As a folk singer/songwriter in his spare time, Dan Truckey (Beaumier Upper Peninsula Heritage Center) would probably agree that the most poignant lyrics are those that reflect personal experiences, observations and emotions. So one phrase he wouldn’t likely pen himself – even if Sam Cooke hadn’t already beat him to it – is that opening line of Wonderful World: “Don’t know much about history.”
Truckey knows more than most people about history; in fact, the NMU alumnus has turned it into a career. He was hired in July 2007 as director of the U.P. Heritage Center.
Located in Gries Hall, the center seeks to cover the unique ethnic, cultural, religious, industrial and educational heritage of the Upper Peninsula. It’s a daunting challenge, but one Truckey eagerly embraces.
“We have an opportunity to present historical elements that haven’t been told yet or explored as far in depth as they could be,” he said. “I envision the center as a gallery, repository and public gathering space that also offers educational programs and professional development opportunities. Community outreach will be an essential component. I’ve been asked, ‘Does the U.P. really need another museum?’ The center will not attempt to supersede county historical societies and other facilities, but it will complement them through its broader mission.”
Dan grew up in both the Lower and Upper Peninsula and enrolled in Northern’s political science program in the late '80s with the goal of becoming a lawyer, but found the history of politics—not the process itself—most appealing. “That’s when I began to gravitate toward history as a major. My parents had instilled in me a love of history at a young age with trips to Washington, D.C., and southern battlefields. They also shared a lot of family legacies. I was interested in international and cultural history as a student. It wasn’t until I started working that I came to appreciate local and regional history.”
Before returning to his alma mater, Truckey served as executive director of the Grand Traverse Heritage Center in Traverse City. Previous employers included the Sioux City Public Museum in Iowa, Noah Webster House, the Connecticut Historical Society and the former Catskills Entertainment Hall of Fame.
Music is not his only spare-time pursuit. Truckey also enjoys downhill skiing, biking, hiking, playing tennis and spending time with his wife, Leigh Barry ('90)—whom he met at NMU—and their two kids, Thomas and Josie.
“It’s fantastic being back in Marquette,” he said. “There’s so much energy on a university campus and there’s a soft spot in my heart for NMU. Four of my siblings, both parents and a grandmother all graduated from here. … Starting a museum dedicated to the U.P. has been a dream of mine. And with my family’s connection to the region and to Northern, it couldn’t be more perfect.”
Hi, my name is Nick Dimond! I work back in collections at the Beaumier U.P. Heritage center. I am a history major with a public history minor. I spent a lot of time in museums as a kid, and that passion has really followed me through to this day. Some of my other interests include reading, hiking, crochet and cooking.
I’m currently pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree with a major in Graphic Design. This is my fourth semester at NMU since transferring here last fall from a community college in Petoskey MI. I’m currently the secretary for the Turning Point USA chapter on campus and involved with NMU’s Cru (Campus Crusade for Christ). Outside of school I have a passion of history, reading, drawing and riding my horse with my family. I look forward to continuing the work of the website to give students and the community a resource to better know the area and the university!
Nathan Sarasin is a sophomore pursuing a degree in History at NMU with a concentration in Global History. Raised in Marquette, Michigan, he enjoys many of the outdoor activities around the area such as skiing and hiking, though he becomes less enthusiastic about winter every year. In his free time, Nathan enjoys spending time with friends, walking his dog, and reading.
Emily Varga is graduating in Winter of 2022 with a major in General Anthropology and a minor in Speech-Language and Hearing Sciences. From Macomb, Michigan, Emily has enjoyed visiting family ‘up north’ her entire life. Her love for northern Michigan and adventuring brought her to NMU to experience the UP and all it has to offer. As Vice President and Co-Founder of NMU Puzzle Club (PLUB), when she’s not in class, Emily likes to spend time with friends, do puzzles and craft, or go on a nice walk.
Ariana Zimney is a sophomore pursuing a career in Fisheries and Wildlife Management in hopes of someday working for the Wisconsin or Michigan DNR. Here at NMU, she enjoys being a part of Cru, an on-campus ministry. Outside of school, Ariana enjoys hiking, camping, biking, hunting, reading, and exploring. Originally from Two Rivers, Wisconsin, she enjoys the abundance of adventure the Marquette area has to offer.