Keweenaw Time Traveler Wins Historical Society of Michigan Best Website Award

The Keweenaw Time Traveler won the Historical Society of Michigan (HSM) 2023 State History Award in the category of Websites. This prestigious award recognizes the hard work of the team led by Don LaFreniere, Sarah Scarlett, and John Arnold. The internet has transformed the world of historical research. The Keweenaw Time Traveler uses spatial data infrastructure to create a website that allows researchers to access detailed information through a “deep map” with layers of historical data and maps. It is also interactive, allowing professionals and amateurs alike to contribute data to the site. The digital archive covers Michigan’s “Copper Country” from 1880 to 1970 and will continue to grow in the future.

Don Lafreniere
Don Lafreniere

“There is so much that goes into a project of this scale and the fact we have been recognized by the Historical Society of Michigan is a testment to every contributor,” said Don Lafreniere, Social Sciences Department chair, professor of geography and GIS, and director of the Geospatial Research Facility. “Our current project team members and our time traveler alumni have contributed thousands of hours in the collection, digitizing and linking historical records that make up our massive database as well as the digitization and referencing of the hundreds of historic maps present on the Keweenaw Time Traveler.”

Sarah Scarlett
Photo: Keweenaw Time Traveler

Lafreniere is thankful for the generous support of project funders including the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Council of Library and Information Resources, as well as support from the Geospatial Research Facility and the Great Lakes Research Center at Michigan Technological University. “Of course, none of this would be possible without our heritage partners and the thousands of individuals who use the Keweenaw Time Traveler to explore and share memories of our Copper Country past. I thank them so much for their support!”

The Keweenaw Time Traveler team will be recognized during the 149th Annual Meeting and Michigan History Conference on September 22-24, 2023. 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 presented by HSM, the state’s official historical society and oldest cultural organization. 

The Historical Society of Michigan is the state’s oldest cultural organization, founded in 1828. A nongovernmental nonprofit, the Society focuses on publications, conferences, education, awards and recognition programming, and support for local history organizations to preserve and promote Michigan’s rich history.