Dan Truckey

Director/Curator

dtruckey@nmu.edu | 906-227-1219

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.”

The center’s exhibits include photo boards documenting the arrival of the early immigrant workforce and the ensuing struggle for labor rights in the mining and timber industries. Display cases contain glass bottles bearing the names of former U.P. breweries, along with preserved samples of Finnish cardamom bread and other traditional foods. Truckey is seeking alumni donations of artifacts and clothing for a future exhibit on student life at NMU through the years.

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.”

Image
Dan in front of the Beaumier Center

Student Assistants

Image

Emma Drever

Emma Drever

Gallery Assistant

Emma Drever (she/her) is a dual English and Spanish major from Forest Park, Illinois. This is her senior year. During her time at NMU, she has enjoyed campus involvement through the student government, where she is currently the president. She is also an SLFP space block and involved in the honors program. In her free time, she enjoys hiking and crochet. "As a third generation wildcat, I am excited to be a part of the Beaumier Center to understand my personal history and to share UP culture with more people" 

Image

Olivia Dunn

Olivia Dunn

Gallery Assistant

Olivia Dunn is a Junior pursuing a degree in International Studies with minors in French and Political Science. Olivia is very active on campus in her roles as Maple Hall President, Student Finance Committee Board Member, Student Leader Fellowship Program member and College of Arts and Sciences Representative for ASNMU. Outside of school, Olivia is an avid reader, hiker, musician and urban explorer. She loves having the opportunity to work at the Beaumier Center because she can be even more involved with the history of the campus that she loves so much. 

Image

Zoe Folsom

Zoe Folsom

Researcher/Writer, NMU & U.P. Website

Zoe Folsom is a researcher and writer for the Beaumier Center’s forthcoming website on the way NMU impacts the U.P. and vice versa. She conducts historical and archival research in addition to oral history interviews in order to learn more about the people connected to NMU and how they’ve changed and been changed by this region. She feels incredibly lucky to be able to collect so many wonderful peoples’ stories. Originally from the Kalamazoo area of Southwestern Michigan, Zoe is a senior majoring in sociology, with minors in English and psychology. She also works on campus as a tutor for NMU’s Writing Center. When she’s not in class, she loves to spend her time reading books and climbing rocks. 

 

Image

Charles Griffin

Charles Griffin

Museum Assistant

Charles Griffin is the Beaumier's museum assistant, dealing with new donations to the collection, as well as assisting with new exhibit installations.  He is a senior at NMU from the Detroit area, majoring in History with hopes to pursue a career in the museum industry.  When he's not working or studying he likes to walk the local trails of Marquette or crack open a book.  

Future Staff

Future Staff