Category Archives: Staff

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.


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.


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.


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

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:

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
(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

Beth Russell Leaves for Maine

Archivist Beth Russell has accepted a new position as Archivist and Special Collections Librarian at the University of Maine’s Raymond H. Fogler Library. Her last day at the Michigan Tech Archives will be July 11.

Beth originally came to work at the Michigan Tech Archives for a NHPRC grant funded project which involved creating MARC records for collection level cataloging of the Archive’s entire collection holdings. The project lasted two years, but Beth was able to transition into a full-time

Bon Voyage, Beth!

Archivist position in 2011.  Her experience with archival description and cataloging standards has helped improve access to the Archives’ manuscript collections.

Years of assisting patrons with research and working in an Archives that has a local history and University focus will serve Beth well in her new position. She hopes to model public history outreach endeavors to some of the Tech Archive’s past programs.

This is not the first time that Beth has lived in Maine, and she looks forward to returning to the beautiful coastal region. She plans on reconnecting with old friends and looks forward to once again being involved in recreational sailing and enjoying local seafood.

Come say your goodbyes at the Library’s farewell party next week, June 25, 2014 from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm on the Rovano Plaza. For more information, read our blog post!

We will miss you, Beth!

Archives Team Phoenix Competes in the Amazing Challenge

Team Phoenix
MTU Archives Team Phoenix-Dan Michelson, Airen Campbell-Olszewski, Rachael Bussert, and Julie Blair

A band of four merry archivists from the Michigan Tech Archives  competed in the Michigan Tech HuskyPaw Amazing Challenge on June 15. The competition, based on the CBS reality show, The Amazing Race, took teams through both physical and mental challenges in the Houghton and Hancock area. Some of this year’s challenges included scavenger hunts at the A.E. Seaman Mineral Museum and Bookworm, mini golf at Portage Lake Golf Course, and an obstacle course at the Michigan Tech Challenge Course. Archives staff trained extensively for the physical aspects of the event by lifting 20 lb boxes above their heads, climbing  ladders, and pushing heavy book carts. The team took sixth place out of the thirteen teams competing. Not too shabby.

Archives Welcomes Interim University Archivist

The staff jumps for joy!

The Archives is happy to welcome Julie Blair back as the Interim University Archivist, beginning on April 25, 2013.  Julie has had extensive experience with our archives from the public and technical services dimensions, has knowledge of and ties to the community and the departments most associated with the archives, andhas gained a great deal of knowledge about grant support and other financial matters.  As the chief author of the library and archives disaster recovery plans, she will provide leadership in wrapping up the recovery efforts.

We know that Julie and the Archives will do justice to the foundation established by Erik.

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 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

Exhibit Explores Michigan Tech History

A new exhibit in the reading room of the Michigan Tech Archives explores 125 years of history at Michigan Technological University. Documents and memorabilia make up the exhibit, showing how the University has grown and changed with time. The University’s unique culture can be seen in everything from a class catalogue from 1890 – when the University was still the Michigan Mining School and focused on training mining engineers – to a range of Winter Carnival promotional buttons. The exhibit was created by Archives’ student assistant Annette Perkowski.

The Michigan Tech Archives is open Monday through Friday from 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. and is located on the ground floor of Van Pelt and Opie Library. For further information e-mail or call 906-487-2505.

A sample of the memorabilia and documents included in the exhibit.