Category Archives: Staff

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.

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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.


Summer Intern Farewell

The Archives public services team poses for a final photograph. The ladies stand in front of volumes from the historic state records collection. From left to right are Allyse Staehler, Airen Campbell-Olszewski, Alison Fukuchi, and Georgeann Jukuri.
The Archives public services team poses for a final photograph. The ladies stand in front of volumes from the historic state records collection. From left to right are Allyse Staehler, Airen Campbell-Olszewski, Alison Fukuchi, and Georgeann Jukuri.

 

We bid farewell to our intern this afternoon. Alison has shown herself to be a dedicated worker and a true asset to the archives. We will miss her, but we wish her well as she continues her graduate studies and moves on to the next step in her career! Please read on for her final intern update.

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This is my final blog entry, and while part of me wants to say the time has flown by, the truth is these last few weeks have been a bit more measured, as I’ve savored the time and become part of the rhythm of the archives. Although the first weeks were a flurry of new learning and meetings, a certain sense of calm has defined the end of my time here; confidence in my interactions with patrons, awareness of the needs of the reference staff, and determination to complete small processing projects has characterized this time. That is not to say that these haven’t been busy weeks!

Week 5 saw the advent of new challenges in the form of my first record entered into Archivists’ Toolkit for a small collection of family papers. The Coughlin and Gray Family Papers represent my first taste of realistic archival practice in that there were preservation concerns during processing as well as research needs in the compilation of the scope and contents note and biographical sketch. When composing biographical information for the finding aid, I read diary entries from the collection, learning much fascinating early history of Washington Harbor on Isle Royale in the process. To read the firsthand account of a child who spent two years on the island in the 1890s adds such a human element to the history; it’s made an indelible impression on my memory.

Week 6 was Alumni Reunion week at Michigan Technological University, and the Archives played a role as well. We opened early for three days and allowed access on Saturday; I have to say it was a very busy week for the reference staff! We had a visiting researcher from Norway looking into the first Norwegians who worked in the copper mining companies, which had us all working hard to find useful and relevant materials for her including employment records, biographical and photographical vertical files, church and community documents, and mining company ledgers, among many others. There was also an influx of visitors wanting to revisit memories from their time at Michigan Tech; many requested staff and faculty directories, individual photos, and Keweenawan yearbooks. I also processed another small collection, which was just as exciting and interesting as the first, but not as daunting. One aspect of this field that I absolutely love, is the fact that an archivist is constantly learning. We always come across new information about history, the community, and the world. That is truly exciting.

On the personal side, I have had some wonderful experiences here in the UP. Exploring nature was one of my goals, and last week I was able to get out to the North Woods Conservancy to do a bit of hiking around Conglomerate Falls, followed by some beach time at McLain State Park. Lake Superior is similar to Lake Michigan, but the beaches here have a different energy, more inscrutable and very wild. On a visit to The Orpheum in Hancock, I was fortunate to see blues musician Brian Waller perform which was incredibly fun. Local food and drink has also not disappointed; standouts include the Dark Side of the IPA at KBC and the veggie pasty at Roy’s.

Today is my last day, and there are few regrets. I truly believe I made the most of my time here, embracing the opportunities as they arose and focusing my energy on learning and absorbing everything possible in the archives. Of course, I will miss the friends I’ve made and there is so much more to learn, but I believe that is true of anything and everything in life. Any genuine passion will always reveal new challenges, new discoveries, and new truths; I’m fortunate to have found that passion in archival work and I cannot wait to see what history has in store for me!


Michigan Tech Archives Seeking Temporary Project Assistant

This photograph was taken at a barbershop in Calumet, Michigan by J.W. Nara (date unknown, but presumed early 1900s). It depicts three barbers standing ready and an African-American gentleman seated in the rear of the shop with a broom. The Michigan Tech Archives is currently seeking a project assistant to help us better understand  what collections we have that might shed light on his story and that of many others.
This photograph was taken at a barbershop in Calumet, Michigan by J.W. Nara (date unknown, but presumed early 1900s). It depicts three barbers standing ready and an African-American gentleman seated with a broom. The Michigan Tech Archives is currently seeking a project assistant to help us better understand what collections we have that might shed light on his story and that of many others.

 
The Michigan Technological University Archives and Copper Country Historical Collections is currently seeking applicants for a temporary Project Assistant position to begin in September 2015. This position is part of a grant-funded research project called “Black Voices in the Copper Country: Exploring Community and Michigan Tech Campus Life, 1870-Present.” The Michigan Tech Center for Diversity and Inclusion, the Carnegie Museum of the Keweenaw, and the Michigan Historical Center are partners on this project. This project is funded in part by the Michigan Humanities Council, an affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

The Project Assistant is responsible for researching archival collections, including manuscripts, census records, newspapers, photographs, and other materials to help document resources pertaining to African-Americans in the Copper Country. Secondary responsibilities include assisting with research planning, presenting in public forums, assisting with outreach, writing blog updates, and developing a historical narrative for a future online exhibit. Preference will be given to applicants with some college history coursework and demonstrated research experience.

Characteristic Duties and Responsibilities:

  1. Efficiently and effectively provides in-depth historical research using a broad range of primary and secondary sources.
  2. Assists with simple archival organization and descriptive work such as arranging historical papers in chronological order, re-foldering materials for preservation when necessary, creating indexes, drafting research guides, and shelving.
  3. Assists with planning and executing public programs and outreach to present findings.
  4. Performs other assigned duties as appropriate for a project assistant.

This is a 20 hour per week, temporary part-time position. This position will report to the Senior Archivist. The preferred start date is Monday, September 14 and the project ends in May 2016. There are no benefits included with this position. The Project Assistant will be compensated with an hourly wage of $10.00 per hour. To learn more about us, please visit our website: http://www.mtu.edu/library/archives/

E-mail applications are preferred and are due by August 21. Submit your cover letter and resume to:

Lindsay Hiltunen, Senior Archivist
Michigan Technological University Archives and Copper Country Historical Collections
Attn: Project Assistant 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.

MHC Publicity


Summer Intern Update

Our Friends of the Van Pelt Library Intern, Alison Fukuchi, has been a great asset during our busy summer season. She has learned the ropes of helping a wide variety of researchers and utilizing our various collections.
Our Friends of the Van Pelt Library Intern, Alison Fukuchi, has been a great asset during our busy summer season. She has learned the ropes of helping a wide variety of researchers and utilizing our various collections.

 

Thanks to the Friends of the Van Pelt Library, we have had the sincere pleasure of hosting a graduate intern this summer. Alison Fukuchi has been hard at work the past few weeks, gaining experience in public service, collections handling, and research. If you wish to learn more about what our intern has been working on, please read Alison’s update report below.

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I am in the middle of my fourth week interning at the Michigan Technological University Archives and Copper Country Historical Collections, and I am surprised at how time flies! During this relatively short period of time I have had a wealth of experience in many areas of archival practice. For the first two weeks, my focus was primarily on the reference desk and various services provided for researchers, as well as developing familiarity with locating resources using Archivists’ Toolkit and finding aids. I became acquainted with the most commonly requested materials for genealogical research, such as the extensive employment records for the Calumet and Hecla Mining Company, Quincy Mining Company, and Copper Range Mining Company. Furthermore, I had the opportunity to utilize the database HeritageQuest to assist patrons with locating census records, to work with original Sanborn-Perris fire insurance maps from the 1900s, and to handle a wide-variety of materials from the closed stacks.

On the technological side, I have been very fortunate to learn how to use digital micro-format readers as well as analog machines, and I now feel comfortable teaching this technology to patrons. In week 3, I had a brief overview of duplication services using our digital scanner with Adobe Photoshop, complete with a lesson in cataloging. Digitization is the next step, scheduled for week 5, which is an area I hope to become much more proficient in as it is greatly in-demand.

Behind the scenes, I have been able to work on my very own processing project involving a recent accession of commencement materials which will be added to MTU-027, Michigan Technological University Commencement Collection. The opportunity to get hands-on experience is extremely valuable and has taught me a lot about setting realistic goals and deadlines for project completion. Plus, I have had some interesting surprises! Earlier this week I uncovered several rolls of film negatives that had been edited and spliced using metal splices. Learning how to process such materials for longevity is one of the most fascinating areas of archival preservation.

Alison pulling some material from our state records collection.
Our intern pulling some material from the state records collection.

On a personal note, I am finding great enjoyment in the rich natural landscape around Houghton. Joining the Outdoor Adventure Program’s Paddle the Portage, I was able to kayak under the Portage Lake Lift Bridge, which was quite loud and rather exciting. Michigan Tech Trails and Recreational Forest has proven a haven of birdsong and solitude. The A.E. Seaman Mineral Museum’s exhibits really lent perspective to the mining history of the region, plus the fantastic displays seem more like science fiction then science fact. There was even a chance to socialize with area archivists during a dinner party overlooking the Portage.

Finally, my experience in the Van Pelt and Opie Library in general has set a very high bar for future work environments. Not only has the entire staff been helpful and friendly, they also offered me a very warm welcome. Last week, I had the good fortune to attend a routine library meeting that included dynamic, informative presentations from library staff on conferences they had attended. This institutional culture of support for professional development and collaboration has quite honestly blown me away. I certainly look forward to my final few weeks working with the exceptional staff here in the Michigan Tech Archives and the Van Pelt and Opie Library, confident that when I reflect back it will bring back fond memories of the professional engagement I’ve witnessed all around.


Welcome to Graduate Intern Alison Fukuchi

FullSizeRenderOn behalf of the Michigan Technological University Archives and Copper Country Historical Collections, in partnership with the Friends of the Van Pelt Library, we hope you will help us welcome our new graduate intern for summer 2015. Alison Fukuchi was selected as the Friends of the Van Pelt Library Graduate Intern after a competitive national call for applicants. While in Houghton, Alison will be assisting with public service and behind-the-scenes tours in the Michigan Tech Archives, particularly during the busy summer research season. She will also arrange and describe a recent acquisition of research and administrative files from a Michigan Tech faculty member who did extensive research on the health of Torch Lake. Other duties will involve arranging and describing several smaller acquisitions of various topics, including the creation of original finding aids. We are very excited to have Alison on board. Below, please take a moment to get to know Alison as she introduces herself in her own words.

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My name is Alison Fukuchi, and I am extremely fortunate to have been selected as the Friends of the Van Pelt Library Graduate Intern for summer 2015. It was a circuitous path that brought me to Michigan Tech and the archives profession; my first passion was for Japanese language and culture which led to a BA in Japanese Language and Literature from the University of Georgia. Eager to immerse myself in all things Japanese, I moved to Tokyo, Japan where I taught English as a Foreign Language for several years before pursuing an MA in Teaching English as a Second Language at Hawaii Pacific University. After five years of surf and sun in Hawaii, Chicago became my home while I advanced as an ESL educator. Despite enjoying career success as a teacher, I still found myself rather unfulfilled professionally. Extensive research (and many interesting, but slightly ridiculous personality and career quizzes) revealed an enthusiasm and aptitude for library work, especially the preservation and conservation practices common to the archival profession. Currently, I am attending the San Jose State University distance program in Information Science with a specialization in Management, Preservation, and Digitization of Cultural Heritage and Records.

During my time at Michigan Tech, I am excited to learn more about the rich history of the Copper Country while gaining practical experience in archival work. The beautiful natural landscape is certainly a bonus as I enjoy hiking, kayaking, and swimming along with the more sedate pursuits of reading and watching soccer (Go Barcelona!). If you are so inclined, come say hello and check out the wonderful collections housed in the Michigan Tech Archives.

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For more information on the Friends of the Van Pelt Library Graduate Internship pilot 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.


Michigan Tech Archives Seeking 2015 Summer Intern

Four archival student assistants look over historical documents in the Michigan Tech Archives Reading Room (2009).
Four archival student assistants look over historical documents in the Michigan Tech Archives (2009).

 

The Michigan Technological University Archives and Copper Country Historical Collections is currently seeking applicants for the Friends of the Van Pelt Library Graduate Internship for summer 2015. As a regional history manuscript collection and designated Keweenaw Heritage Site, the Michigan Tech Archives collects material documenting the Keweenaw Peninsula, Michigan’s Western Upper Peninsula, and the history of Michigan Tech.

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, LCSH, and AAT.
  • Demonstrated analytical and research skills.
  • Ability to work independently and exercise initiative, discretion, and judgment.
  • Ability to work collegially and effectively with others.
  • Knowledge of basic computing and software in the Microsoft Office Suite.

This is a 35 hour per week, part-time summer position to span seven weeks. The preferred start date is June 29, to coincide with the university’s second summer session, but a different June start date may be possible. 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 $2000 housing stipend and an hourly wage of $10.00 per hour. The housing stipend can be used for a single occupancy dorm room + meal plan or the intern can independently make their own off-campus housing arrangements. In addition to a great work 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 April 30, 2015. Direct any questions, or submit your cover letter and resume to:

Lindsay Hiltunen, Senior 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.


Michigan Tech Archives in the News

Senior Archivist Lindsay Hiltunen in the archives stacks, showing off a Quincy Mining Company employment card for Otto Hackmann.
Senior Archivist Lindsay Hiltunen in the archives stacks, showing off a Quincy Mining Company employment record for Otto Hackmann.

 

We are happy to share that the Michigan Technological University Archives and Copper Country Historical Collections made it onto the Michigan Tech News website this morning. Senior Archivist Lindsay Hiltunen recently gave an interview and behind-the-scenes tour in the archives for Michigan Tech student writer Monica Lester. The interview was filled with questions about the archiving process and the 30 minute tour went into the stacks to show off some of the more interesting collections housed on campus.

As a newly minted Keweenaw Heritage Site, a program in partnership with the National Park Service to interpret the region’s copper mining heritage, the staff members of the Michigan Tech Archives are happy to answer any questions that the university and local community might have about who we are and what we do. To see the full article about the archives please visit the Michigan Tech News website. If you want to visit us in the archives, please stop by during our normal business hours, Monday-Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. or get in touch with us at (906) 487-2505 or at copper@mtu.edu.