Category Archives: Staff

Not all the Archives’ treasures are collections

Even when you enjoy your work, as I do, it is refreshing to experience your profession anew through the eyes of an enthusiastic student in the discipline. Crystal Laudeman is such a person. A graduate of Northern Michigan’s history program, Crystal is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Library and Information Science from the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee, and is completing a graduate student internship at the Michigan Tech Archives.

Crystal’s internship is supported through a grant from NHPRC, part of a two-year project to develop catalog-level descriptions of all our collections. You can access these records as they are created through our library’s Voyager catalog, WorldCat, this blog, and the public web. Crystal has had the enviable job of actually getting to look into every box in the Archives and reporting on the physical condition of the archival material within.

She’s gotten a crash course in on-the-fly preservation assessment, a skill that will stand her well in her future profession. In addition to surveying the collections, Crystal has brought to our attention many of the hidden gems in the collection. You can read about some of her adventures in the Archives in past blog entries.

One of the things I will miss most when Crystal leaves us to continue her education are our philosophical debates on the theory and practice of the archival profession. The nexus of these elements is, on a day-to-day basis, a pragmatic approach that balances the twin goals of access and preservation. These two ideals, perfect preservation and total access, are really what drives an archives forward. It has been a real pleasure to have Crystal so actively contribute to our professional discourse.

We’ve been very fortunate to have Crystal’s enthusiasm and energy throughout the past six or so months. Although she is leaving us, she has become a part of the Michigan Tech Archives. The results of her work will benefit our patrons and staff for many years to come.

Crystal has somehow managed to survive these past months without her cats, Boomer and Cleo, but they forgive her and will let her make it up to them when she returns home.

Boomer and Cleo
Boomer and Cleo missed Crystal while she was gone, when they could fit it into a busy napping schedule.

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 or contact the Michigan Tech Archives at








Archives Exhibit Travels to Calumet

nara-42-142People, Place and Time: Michigan’s Copper Country Through the Lens of J.W. Nara, a traveling exhibit created by the Michigan Tech Archives, is currently hosted at the Calumet Public School Library, located within Calumet High School. The exhibit explores the life and times of Calumet photographer J.W. Nara and is open to the public through March 22, 2010 during the library’s regular hours.  

On Tuesday, March 9, the Friends of the Calumet Public School Library hosted a special event in conjunction with the exhibit installation. Erik Nordberg, University Archivist at Michigan Technological University, gave an illustrated presentation, “Michigan¹s Copper Country Through the Lens of J.W. Nara” featuring dozens of historical photographs of the Keweenaw.

John William Nara was born in Finland in 1874. He later immigrated to the United States and established a photographic studio in Calumet, Michigan, in the heart of America’s most productive copper mining region. In addition to posed studio portraits, J. W. Nara’s lens also captured the people, place, and time he experienced in Michigan’s Keweenaw Peninsula. Copper mining and industry are an important part of the story, but Nara also captured the Keweenaw’s rural landscape, including local farms, shorelines, lighthouses, and pastoral back roads.

The travelling exhibit, funded in part by descendants Robert and Ruth Nara of Bootjack Michigan, works from historical photographs held at the Michigan Tech Archives. Interpretive panels highlight the people, places, and times that J.W. Nara experienced during his lifetime and include material on urban life, farming, and the 1913 Michigan copper miners’ strike. A small exhibit catalog is available at no charge and includes three Nara photograph postcards from the collection.

The J.W. Nara exhibit will remain on display at the Calumet Public School Library March 19, 2010.  Future stops for the exhibit include the Beaumier Heritage Center at Northern Michigan University, the Houghton County Historical Society in Lake Linden, and the Keweenaw County Historical Society in Eagle Harbor.  More informaton about the exhibit is available here, including details on hosting the exhibit at your location.

Read about the Calumet installation on The Daily Mining Gazette website
Visit a web version of the J.W. Nara exhibit on the Michigan Tech Archives web page.
Here are some photographs from the exhibit installation in Calumet:














More than 75 people attended the public reception held Tuesday, March 9, 2010, which was sponsored by the Friends of the CLK Library.