Houghton Carnegie Museum Hosts Nara Exhibit

Warmer weather has more people out and about looking for places to visit. Why not plan a stop in Houghton and learn a bit more about Copper Country history?

“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 Carnegie Museum at the corner of Huron and Montezuma Streets in Houghton, Michigan. The exhibit explores the life and times of Calumet photographer J.W. Nara and will be open to the public through July 5, 2011 during the museum’s normal hours:  Tuesdays 12:00 to 5:00 p.m. ,  Thursdays 12:00 to 5:00 p.m., and Saturdays 12:00 to 4:00 p.m.

The museum will host a public program at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, June 7 in conjunction with the exhibit installation. Erik Nordberg, University Archivist at Michigan Technological University, will give an illustrated presentation, “Michigan’s 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 traveling exhibit, funded in part by descendants Robert and Ruth Nara of Bootjack Michigan, works from historical photographs held at the Michigan Tech Archives. Robert and Ruth will be attending the reception.  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 Carnegie Museum through Tuesday, July 5. 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 Carnegie Museum at 906-482-7140 / history@cityofhoughton.com