Category Archives: About the Archives

This category is used for posts that talk more about the people, services, and operation of the archives as a department.

Archives Exhibit Visits Calumet All-School Reunion

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 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 during the library’s regular hours.   The installation is intended to coincide with the 2011 All School Reunion planned for Calumet High School and Sacred Heart High School.

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 travel to Copper Harbor at the end of July and remain on display there through Labor Day weekend.  More informaton about the exhibit is available here, including details on hosting the exhibit at your location.


Kicking and Screaming Into the 21st Century: Transforming Legacy Data

In April, Julie Blair and Beth Russell from the Michigan Tech Archives attended the Society of Indiana Archivists annual meeting in Indianapolis.  The two presented a session about the current grant the Archives is working on, an NHPRC funded “basic” grant to improve collection description and access, especially pertinent for a geographically remote location like Michigan’s Keweenaw Peninsula.  As the Assistant Archivist at Michigan Tech, Julie Blair discussed the grant application process and the software evaluation, especially the decisions made prior to the hire of the project cataloging archivist.  She described the lessons learned from the process and forecast the path forward.  As the Project Cataloging Archivist, Beth Russell outlined the challenges of transforming legacy data in multiple formats into DACS compliant records and creating MARC records for dissemination through OCLC’s WorldCat and Michigan Tech’s WebVoyage OPAC.  She also talked about problems encountered with the software and the challenges of changing software in the middle of a grant project.

A link on the Society of Indiana Archivists’ website includes their  PowerPoint presentation.  Click the link to “Kicking and Screaming Into the 21st Century: Transforming Legacy Data” to check out their presentation. Any questions or comments, contact either Julie, Beth, or the Archives.


Exhibit: Made in the Copper Country

C. M. Bailey exhibits one of the wooden rolling pins made in the Shepperd Parrish plant at Ewen, October 23, 1953. Photograph courtesy Michigan Tech Archives, Daily Mining Gazette Collection.

A new exhibit of photographs in the reading room of the Michigan Tech Archives highlights the many products and types of produce which have been “Made in the Copper Country.”   

Some photographs capture expected items from the region’s historic industrial base, like the thousands of copper ingots lining the Houghton shoreline and copper wire produced at a mill in Dollar Bay. The timber and wood products industry is also represented in photos of the Gregoryville sawmill near Lake Linden, samples of the work of the Ripley Bowling Pin Company, as well as rolling pins manufactured in Ontonagon County. 

The Copper Country has also been a significant producer of food products, a topic represented throughout the exhibit. Vollwerth sausages and Hancock’s Star Bakery are both included, as are the raw materials grown in the local area such as fish, eggs, strawberries, and maple syrup

The historical photographs are also augmented with displays of some tools underground miners used to produce copper. Local collector and historian Bill Haller has assembled an informative display of miners’ lamps and artifacts relating to the use of explosives in area mines. Objects on loan from Allan Johnson and the Quincy Mine Hoist Association help to tell these important stories. 

In addition to the physical exhibit in the Archives’ reading room, many more images documenting the people and places of Michigan’s historic Copper Country are available online at the Keweenaw Digital Archives.  Photographs may be reviewed from any web browser and visitors are encouraged to add online comments about each image. 

The exhibit will remain in place through Labor Day and is accessible during the Archives normal hours for public research.  For further information contact the MTU Archives at (906) 487-2505 or via e-mail at copper@mtu.edu


June 30-July 1, 2011 – SAA EAD Workshop, Houghton, Michigan

SAA Encoded Archival Description workshop in Michigan’s beautiful Keweenaw Peninsula

Join us during the peak of the summer in beautiful Houghton, Michigan. The Michigan Technological University Archives and the Society of American Archivists invite you to learn EAD.  Develop new skills or refresh your knowledge while enjoying a stay in the Upper Peninsula, called “the Midwest’s preferred vacation spot” by Smithsonian Magazine in May 2011.  Waterfalls, wilderness, and pristine beaches await!

The workshop is scheduled for Thursday, June 30, and Friday, July 1, 2011, and leads directly into the extended Independence Day holiday weekend.

Here’s your chance to receive the instruction and hands-on practice you need to bridge the digital divide. Get acquainted with the language of XML and practice with XML authoring software. This 2-day workshop, led by SAA instructors Michael J. Fox and Kris Kiesling, covers the latest EAD version!

Upon completing this workshop, you will have:

  • Received an overview of Extensible Markup Language (XML);
  • Examined the structure of EAD (the SAA endorsed standard for archival finding aids);
  • Marked up a finding aid;
  • Explored style sheets and implementation strategies; and
  • Practiced encoding your own finding aid using EAD.

Who should attend? Archivists and others who are charged with exploring and/or implementing EAD at their institution or who want to enhance their résumé with this important training.

What is the cost to attend? Early bird registration before June 1 is $325 for SAA members and $405 for nonmembers. Further information about fees and registration is available on the Society of American Archivists web site at  www.archivists.org

Where will participants stay? Although housing is not included in the workshop registration fees, a variety of housing options are available for participants including hotels and motels, some on-campus accommodations, as well as area campgrounds and cabins. Attendees should consider early booking of lodging for this holiday weekend.

Where will this happen? The workshop will utilize a fully equipped instruction room at the J.R. Van Pelt and Opie Library on the Michigan Technological University campus.

For more information, contact the Michigan Tech Archives online at www.lib.mtu.edu/mtuarchives or 906-487-2505/copper@mtu.edu


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


Archives Seeks Summer Grad Student Intern

The Michigan Technological University Archives and Copper Country Historical Collections seeks a graduate student intern for Summer 2011. As a regional history manuscript collection, the Michigan Tech Archives collects material which documents the history of the Keweenaw Peninsula in Michigan’s Western Upper Peninsula, including its historic copper mining industry.

The intern selected will receive substantive experience in both public service and collections handling activities. The intern will assist in day-to-day public service activities, including greeting and assisting researchers, retrieving and shelving historical records, and assisting university and community patrons with use and duplication of materials. The intern will also gain experience in organizing, describing, and processing archival collections. S/he will apply theories of appraisal, organization, and description to working manuscript collections. This includes researching people or events covered by a collection, sorting, cleaning, arranging, boxing, and creating a full finding aid complete with appropriate index terms.

Requirements:

  • Enrolled in a Master’s Degree program in Library & Information Science specializing in archival studies.
  • 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 summer position from June 15 to September 2, 2011, although the start and end dates are flexible. The intern will be expected to work 40 hours per week and will be paid at the rate of $10.00 per hour. There are no benefits included with this position and the successful candidate will be expected to cover his or her own travel expenses to Houghton, Michigan. Although housing is not provided, Michigan Tech may have dormitory housing available at an affordable rate. Enjoy exquisite scenery, moderate temperatures, and many different outdoor activities!

To submit an application for this position please mail, fax, or e-mail a cover letter and current resume to:

Michigan Technological University Archives
Van Pelt and Opie Library
Attn: Graduate Student Summer Intern Position
1400 Townsend Drive
Houghton, MI 49931
copper@mtu.edu
tel: 906-487-2505
fax: 906-487-2357

Review of applications will begin on May 27.

Michigan Technological University is an Equal Opportunity Educational Institution/Equal Opportunity Employer.


Local Students Selected for National History Day Finals

National History DayA number of students from the Western Upper Peninsula were selected as national finalists at the Michigan History Day state finals held April 30 at Grand Valley State University.

These students participated in the local District 1 competition held February 26 in Houghton, which was sponsored by 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.    

National finalists now have the opportunity to compete in the national competition to be held in June 12-16 in College Park, Maryland.  Alternates will be invited if any of the finalists in their division and category are unable to participate.

The list of National Finalists includes:

Group Documentary Category
Copper Strike of 1913
Dinah Bekkala, Kaylee Hanson, Brook Harter
Hometown: Calumet, Hancock, Hancock
School: Hancock High School

Group Performance Category
The Diary of Fashion
Katelyn Anderson, Kelsey Bekkala, Kristen Berg
Hometown: Hancock, Calumet, Hancock
School: Hancock Central High School

Individual Website Category
The Formation of the United Nations: Diplomacy Around the World
Aaron Posega
Hometown: Hancock
School: Hancock Central High School

The list of Altnerntes includes:

Individual Documentary Category
Detroit Burning: The 12th Street Riot
Mariah Hallstrom
Hometown: Hancock
School: Hancock Central High School

Individual Exhibit Category
The Boundary Question: A Simple Debate That Caused the Toledo War
Cassie Simula
Hometown: Hancock
School: Hancock Central High School

In addition, a special award for “Best Entry in Use of Oral History” was presented in the Senior Division for the exhibit “How Far Is Too Far? Josef Mengele’s Debatable Experiments on the Twins of Auschwitz,” by Erica LeClaire of Dollar Bay-Tamarack City High School.

Congratulations to all of the students who participated in both the district and state competitions. And good luck to those moving on to the national competition!


Museum Exhibit Planning Workshop May 14, 2011

The Michigan Tech Archives continues to serve as coordinating agency for the Northland Historical Consortium, and is pleased to announce that the Consortium and the Heritage Sites of Keweenaw National Historical Park will convene a joint spring 2011 meeting on Saturday, May 14, 2011, in Houghton. The meeting will feature a day-long workshop entitled “Interpretation and Exhibit Planning for Small Heritage Organizations” in Ballroom A of the Memorial Union Building on the campus of Michigan Technological University. The event will begin at 7:30 a.m. Central/8:30 a.m. Eastern, will run until 3:30 p.m. Central/4:30 p.m. Eastern, and will include lunch.

The workshop is specifically designed for small and medium-sized museums, and includes sections on developing institutional interpretive goals and constructing exhibitions for small museums with limited budgets. Participants will receive instruction on how to identify interpretive themes based on their museum’s location and collections, and how to select artifacts and write text for effective exhibits. Although the workshop is primarily designed for volunteers and staff at museums, members of the public are welcome to register for the event.

The workshop will be presented by Daniel Truckey, director and curator for the Beaumier Heritage Center at Northern Michigan University. Dan has over two decades of experience working in the museum and heritage field, is past vice president for programs with the Michigan Museums Association, and has worked in museums in Michigan, Iowa, and Connecticut.

The fee for this day-long workship will be $20.00 per person and will include lunch.   Pre-registration is required by Monday, May 9.

Copies of the program and registration form are available here.

The Northland Consortium is an informal association of local historical societies, archives and historians in Northeastern Wisconsin and Michigan’s Central and Western Upper Peninsula.  The Keweenaw Heritage Sites include museums and historic sites affiliated with Keweenaw National Historical Park. For further information on the event, or to register to attend, contact Erik Nordberg or Julie Blair at the MTU Archives 906-487-2505 or via e-mail at copper@mtu.edu


Visiting Scholar Speaks on the Black Campus Movement, 1965-1973

The Michigan Tech Archives invites students, faculty and staff to join us for a Lunch and Learn on March 22, from noon to 1 p.m. at the Memorial Union Ballroom B-3. Visiting scholar and Archives Travel Grant recipient Ibram H. Rogers will give a talk on “The Black Campus Movement and the Racial Reformation of Higher Education.” Cookies and beverages will be provided. Attendees are invited to bring their lunch.

The Black Campus Movement began about 1965 and ended by 1973. During that time, black college students, sometimes aided by white and Latino students, protested for a relevant learning experience. At traditionally white and historically black colleges and universities, black campus activists formed the nation’s first progressive black student unions and gained control of some student government associations. They utilized these pressure groups to advocate for a range of campus reforms, including an end to campus paternalism and racism, the addition of more black students and faculty, and Black Studies courses and programs. Their ultimate aim was to diversify and thus transform higher education. This presentation will provide an overview of the movement, which challenged the racial confines of upwards of 1,000 colleges and universities in 48 states, including Michigan Tech.

Ibram H. Rogers is a post-doctoral fellow at the Rutgers Center for Historical Analysis in New Brunswick, New Jersey. He is on leave as an assistant professor of African American history at SUNY College at Oneonta. He earned his doctorate in African American Studies from Temple University. Rogers has published seven journal articles on the black campus movement and black power. He is currently working on his first book, tentatively titled, The Black Campus Movement: A Historical Analysis of the Struggle to Diversity Higher Education, 1965-1972, which will be published by Palgrave MacMillan.

Rogers’ talk is sponsored by the Michigan Tech Archives and the Friends of the Van Pelt Library. Since 1998, the Michigan Tech Archives Travel Grant has helped scholars advance their research by supporting travel to the manuscript collections at the Archives. The program is intended to encourage research using the Archives’ lesser known collections or promote new methodological approaches to well-known collections. From this year’s competitive field of applicants, the grant committee selected three scholars whose research typifies the spirit of the grant program. They join the ranks of twenty-six past recipients in this most recent round of awards.

For information about the March 22nd Lunch and Learn, the Michigan Tech Archives, or its collections, email us at copper@mtu.edu, call us at 906-487-2505, or visit us on the web at http://www.lib.mtu.edu/mtuarchives/.


Nara Exhibit at Houghton High School Library

A streetcar from the Houghton County Traction Company crossing the former swing bridge across Portage Lake. J.W. Nara image 42-101, Michigan Tech Archives.

The library at Houghton High School is the latest venue to host “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 explores the life and times of Calumet photographer J.W. Nara and is open to the public through March 18, 2011 during the library’s normal hours, Monday-Friday 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 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. 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. 

For more information on the exhibit, contact the Michigan Tech Archives at 906-487-2505 or via e-mail at copper@mtu.edu