Tag Archives: Exhibits

Michigan Tech Archives Wins State History Award for “Black Voices in the Copper Country”

BlackVoices Blog Piece

The Historical Society of Michigan has named the Michigan Technological University Archives and Copper Country Historical Collections winner of its 2016 Special Programs/Events Award, for its “Black Voices in the Copper Country” project. “Black Voices” was recognized for its “dynamic series of programming, exhibits and social media campaigns relating to African American social history in the Copper Country.” The award will be presented at the historical society’s annual State History Conference in Alpena, Michigan, Sept. 23-25, 2016. The project team consisted of University Archivist, Lindsay Hiltunen, Project Researcher, Martin Hobmeier, and Graphic Designer, Mike Stockwell of Cranking Graphics.

University Archivist, Lindsay Hiltunen presenting the Black Voices project at the National Council on Public History Annual Conference in Baltimore, MD, March 2016.
University Archivist, Lindsay Hiltunen presenting the Black Voices project at the National Council on Public History Annual Conference in Baltimore, MD, March 2016.

The society presents the State History Awards every year to individuals and organizations that have made outstanding contributions to the appreciation, collection, preservation and/or promotion of state and local history. The awards are the highest recognition from the Historical Society of Michigan, the state’s official historical society and oldest cultural organization. There were 15 other awards in categories including a lifetime achievement award, distinguished volunteer service, books, magazine articles, media and restoration projects.

Project Researcher, Martin Hobmeier discussing the Black Voices project for TV6 news in May 2016.
Project Researcher, Martin Hobmeier discussing the Black Voices project for TV6 news in May 2016.

For more information about the award please visit the Michigan Tech News site.

For more information about “Black Voices in the Copper Country” or the Michigan Tech Archives, e-mail copper@mtu.edu or call (906) 487-2505. Find us on Twitter @mtuarchives.

Alumni Reunion Is Almost Here!

The Michigan Technological University Archives and Copper Country Historical Collections joins the rest of the Michigan Tech community as we get ready to welcome alumni and friends to campus for Alumni Reunion 2016! The Michigan Tech Archives invites all alumni and guests to catch a glimpse of the Michigan Tech experience through the years. We will have an exhibit about the student experience at Michigan Tech on the main floor of the Van Pelt and Opie Library. Afterwards, visitors are encouraged to come see us on the garden level of the library to view a campus history exhibit as well as yearbooks, photographs, newspapers and memorabilia.

The Michigan Tech Archives will be open Thursday, August 4 and Friday, August 5 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Behind-the-scenes tours will be available to individuals and small groups during the campus-wide open house on Friday, August 5 from 1:30-3:30 p.m. Tours last 20-30 minutes. Walk-in visitors are encouraged, but please feel free to make a tour appointment by calling (906) 487-2505 if you wish. We hope to see you visit us during Alumni Reunion! Welcome Huskies, one and all!

For more information about Alumni Reunion 2016 and other campus events during the campus-wide open house, please visit the reunion website.

Black Voices Online Exhibit Launches

BlackVoices Blog Piece

The Michigan Technological University Archives and Copper Country Historical Collections recently launched an online exhibit to showcase some of the findings from the Black Voices in the Copper Country project. The exhibit examines the African American experience in the Keweenaw, showcasing historic documents and photographs available for research use at the Michigan Tech Archives. The online exhibit, created by project director Lindsay Hiltunen and project researcher Martin Hobmeier, is intended to highlight materials that explore underrepresented individuals and narratives in Michigan history and serves to encourage researchers to consider more inclusivity when telling regional and state history. Information can be found about the early mining era, the student experience at Michigan Tech and the Richey family, who were prominent Houghton residents in the late 1800s. Although the exhibit features interpretive content, project staff were most interested in uncovering materials available at the archives so they could be better equipped to help future researchers wanting to explore the topic.

The exhibit launch is the final piece of the yearlong project, which included substantial archival research, public programming and exhibits. A social media campaign took place during the month of February in which the Center for Diversity and Inclusion at Michigan Tech partnered with project researchers to share historic images of black students and community members. Another project event was a photograph exhibit at the Carnegie Museum of the Keweenaw which was installed during Black History Month. These are just a few examples of programs and outreach that took place over the course of the project. The project was funded in part by the Michigan Humanities Council, an affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

To view the exhibit, please visit the following link: http://blackvoices.lib.mtu.edu/

For more information about the Black Voices project or the Michigan Tech Archives, please e-mail copper@mtu.edu or call (906) 487-2505. The Michigan Tech Archives is open to the public Monday-Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Walk-ins are welcome!

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.

Archives Premieres New Exhibit: “A Sense of Place”

The Michigan Tech Archives announces the opening of a new exhibit highlighting images from archival collections. “A Sense of Place,” is a photographic essay of the Michigan Tech campus, community life, and of the Copper Country. Historic images selected from the Archives’ collections create a story of the Keweenaw and its people from the earliest days of European settlement to the present. The photos are grouped into four themes: early life on the Keweenaw Peninsula; copper miners and the mines in which they labored; the changing face of the Michigan Tech campus; and the communities that are home to long-time residents and thousands of students through the years. The story told is one that gives the viewer a sense of the special character of the Copper Country, a place that so many people are proud to claim a connection to, no matter where they may live.

Funded in part by the Friends of the Van Pelt Library, the new exhibit was conceived as a tribute to Jonathon DeCleene, a student assistant in the Archives for many years. Although Jonathan’s life ended at a young age, it was his zest for life and adopted love of the Copper Country which shaped the themes of this exhibit. Additional financial support for the exhibit came from Jonathan’s family, Gloria Kennedy and Valerie DeCleene, and members of the Archives staff.

The exhibit is a permanent installation in the halls of the Library’s Garden Level, outside the Michigan Tech Archives’ reading room and can be viewed at any time during the Library’s open hours. Images were selected by the staff of the Michigan Tech Archives, caption text was written by Julia Blair, and graphic design for the exhibit was completed by Mike Stockwell of Cranking Graphics.

The content of this photograph exhibit is also available as the “Sense of Place” web exhibit on the archives’ website.

Update: Here are some photographs from the exhibit opening event on Thursday, February 4, 2010:


 Members of the public view the exhibited photographs near the entrance to the Michigan Tech Archives on the ground floor of the J.R. Van Pelt and Opie Library. 


From left to right: Mike Stockwell, exhibit graphic designer with Cranking Graphics, Ellen Seidel, interim library director, Julia Blair, assistant archivist and exhibit writer, Terry Reynolds and Dana Richter, Friends of the Van Pelt Library.


Erik Nordberg, university archivist, shares appreciation to the family of Jonathan DeCleene, members of the archives’ staff, and the Friends of the Van Pelt Library for their financial support of the exhibit.