Category: Speakers and Presentations

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.


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


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/.


Workshop: Introduction to Archival Research

Ever wonder how to start a historical research project? Not sure where to find the right documents to answer your question? Unclear how a research archives operates?  Join Michigan Tech archivists Julie Blair and Erik Nordberg at 1:00 p.m. on Wednesday, December 1, for an introduction to archival research. The workshop will take place in Room 244 of the Van Pelt and Opie Library.

This session will provide a general overview of research using historical records. The workshop will include an introduction to historical research methods and attendees will learn how to locate, integrate, and cite archival material in their research. Presenters will discuss what is meant by phrases like “manuscript collection” and “primary source,” how to describe different types of archival sources, and learn about the similarities and important differences between archives, libraries, and museums.

Attendees will also learn how to use the Keweenaw Digital Archives to easily find historic images online, how to create an account, make a digital album, and add their own comments and observations to the photos. The session will draw upon numerous examples from the holdings of the Michigan Tech Archives, which collects historical material about Michigan Tech and the people, communities, and industries of the surrounding Copper Country.

This workshop will also be repeated at 1:00 p.m. on Tuesday, December 7, and is part of a weekly series of programs offered by the Van Pelt and Opie Library. For more information on the Library’s workshop series, visit their blog.


Nara Exhibit Travels to the Finnish American Heritage Center

An unknown man poses in "Finnish Hunter's Costume" at the J.W. Nara photographic studio. Image# Nara 42-264.

“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 Finnish American Heritage Center on the campus of Finlandia University in Hancock, Michigan. The exhibit explores the life and times of Calumet photographer J.W. Nara and will be open to the public through December 7 during the Center’s normal hours, Monday-Friday 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

On Wednesday, November 3, the Center will host a public program 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. The presentation is scheduled midday for 12:30pm in the Finnish American Heritage Center. 

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 Finnish American Heritage Center through Tuesday, December 7. For more information on the exhibit, contact the Michigan Tech Archives at 906-487-2505 or via e-mail at copper@mtu.edu


Matching the Care to the Place: Medical Provision in Mining Regions, 1900 to 1950

On Tuesday, September 14, at 7 p.m., the Michigan Tech Archives Speaker Series hosts visiting scholar Jennifer Gunn in Room 642 of the Dow Building on the Michigan Tech campus.

Gunn will present “Matching the Care to the Place: Medical Provision in Mining Regions, 1900 to 1950.” Mining, logging, and farming could mangle bodies and it took more than a wife to mend them. In the Copper Country, mining companies employed doctors, built hospitals, and taxed their workers to support that medical infrastructure.  On the Iron Range of Minnesota, however, a similar contract system was used to induce private doctors to take responsibility for creating hospitals and the public health in the remote rural areas. As mining and extractive industries declined, what were the remaining residents’ expectations of health and medicine? What arrangements emerged for health care in small towns and rural communities to replace the industrial-dominated medicine?

Interior view of the surgery room at the C&H Hospital, circa 1928.
Interior view of the surgery room at the C&H Hospital, circa 1928.

Jennifer Gunn is Associate Professor and Director of the Program in the History of Medicine at the University of Minnesota. She earned her Ph.D. in the History and Sociology of Science from the University of Pennsylvania., where her dissertation was on the history of graduate medical education in the United States. Her first publication was on industrial medicine. Currently working on a book on rural health and medicine in the Upper Midwest, 1900-1950, Professor Gunn’s interest in mining communities and rural health disparities in an urbanizing society is informed by her experience as a coal miner in Alabama.

Gunn’s presentation 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 a competitive field of applicants, the grant committee selected four scholars this year whose research typifies the spirit of the grant program. They join the ranks of twenty-two past recipients in this most recent round of awards.

For more information on the September 14th presentation, call the Michigan Tech Archives at 487-2505.

Update: Here is a photo from the event, with more than 40 in attendance:

gunn


Archives Features Talk & Book Signing by Local Author Gary Kaunonen

The Michigan Tech Archives hosts local author Gary Kaunonen for a presentation and book signing in the JR Van Pelt & Opie Library’s East Reading Room on Tuesday, August 17 at 4 p.m.

In his latest book, Challenge Accepted: a Finnish immigrant response to industrial America in Michigan’s Copper Country, published by Michigan State University Press, Kaunonen tells the story of the Finnish immigrant challenge to the historic social order. He explores their clash with Copper Country industrialists by examining the written record and material culture of the Finnish immigrant working class through analysis of buildings, cultural institutions, and publication of print media.

Challenge Accepted takes an in-depth look at the way a portion of the Finnish immigrant working class gambled the success of early organizational efforts by participating in the bitter and bloody 1913-14 copper miners’ strike. This nine-month struggle between organized labor and the mining companies culminated in the tragic events at Italian Hall. Kaunonen examines the events of the 1913-14 Strike and Italian Hall using often-overlooked proletarian Finnish immigrant sources.

Based in Hancock, the Tyomies Publishing Company rallied strikers and their families during the 1913-14 copper miners’ strike. Author Gary Kaunonen’s new book explores the politics and culture of the working class Finnish immigrants who made a stand against the mining companies. This image from the Keweenaw Digital Archives (#400-12-13-1988-01-08-04) was taken in February 1914 near the end of the Copper Country’s most violent labor strike.
Based in Hancock, the Tyomies Publishing Company rallied strikers and their families during the 1913-14 copper miners’ strike. Author Gary Kaunonen’s new book explores the politics and culture of the working class Finnish immigrants who made a stand against the mining companies. This image from the Keweenaw Digital Archives (#400-12-13-1988-01-08-04) was taken in February 1914 near the end of the Copper Country’s most violent labor strike.

Kaunonen suggests that the most noteworthy accomplishment of these Finnish immigrants in the Copper Country was that as a largely unskilled group of immigrant laborers, newspaper employees, and radical “hoboes,” they had a very considerable impact on the history of a place dominated by powerful mining companies and the men who ran those companies. This was truly remarkable, a challenge accepted by a proactive segment of the Finnish immigrant working class to have a say in their own working conditions. Embedded in this study of ethnic political-labor history is also a story of division and decline that ultimately fractured a working class movement dedicated to solidarity. This demise is significant when recounting the capabilities and vulnerabilities of the American labor movement in the early twentieth century.

Gary Kaunonen is a social and labor historian currently working on a PhD at Michigan Tech. He received a Master’s in Industrial History and Archaeology from Michigan Tech in 2007, and for a while worked as an archivist at the Finnish American Historical Archive at Finlandia. Kaunonen studies the history of the UP’s Finnish immigrant population, and the interaction between Finns and American industry. Both of his grandfathers worked in the iron mines of Minnesota’s Mesabi Iron Range, and Kaunonen himself charged blast furnaces and operated a bull-ladle before turning to academics. His first book, also published by Michigan State University Press, is called The Finns in Michigan.

Limited copies of Kaunonen’s latest book, Challenge Accepted, will be available to purchase at the August 17 event at the JR Van Pelt & Opie Library at Michigan Tech.

For more information, call the Archives at 487-2505.


Brown Bag Seminar with Industrial Historian Charles Hyde

Dr. Charles Hyde, professor of history at Wayne State University, will be the featured speaker at a brown bag seminar hosted by the Michigan Tech Archives and the Social Sciences department. The event is scheduled for 1 p.m. on Wednesday, August 4th in the Alumni Lounge of the Memorial Union Building.

Professor Hyde has done significant work in the field of industrial archeology, completing more than 70 projects involving the documentation of historic buildings or structures. His 1978 survey of industrial sites in the Upper Peninsula identified the significant material culture remains at the Quincy mine site. This encouraged a subsequent intensive survey of the site by Hyde and other historians, including current Michigan Tech professor Larry Lankton. Hyde and Lankton coauthored Old Reliable: An Illustrated History of the Quincy Mining Company in 1982 and Hyde went on to publish Copper For America: The United States Copper Industry from Colonial Times to the 1990s, a survey of the United States copper industry, in 1998.

Hyde’s publication and historical documentation efforts include significant work with Michigan’s automotive industry. These include studies of the Dodge Main, Chrysler Jefferson Avenue and Chrysler Highland Park assembly plants, scholarly articles on architect Albert Kahn’s work for the automobile industry, and book publications on Dodge, Chrysler, Nash, Hudson, and American Motors.

The informal seminar is open to the public and attendees are encouraged to bring their own lunch or refreshments. For further information contact Erik Nordberg in the Michigan Tech Archives at 906-487-2505 or enordber@mtu.edu


Upcoming Special Events

The Michigan Tech Archives has planning underway for the following events:

Tuesday, August 17, 4:00 p.m., East Reading Room, Van Pelt and Opie Library
Gary Kaunonen will present information from his new book Challenge Accepted: A Finnish Immigrant Response to Industrial America in Michigan’s Copper Country. The book draws upon work Kaunonen did in the Archives’ collections for his master’s degree in industrial archaeology. Further details about this event are available here.

Tuesday, September 14, 7:00pm (Room 642, Dow Environmental Sciences Building)
Jennifer Gunn, the fourth recipient of a 2010 research travel award, will provide a public presentation about her research which examines rural medicine practices in twentieth-century America.

Tuesday, September 28, 7:00 p.m.  (Room 642, Dow Environmental Sciences Building)
Dr. Valerie Bradley-Holliday will discuss research from her recently published book Northern Roots: African Descended Pioneers in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

More information about these events will be distributed when available. Contact the Michigan Tech Archives by telephone at 487-2505 or via e-mail at copper@mtu.edu.