Category Archives: Exhibits

Nara Exhibit on Display

Portage Lake District Library hosts J.W. Nara Photograph Exhibit

Michigan Tech Archives Nara Exhibit
Onni Nara with camera; Keweenaw Digital Archives Image #:Acc-05-097A-015

“People, Place and Time: Michigan’s Copper Country Through the Lens of J.W. Nara,” a traveling exhibit created by the Michigan Tech Archives, has moved to the Portage Lake District Library in Houghton, Michigan. The exhibit explores the life and times of Calumet photographer J.W. Nara and is open to the public through Dec. 16 during the library’s normal hours. The library is located on the Houghton waterfront, at 58 Huron Street, Houghton, MI 49931-2194.

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 traveling 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 exhibit will remain on display at the Portage Lake District Library through Monday, December 16. For more information on the installation, contact the library at 906-482-4570 or via e-mail at info@pldl.org. Additional information about the exhibit is available from the Michigan Tech Archives at 906-487-2505 or via e-mail at copper@mtu.edu.

Painesdale Hosts Labor History Exhibit

Company houses at Osceola location. The role that company-provided houses played in the 1913 Michigan Copper Strike will be the topic of a presentation at the Jeffers High School Library at 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday. Photograph courtesy of the Michigan Tech Archives, Image #MTU Neg 05670.

Labor and and management conflict in the Keweenaw Peninsula is explored through a traveling exhibit in Painesdale during the month of April. “Tumult and Tragedy: Michigan’s 1913-14 Copper Strike,” a traveling exhibit created by the Michigan Tech Archives, will be on display through May 1. The exhibit is hosted by the Sarah Sargent Paine Historical Research Center in the Jeffers High School Library in Painesdale.

A special open house will take place Wednesday, April 10.  Michigan Tech Archivist Erik Nordberg will present an illustrated talk entitled “Company Houses Along the Picket Line” exploring the role of company-owned houses in the 1913 strike. The event is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. and the exhibit will be open to visitors. Support for this event is provided by the Sarah Sargent Paine Historical Research Center.

On July 23, 1913, members of the Western Federation of Miners took to the streets over grievances about pay and working conditions. The strike was marked by violence and tragedy, including the deaths of more than 70 people, mainly children during a Christmas Eve party at Calumet’s Italian Hall. Local mining companies refused to recognize the union, however, and the strike finally ended in April 1914. The confrontation between organized labor and mining companies affected local residents from all walks of life, created headlines across the nation, and continues to resonate in Michigan’s Copper Country today.

The “Tumult and Tragedy” traveling exhibit consists of 12 panels and includes photographs, excerpts from newspapers, documents, and songs from the strike era. A free giveaway brochure contains links to related web content about the 1913-14 Michigan copper strike online here.

The exhibit was made possible through a $14,500 grant from the Michigan Humanities Council, an affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Additional funding was provided by Michigan Technological University, Cranking Graphics, and Dr. Robert and Ruth Nara.

For further information, contact the Michigan Tech Archives at copper@mtu.eduor 906-487-2505, or the Jeffers High School Library at 906-487-0599.

1913 Strike Exhibit in L’Anse

“Tumult and Tragedy: Michigan’s 1913-14 Copper Strike,” a traveling exhibit created by the Michigan Tech Archives, will be on display from March 4 to March 27 at the L’Anse Area School Public Library, located in L’Anse High School. The library will be open Monday-Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

A special open house will take place on Sunday, March 17. Jane Nordberg, managing editor for The Daily Mining Gazette, will present “Pulp and Propaganda: Newspapers in the Strike Era” at 1:00 p.m. The event and exhibit are free and open to the public.

The exhibit explores a turbulent period in Michigan’s historic copper mining district. On July 23, 1913, members of the Western Federation of Miners took to the streets over grievances about pay and working conditions. The strike was marked by violence, including the deaths of more than 70 people, mainly children during a Christmas Eve party at Calumet’s Italian Hall. Local mining companies refused to recognize the union, however, and the strike finally ended in April 1914. The conflict, sorrow, and tragedy of this confrontation between organized labor and mining companies affected local residents from all walks of life, created headlines across the nation, and continues to resonate in Michigan’s Copper Country today.

The “Tumult and Tragedy” traveling exhibit consists of 12 panels and includes photographs, excerpts from newspapers, documents, and songs from the strike era. A free giveaway brochure contains links to related web content about the 1913-14 Michigan copper strike online here.

The exhibit will remain on display at the L’Anse Area School Library Wednesday, March 27 and then tour to two other locations in Houghton and Baraga Counties.  The exhibit was made possible through a $14,500 grant from the Michigan Humanities Council, an affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Additional funding was provided by Michigan Technological University, Cranking Graphics, and Dr. Robert and Ruth Nara.

For further information, contact the Michigan Tech Archives at copper@mtu.edu or 906-487-2505, or the L’Anse Area School Public Library at 906-524-6213.

Exhibit and February 9 Event in Houghton Highlight 1913 Strike

Dr. Larry Lankton, professor emeritus from Michigan Technological University, will discuss “Mine Safety Issues in the 1913 Strike Era” during a special open house at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, February 9, in conjunction with a special exhibit at Houghton’s Carnegie Museum. The event is free and open to the public.

The exhibit, “Tumult and Tragedy: Michigan’s 1913-14 Copper Strike,” created by the Michigan Tech Archives, is currently on display through February 28 at the Carnegie Museum at the corner of Huron and Montezuma in downtown Houghton. The museum is open to the public Tuesday: 12 noon – 5:00 p.m., Thursday 12 noon – 5:00 p.m., and Saturday 12 noon – 4:00 p.m.

On July 23, 1913, members of the Western Federation of Miners took to the streets over grievances about pay and working conditions. The strike was marked by violence and tragedy, including the deaths of more than 70 people, mainly children during a Christmas Eve party at Calumet’s Italian Hall. Local mining companies refused to recognize the union, however, and the strike finally ended in April 1914. The confrontation between organized labor and mining companies affected local residents from all walks of life, created headlines across the nation, and continues to resonate in Michigan’s Copper Country today.

The “Tumult and Tragedy” traveling exhibit consists of 12 panels and includes photographs, excerpts from newspapers, documents, and songs from the strike era. A free giveaway brochure contains links to related web content about the 1913-14 Michigan copper strike online here.

The exhibit will remain on display at Houghton’s Carnegie Museum through Thursday, February 28 and then tour to three other locations in Houghton and Baraga Counties.  The exhibit was made possible through a $14,500 grant from the Michigan Humanities Council, an affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Additional funding was provided by Michigan Technological University, Cranking Graphics, and Dr. Robert and Ruth Nara.

For further information, contact the Michigan Tech Archives at copper@mtu.edu or 906-487-2505, or the Houghton Carnegie Museum at 906-482-7140.

Calumet Library Hosts Strike Exhibit

An exhibit exploring labor in Michigan’s historic copper mining district will visit the Calumet Public-School Library in January. “Tumult and Tragedy: Michigan’s 1913-14 Copper Strike,” a traveling exhibit created by the Michigan Tech Archives, will be on display from January 7 through February 1 during the library’s regular public hours.

A special open house will take place Tuesday, January 15.  Architectural historian Kim Hoagland will present an illustrated talk entitled “Seeberville 1913: Everyday Life in Violent Times” at 6:30 p.m. and the exhibit will be open to visitors. Support for this event is provided by the Friends of the Calumet Public Library.

The “Tumult and Tragedy” traveling exhibit consists of 12 panels and includes photographs, excerpts from newspapers, documents, and songs from the strike era. A free giveaway brochure contains links to related web content about the 1913-14 Michigan copper strike online here.

The exhibit will remain on display at the Calumet Library through Friday, February 1 and then tour to four other locations in Houghton and Baraga Counties.  The exhibit was made possible through a $14,500 grant from the Michigan Humanities Council, an affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Additional funding was provided by Michigan Technological University, Cranking Graphics, and Dr. Robert and Ruth Nara.

For further information, contact the Michigan Tech Archives at copper@mtu.edu or 906-487-2505, or the Calumet Public-School Library at 906-337-0311, extension 1107.

1913 Strike Exhibit Moves To Ontonagon

“Tumult and Tragedy: Michigan’s 1913-14 Copper Strike,” a traveling exhibit created by the Michigan Tech Archives, will be on display from December 1 through January 5 at the Ontonagon County Historical Society Museum at 422 River Street in Ontonagon, Michigan. The museum will be open Tuesday-Saturday, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

A special open house will take place on Saturday, December 1. Bruce Johanson will provide a presentation about “Ontonagon County and the 1913 Strike” at 1:00 p.m. and the exhibit will be opened to visitors.

The exhibit explores a turbulent period in Michigan’s historic copper mining district. On July 23, 1913, members of the Western Federation of Miners took to the streets over grievances about pay and working conditions. The strike was marked by violence, including the deaths of more than 70 people, mainly children during a Christmas Eve party at Calumet’s Italian Hall. Local mining companies refused to recognize the union, however, and the strike finally ended in April 1914. The conflict, sorrow, and tragedy of this confrontation between organized labor and mining companies affected local residents from all walks of life, created headlines across the nation, and continues to resonate in Michigan’s Copper Country today.

The “Tumult and Tragedy” traveling exhibit consists of 12 panels and includes photographs, excerpts from newspapers, documents, and songs from the strike era. A free giveaway brochure contains links to related web content about the 1913-14 Michigan copper strike online here.

The exhibit will remain on display at the Ontonagon Museum through Saturday, January 5 and then tour to five other locations in Houghton and Baraga Counties.  The exhibit was made possible through a $14,500 grant from the Michigan Humanities Council, an affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Additional funding was provided by Michigan Technological University, Cranking Graphics, and Dr. Robert and Ruth Nara.

For further information, contact the Michigan Tech Archives at copper@mtu.edu or 906-487-2505, or by contacting the Ontonagon County Historical Society at ochs@jamadots.com or 906-884-6165.

Archives Premiers New Exhibit About 1913 Strike

“Tumult and Tragedy: Michigan’s 1913-14 Copper Strike,” a traveling exhibit created by the Michigan Tech Archives, will premier at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, November 1, in the J. Robert Van Pelt and John and Ruanne Opie Library at Michigan Technological University in Houghton. Members of the exhibit project team will discuss the research and design process for the exhibit. The event is free, open to the public and refreshments will be served.

The exhibit was made possible through a $14,500 grant from the Michigan Humanities Council, an affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Additional funding was provided by Michigan Technological University, Cranking Graphics, and Dr. Robert and Ruth Nara.

“Tumult and Tragedy” explores the story of a remarkable period in Michigan’s history. The conflict, sorrow, and tragedy of this confrontation between organized labor and mining companies affected local residents from all walks of life, created headlines across the nation, and continues to resonate in Michigan’s Copper Country today.

Tensions boiled over on July 23, 1913, when members of the Western Federation of Miners took to the streets over grievances about pay and working conditions. The strike was marked by violence, including the deaths of more than 70 people, mainly children, during a Christmas Eve party at Calumet’s Italian Hall. Local mining companies refused to recognize the union, however, and the strike ended in April 1914.

The “Tumult and Tragedy” traveling exhibit consists of 12 panels exploring the context, community, conflict, and consequence of the events, and includes photographs, excerpts from newspapers, documents, and songs from the strike era. A free brochure contains links to related web content about the 1913-14 Michigan copper strike.

The exhibit will remain on display at Michigan Tech through November 30 during the library’s regular hours of operation.

In December, the exhibit will begin a tour of six libraries and museums in Houghton, Ontonagon and Baraga Counties. Special events at each host site will include presentations relating to the 1913-1914 Michigan Copper Strike.

For further information, contact the Michigan Tech Archives at copper@mtu.edu or 906-487-2505.

Tour and Special Events

November 1 –November 30
J. Robert Van Pelt and Opie Library
Michigan Technological University, Houghton
Special event: Thursday, November 1, 6:30 p.m.
Grand Opening with Comments by the Exhibit Project Team

December 1 – January 5
Ontonagon County Historical Museum, Ontonagon
Special event: Saturday, December 1, 1:00 p.m.
Bruce Johanson, “Ontonagon County and the 1913 Strike”

January 7 – February 1
Calumet Public-School Library, Calumet High School, Calumet
Special event: Tuesday, January 15, 6:30 p.m.
Kim Hoagland, “Seeberville 1913: Everyday Life in Violent Times”

February 2 – 28
Carnegie Museum, Downtown Houghton
Special event: Saturday, February 9, 1:00 p.m.
Larry Lankton, “Mine Safety Issues in the 1913 Strike Era”

March 4 – March 27
L’Anse Area School Public Library, L’Anse High School, L’Anse
Special event: Sunday, March 17, 1:00 p.m.
Jane Nordberg, “Pulp and Propaganda: Newspapers in the Strike Era”

April 8 – May 1
Sarah Sargent Paine Historical Research Center
Jeffers High School Library, Painesdale
Special event: Wednesday, April 10, 7:00 p.m.
Erik Nordberg, “Company Houses Along the Picket Line”

May 2 – June 1
Calumet Visitors Center, Keweenaw National Historical Park, Calumet
Special event: Thursday, May 23, 7:00 p.m.
Gary Kaunonen, “Interpreting the 1913 Michigan Copper Strike”

Exhibit Project Team

Erik Nordberg, Project Manager
Gary Kaunonen, Project Historian
Mike Stockwell, Project Designer

Narrative Committee

John P. Beck
Deirdre Erbisch
Larry Lankton
Jon G. LaSalle
Susan R. Martin
Michael Smith
Carla Strome
Sam Sweitz
Jo Urion

Click here to read an article about the opening by Kurt Hauglie in the November 2, 2012 edition of The Daily Mining Gazette.

Photos from the November 1 Grand Opening:

Project Manager- Erik Nordberg

Project Historian- Gary Kaunonen

Project Designer- Mike Stockwell

Narrative Committee

John P. Beck

Deirdre Erbisch

Larry Lankton

Jon G. LaSalle

Susan R. Martin

Michael Smith

Carla Strome

Sam Sweitz

Jo Urion

For further information, contact the

Project historian Gary Kaunonen

Michigan Tech Archives at copper@mtu.edu or 906-487-25

Project historian Gary Kaunonen

05.

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 copper@mtu.edu or call 906-487-2505.

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

Rockland Hosts Archives’ Photo Exhibit

Calumet photographer J.W. Nara documented everday life in the Copper Country, including camp scenes such as these. An exhibit of Nara's photography will be in place at the Rockland Museum from August 5 to September 14. Nara image number 42-093. Click image for further details.

The Rockland Township Historical Museum is currently hosting “People, Place and Time: Michigan’s Copper Country Through the Lens of J.W. Nara,” a traveling exhibit created by the Michigan Tech Archives. The exhibit will remain on display through September 14. The Rockland Museum is located at 40 National Avenue in Rockland and is open daily from 11:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

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 traveling 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 includes 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 exhibit will remain on display at the Rockland Museum through Friday, September 14. For more information on the exhibit, contact the Michigan Tech Archives at 906-487-2505 or via e-mail at copper@mtu.edu or the Rockland Museum at 906-886-2821 and rocklandmusem@chartermi.net

Nara Photograph Exhibit in Marquette

This photograph by J.W. Nara not only includes the Nara's son, William "Onni" Nara, but also one of J.W.'s cameras. Image Acc-05-097A-015 from the Nara Photograph Collection (click on image for additional information).

“People, Place and Time: Michigan’s Copper Country Through the Lens of J.W. Nara,” a traveling exhibit created by the Michigan Tech Archives, is on display through July 27 at the Peter White Public Library at 217 Front Street in Marquette, Michigan. The exhibit explores the life and times of Calumet photographer J.W. Nara and is open to the public during regular library hours

The public is invited to an illustrated lecture by Michigan Tech archivist, Erik Nordberg, about J.W. Nara’s work. The presentation features additional historic photographs and explores the themes depicted in Nara’s work. This event is scheduled for 3:00pm on Thursday, July 26, in the library’s community room. 

Born in Finland, J.W. Nara immigrated to the United States and established a photographic studio in Calumet in the heart of America’s most productive copper mining region in the early 1890s. Nara’s lens captured downtown Calumet at its zenith, the lives of underground workers in the mines, local residents socializing at weekend picnics, and events of the bitter 1913 copper miners’ strike. Nara’s lens also recorded the Keweenaw Peninsula’s rural landscape, providing some of the only photographs of farms and farm families during this era. As a commercial photographer, Nara took thousands of studio portraits – many purchased by immigrants to Michigan’s historic copper district and shipped to family and friends across the globe. 

The traveling exhibit, funded in part by descendants Robert and Ruth Nara of Bootjack Michigan, works from historical photographs held at the Michigan Tech Archives. A small exhibit catalog is available at no charge and includes three Nara photograph postcards from the collection.  

The exhibit will remain on display at the Peter White Public Library through July 27. For more information on the exhibit, contact the Library at 906-226-4318 or the Michigan Tech Archives at 906-487-2505 and via e-mail at copper@mtu.edu

We are thankful to Johanna Boyle and The Mining Journal for wonderful front page coverage of this installation. View Johanna’s story here.