Library and the Ada Historical Society in the Lower Peninsula for the past several years, learning more about how to keep history alive through our documents and artifacts.

When I’m not at work, you’ll find me engrossed in my own genealogical research, respectfully exploring local cemeteries and historic sites, enjoying a frigid swim in Lake Superior, biking around the Copper Country, or with my nose buried in a good book. I also intend to learn a little Finnish, a language of my heritage, while I’m here.

I’m thrilled to give back to this community I love in my new role and to experience my first Keweenaw winter. Please feel free to come by the archives and say hello. I hope you’ll find what we have to offer as exciting as I do.


Welcome aboard Emily! We are so happy to have you join our team at Michigan Tech!

For more information about the Michigan Tech Archives please call (906) 487-2505 or e-mail copper@mtu.edu. You can find us on Twitter: @mtuarchives


Welcome to Our New Archivist!

Our newest team member, Allison Neely, poses in the reading room on her first day.
Our new team member, Allison Neely, poses in the reading room on her first day.

 

On behalf of the Michigan Technological University Archives and Copper Country Historical Collections, a department of Michigan Tech’s Van Pelt and Opie Library, we hope you will help us welcome the newest member of the team, Allison Neely. Allison is our newest archivist and she will be responsible for various public services and behind-the-scenes projects. She will be an important part of our research support services and reference team as well as share responsibilities for the arrangement and description of recent manuscript acquisitions. We are very excited to have Allison on board. Below, please take a moment to get to know Allison as she introduces herself in her own words.


Hello! My name is Allison Neely and it is my pleasure to be the new archivist at the Michigan Technological University Archives and Copper Country Historical Collections. Having grown up in Minnesota and living in the Midwest most of my life, I’m excited to learn more about the Copper Country and Keweenaw region of Upper Michigan, particularly the people, places and events that make this part of the world so unique.

I found my way into the library and archives field mostly by accident, though in retrospect it seems almost inevitable. As an undergraduate history and film studies student at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities I worked in the main campus library as a library aide, fostering my love of learning. Following graduation I found myself taking a summer internship in the Steven Spielberg Film and Video Archive at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., a position that eventually rolled into a career-changing, year-long appointment. With the encouragement of USHMM staff I enrolled at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Library and Information Studies and received my MA with a specialization in archives and records management in 2008. I had the fortune of working for the next couple of years in some great archival institutions, including gigs at the Wisconsin Historical Society, the Wisconsin Center for Film and Theater Research, and the Minnesota Historical Society before making my way north to the Houghton/Hancock area.

I’m very excited to be making the Copper Country and Michigan Tech my home. When I’m not in the archive you might find me outside hiking, fishing and generally traversing the region with my husband; exploring the local food scene or trying a new recipe at home; or more than likely I’m in the gym catching a Zumba or yoga class. I hope you’ll feel free to stop by the department at any time to say hi and perhaps pursue a research project of your own using our collections.


Welcome aboard Allison! We are so happy to have you join us at Michigan Tech!

For more information about the Michigan Tech Archives please call (906) 487-2505 or e-mail copper@mtu.edu. You can find us on Twitter: @mtuarchives


Summer Intern Update

Our Friends of the Michigan Tech Library intern, Ryan Welle, has been a great asset during our busy summer season. Here is Ryan conducting some research into university reports from the 1890s to fulfill an important research request.
Our Friends of the Michigan Tech Library intern, Ryan Welle, has been a great asset during our busy summer season. Here is Ryan conducting some research into university reports from the 1890s to fulfill an important research request.

 

Thanks to the Friends of the Michigan Tech Library, we have been able to host a summer intern again this year. Ryan Welle has been a wonderful addition to the team and has been instrumental to summer research support services and collections processing. He’s been gaining experience in public service, collections support and research. If you wish to learn more about what Ryan has been up to so far, please read his update report below.

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It’s hard to believe that I am already on my third week here at the Michigan Technological University Archives and Copper Country Historical Collections. Time has been going by so fast, and I am really earning a lot of valuable experience. In the short time that I have been here, I have been able to help patrons at the reference desk, pull and re-shelve collections, learn how to navigate Archivists’ Toolkit, fulfill research requests, and work on processing a collection.

Some of the reference help that I have been able to provide is helping patrons with their genealogical research, by providing and assisting patrons with plat maps, the extensive employee records from the major copper mining firms in the area, Calumet and Hecla Mining Company, Quincy Mining Company, and Copper Range Mining Company, using the microfilm readers to look at newspapers from the late 1800s and early 1900s, and helping navigate HeritageQuest to find US Census records. I also enjoy the opportunity to use the state records collections that are housed here, particularly the naturalization records for Gogebic and Keweenaw counties.

I have also had the opportunity to gain valuable experience processing a collection when I am not at the reference desk. The collection that I am working on is the Carl Patterson papers, and it has been like a giant puzzle to find the main themes and put the pieces together. I am happy to say, however, that the picture is getting more and more clear every time I see it. The focus of the collection is quite different than what I anticipated at the start, but the focus turns out to be something that will add to the holdings in a very valuable way, which is a pleasant surprise.

On a more personal note, I would like to thank the rest of the staff for being so welcoming and answering all of the questions that I have. It truly is a pleasure to be in the archives. They have really been very kind and strive to make this experience great. I have even gotten some recommendations for things in the area to see and experience. I have taken some of the suggestions and have really been enjoying my time exploring the beautiful nature in the area. I have hiked on several different trails and found some of the waterfalls in the area to be spectacular. I especially enjoyed my trip to see the Hungarian Falls and had some great photo opportunities while I was there. I can not wait to see what other treasures I can find during my time here in the UP over the next couple weeks.


Welcome to Summer Intern Ryan Welle

RyanWelleBlogPhoto
Ryan Welle, our Friends of the Michigan Tech Library Intern for summer 2016, is already at home in the stacks. Ryan will be working with us on various projects and research support services until mid-August.

 

On behalf of the Michigan Technological University Archives and Copper Country Historical Collections, in partnership with the Friends of the Michigan Tech Library, we hope you will help us welcome our new intern for summer 2016. Ryan Welle was selected as the Friends of the Michigan Tech Library Intern after a competitive national call for applicants. While in Houghton, Ryan will be assisting with research support services and behind-the-scenes tours in the Michigan Tech Archives, particularly during the busy summer season. He will also be responsible for arrangement and description of a recent manuscript acquisition to the Michigan Tech Archives. We are very excited to have Ryan on board. Below, please take a moment to get to know Ryan as he introduces himself in his own words.

_____________________________________________

My name is Ryan Welle, and I am very grateful to have been selected as the Friends of the Michigan Tech Library Intern for the summer of 2016. A little about myself, coming from Minnesota I have always felt a connection to the Great Lakes region. I decided to pursue a life-long passion for history by graduating with a BA in History and Philosophy from Southwest Minnesota State University in Marshall, MN. While deciding what I wanted to do with that degree, I spent some time serving with AmeriCorps tutoring children in early literacy skills. I found that I also had a passion for helping others, and a close friend of mine suggested that I look into working for historical societies or museums. I decided to take them up on the offer and enrolled in the School of Library and Information Studies at the University of Wisconsin – Madison, where I recently graduated with a focus in archives and records management.

I am hoping that my time at Michigan Tech will allow me the opportunity to learn more of the history related to the Great Lakes, specifically the mining industry that established the Keweenaw Peninsula. I am also excited to gain valuable experience working in an archive while I am here. When I am not working, I can often be found on a hiking trail, on the lake, or touring historic landmarks. The landscape and natural beauty of the area is wonderful for all these activities and I hope to enjoy all that I can this summer. Feel free to stop by to say hello, and also use any of the wonderful collections that are housed at the Michigan Tech Archives.

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For more information on the Friends of the Michigan Tech Library Internship Program or to set up a time to say hello to our new intern, please call Lindsay Hiltunen at (906) 487-2505 or e-mail us at copper@mtu.edu. The Michigan Tech Archives can also be found on Twitter: @mtuarchives.


Student Assistant Update on Mine Memories Project – Part 2

Here is the second installment of our student assistant written blog entry about our Mine Memories Oral History Project.

Part two out of two:

 

After we figured out how we could best set up our interview space, we were able to start recording interviews. Of course, I was nervous, but at the same time I was excited to hear what our interviewees had to say about their experiences. Our first interview went smoothly, there were no interruptions and next to no unwanted sounds on the recording. Our first interviewee was a historian, so it was really very interesting hearing things from both his personal and historical perspective. Our next interviewee, who actually worked for a local mining company, provided a completely different point of view on the time.

 

We have interviewed seven people so far, and no two stories are the same. It has been an amazing journey, hearing all of these different perspectives on the same topic, and a topic that has had such a huge impact on the local region. Hearing people tell these stories is one thing, but to hear them and to realize how huge of an impact working in or around the mines has caused in their lives, is kind of mind blowing.

 

The other day I was walking down along the portage by the Portage Lake District Library, and saw a mural of what Houghton could have looked like back in the mining days. There were also depictions of one of the mines that I’ve heard so much about and an image of a possible housing situation for the miners. It was incredible to be able to point out what I’ve heard during the interviews and be capable to look at these images and tell some of the stories that I’ve been hearing. It has been an incredible opportunity to work on this project and with all of these wonderful people, I can’t wait to come back from my summer break and continue working on these interviews.

 

If you have any questions about this project, or if you would like to share your mine-related histories, please contact the Michigan Tech Archives at copper@mtu.edu or at 906-487-2505.

The Mine Memories project is funded in part by a Heritage Grant from the Keweenaw National Historical Park Advisory Commission.


Student Assistant Update on Mine Memories Project

This is the first of two articles written by one of our student assistants, Andrea Dubs, who is working with us on the Mine Memories Oral History Project as our Audio Technician. She is responsible for much of the recording that we do during our interviews and refining audio files for clarity.

 

Part one out of two:

 

I have been working with the Michigan Technological University Archives and Copper Country Historical Collections as a student assistant for a little over a month now, and I must say that it has been quite interesting. Even though I’ve only been here a short amount of time, I feel like I’m part of the family. Everyone is always smiling and has a happy greeting for you when you walk in. I am currently working as the audio technician on the Mine Memories Oral History Project.  This project is really very interesting, listening to people telling their stories and realizing that it is their history has had a huge impact on me.

 

When I first joined this project, I had no idea what to expect. I was in new territory but I was also prepared to learn new things. As the audio tech for this project, I had to first learn how to use the recorder that had been purchased. The recorder we are using is a Zoom H5. I watched several YouTube videos and skimmed through the user manual to work out the best ways to use the equipment in an interview setting. After learning how to use the recorder, I learned how to edit audio files in Audacity, a free open source audio editing software. To do this, I watched several tutorial videos.

Andrea Dubs,  editing audio files with Audacity
Andrea Dubs, editing audio files with Audacity

After familiarizing myself with the Zoom5 and Audacity, I started to think about how we would be using the recorder specifically in an interview setting. I worked out the optimal location for the recorder so that it could pick up the both  interviewee and interviewer voices. We started asking questions such as: how can we minimize the effects of people tapping on the table? How can we minimize drastic sound shifts caused by coughs or sneezes? How can we equalize voices that are speaking at very different volumes, so the audio recording is easier to listen to for researchers?

 

In order to answer these questions, Sawyer Newman (Communications and Research Assistant), a graduate student volunteer and I sat down to record several mock interviews. In these interviews, the interviewee and interviewer did different things that could occur during the actual interviews. For example, they did some table tapping and covered their mouths with their hands or spoke particularly loudly or softly.

The Archive's Zoom H5 Handy Recorder
The Archive’s Zoom H5 Handy Recorder

From these tests, we were able to determine the optimal location and input volumes for the recording equipment, which gave us a good idea about how much space we would need to conduct an interview. We also determined that we should use a muffler over the microphone, and place the recorder on a tissue box or stack of newspapers in order to minimize the effects of distracting sounds, such as tapping.

Stay tuned for the second installment, which will be posted later this week. 

If you have any questions about this project, or if you would like to share your mine-related histories, please contact the Michigan Tech Archives at copper@mtu.edu or at 906-487-2505.

The Mine Memories project is funded in part by a Heritage Grant from the Keweenaw National Historical Park Advisory Commission.