April 22 through August 28, 2023

The Beaumier U.P. Heritage Center is proud to announce the opening of its new exhibition celebrating the work of one the U.P.’s strongest public art advocates. “Mary Biekkola Wright: A Retrospective, 1986-2011” will open on Saturday, April 22 at 12 p.m. in the Beaumier Center’s gallery in Gries Hall. The gallery is free and open to the public. The Center’s hours through May 6 will be Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Thursdays until 8 p.m. and Saturdays from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.  The Center’s summer hours will begin on May 9, and will be Tuesday through Saturday, 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. The Center is located at the corner of 7th St. and Tracy Ave. on the campus of Northern Michigan University.

Across the Upper Peninsula, there are arts advocates in each community. But there was only one Mary Biekkola Wright, who was an artist, activist and believer in the power of public art. Over three decades, Mary led dozens of towns and hundreds of individuals in projects that would transform their communities. Mary said, “It is my belief that all people have the capacity to be creative and that when people engage in the creative process in circumstances visible to the entire community with the resulting creation publicly displayed, the entire process has a power that is deeply moving, transformative in nature and incalculable in scope.”

This exhibition features some of the larger and best remembered projects but only represents a portion of the public art works she helped to instigate. The word instigate is appropriate because many of these projects would not have happened without her dogged determination to see them through. She arm-twisted and coerced unconvinced civic employees, reluctant artists and volunteers to give far more than anyone might expect to create something wonderful for the community. It is why today so many fondly remember their involvement with not only the projects but also working with Mary.

Mary was born Mary Frances Biekkola in L’Anse on January 25, 1941. She graduated from L’Anse High School in 1959 as Class President and after graduation, attended the College of St. Scholastica, University of Wisconsin, Madison and Northern Michigan University where she received a teaching degree and two Master’s Degrees. Mary was a teacher and principal in various communities, living as a nomad, from a log cabin in Trenary, then Marquette, Hancock, and back to L’Anse. It was during the years as an educator she led the charge for community art projects that she saw not only invigorated physical spaces but the people as well. It was for this reason that she was awarded the Governor’s Prize in 1999 for her contributions to art and the State of Michigan.

Mary passed away on November 15, 2021 at Bayside Village in L’Anse. But her legacy continues on through not only these physical works but the memories she created for so many people and the Upper Peninsula heritage she helped to preserve and bring to light.

To celebrate a season of fun in the snow, the Beaumier U.P. Heritage Center announces the opening of its new exhibition, “It’s All Downhill: Alpine Skiing in the U.P.” This fun, multi-media exhibition will open on Saturday, January 21 at 12 p.m. It will be on display until April 1 and is free and open to the public. The Beaumier Center is located in Gries Hall at the corner of 7th St. and Tracy Ave. on the campus of NMU. The Center’s hours are Monday through Wednesday and Fridays, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Thursdays, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.; and Saturdays, 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.

“It’s All Downhill” focuses on the Alpine ski hills that have existed for the past 80 years across the region. These include the 16 ski hills still in operation across the U.P., from the major resorts to the small-town hills. Each section will tell the history of the ski area and some of the individuals who made them what they are today. There will also be historic photographs from each hill, including some of the ski areas that no longer exist.  In addition, there will be sections on U.S. Olympic Alpine skiers and state champion skiers who grew up and trained on the U.P.’s ski hills.

It was the descendants of Scandinavians who brought the pastime of skiing to the Upper Peninsula. During the late 19th and early 20th century, recreational and sport skiing in the U.P. was of the Nordic kind (cross country and jumping). However, where there is a large hill, there will be skiers who will climb up it to ski down the steepest slopes possible. So, before Alpine skiing took off in the U.P., there were Yoopers with a “need for speed.” 

The first two ski hills with operating rope tows were Pine Mountain in Iron Mountain and Mont Ripley in Houghton, which were installed by Pabst Brewing Co. scion Fred Pabst, who was instrumental in developing Alpine skiing in the Midwest. Soon other town hills began popping up around the U.P. Eventually major ski resorts such as Indianhead and Big Powderhorn in Gogebic County were developed in the 1950s and 60s, creating a new economic driver in these hard-hit mining towns. Most of these resorts continue to exist today and new ones like Mt. Bohemia have come along to challenge the stereotype that Midwest skiing isn’t challenging.

Over the years there have been several U.S. Ski team members and Olympians from the U.P. including most recently Nick Baumgartner who won the Gold in Mixed Snowboard Cross in the 2022 games in Beijing. Nick grew up training at Ski Brule in Iron River. Mont Ripley has had three skiers who competed in the Olympics including brother and sister Chuck and Barbara Ferries and Mary Seaton. Terry Ahola grew up training at the Gladstone Sports Park and went on to become a member of the U.S. Ski team in the early 1980s.

In addition to all this historic info, “It’s All Downhill” will feature artifacts and memorabilia from some of the ski resorts and Northern Michigan University’s Alpine program, vintage film footage of Cliff’s Ridge (now Marquette Mountain) courtesy of Jack Deo and some interactive video skiing games to get you ready to hit the slopes.


The Beaumier U.P. Heritage Center will open a new exhibition on the history of the Upper Great Lakes fisheries on Thursday, September 22. Entitled, “Above/Under the Surface: The Fisheries of the Upper Great Lakes,” this exhibition will look at the changes that have taken place in the fish populations and the impact of human beings on native fish species.  There will be an opening reception at 6 p.m. on Thursday, September 22 at the Beaumier Center.  The exhibition will run through December 2022 and is free and open to the public.

The history of the Upper Great Lakes fish life is central to not only the region’s ecosystem but its impact on human residents as well. For many millennia, the Great Lakes have been the home to dozens of species of fish, which is why it became such a popular region for habitation by the Indigenous people of the Midwest. With the arrival of Europeans and then the exploitation of the region’s natural resources, fish became an important part of not only our nutrition but part of the way of life of the Upper Peninsula’s residents.  This led to over fishing of many of the fish species of the region, and in some cases, their extinction. In addition, the introduction of industrial operations and human made pollution had further impacts on the health of the waters and fish populations. Lastly, the introduction of non-native species, both intentionally and by accident, has further compromised the health of Michigan’s fishery. This exhibition will explore these themes and also highlight the work that students at Northern Michigan University are doing assisting fishery activities to maintain healthy fish populations.



All of the images in this display are early stereograph images from the late 19th century taken in communities and locations around the Upper Peninsula by some of the region’s best-known photographers. They feature mining and other industrial operations, cityscapes, fires, Native Americans and slices of life from the 1860s to the 1890s. Communities featured will be Ironwood, Sault Ste. Marie, Houghton, Marquette, Escanaba and many others.

The exhibition will also include stereographic cameras, viewers and equipment on loan from Don Balmer of Marquette and Jack Deo. These will include vintage ViewMaster viewers and cameras from the 1940s through the 1990s. In addition, there will be stereograph cameras and equipment from the late 19th and early 20th century on display.

The concept that you can use two slightly off drawings to create a three-dimensional effect is older than photography itself. With the advent of photography in the late 1830s and early 1840s, the idea of using early photographs to create 3D images was embraced quickly. Overtime, a whole industry in three dimensional images on cards and slides developed and photography studios around the globe sold them as souvenirs or as volumes. Photography studios around the U.P. started doing this as early as the 1860s, and these images became a popular way to promote the region’s unique natural surroundings.

For more information on the exhibition and the Beaumier Center, visit www.nmu.edu/beaumier or call 906-227-3212.


On Saturday, October 9, the Beaumier U.P. Heritage Center on the Northern Michigan University campus will open the installation, “The Seventh Fire: A Decolonizing Experience.” Experience this multi-media at the Center’s gallery in Gries Hall located on Seventh St. in Marquette, Michigan. The “Seventh Fire: A Decolonizing Experience” is funded in part by a grant from the Michigan Humanities Council, an affiliate of the National Endowment of the Humanities. The installation will open at 12 p.m. with a public reception featuring hors d’oeuvres and light refreshments. This reception and the exhibit are free to the public and will be on display through April 9. The Beaumier Center’s hours are Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturdays, 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.

The title, “The Seventh Fire,” comes from the Seven Fires Prophecies which were given to the Anishinaabe people over 1,500 years ago while they still lived in what are now the Maritime Provinces of Canada. These prophecies foretold the catastrophic events that would befall their people over the next several centuries, predicting the arrival of Europeans and the impacts this would have on their way-of-life and spirituality. These events also include their migration to the Upper Great Lakes, the loss of their ancestral lands, and even the boarding schools their children would be sent to in the 19th and 20th centuries. The last of these prophecies, The Seventh Fire, promises that there will be a rebirth of the Anishinaabe nation and a rekindling of the Sacred Flame (their spirituality and traditions). Today, this rebirth and rekindling is referred to as Decolonization. The “Seventh Fire” exhibit seeks to define and place decolonizing in the context of contemporary Anishinaabe life while inviting audiences to expand their knowledge of the gifts decolonizing brings to modern society today.

Sharing video recorded interviews with tribal elders, Anishinaabe historians and scholars, students and faculty, the “Seventh Fire” installation will show the many different perspectives on decolonization and Anishinaabe culture, including language, foodways, education, sovereignty and the challenges of living in a colonized world. In addition, there will be a timeline of the history of the Anishinaabe people and a gathering “fire” space, where visitors can sit and discuss the issues brought up by the installation.

“The Seventh Fire” was developed over several months by a dedicated committee of individuals” they include Reese Carter and Bazile Panek from the NMU Native American Student Association; Leora Lancaster, Amber Morseau April Lindala, Martin Reinhardt from the NMU Center for Native American Studies; Debra Nedeau and Kathy Vanden Boogaard from the Great Lakes Peace Center; Lydia Bucklin from the Episcopal Parish of Northern Michigan, and Emily Pfeiff and Daniel Truckey from NMU’s Beaumier U.P. Heritage Center.

A traveling version of “The Seventh Fire” exhibition will be available to organizations across the Upper Peninsula beginning in the Spring of 2022. For more information on “The Seventh Fire,” please contact the Beaumier U.P. Heritage Center at 906-227-3212 or email heritage@nmu.edu. You can also visit the Center’s website at www.nmu.edu/beaumier.

The Beaumier U.P. Heritage Center will open a new exhibition on the architectural history of Northern Michigan University entitled, “A Beautiful Location,” on Saturday, June 12. The exhibition will be open Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturdays from 12 to 4 p.m, through October 2. Admission is free and open to the public. All visitors will need to wear a mask in the Beaumier Center or any NMU buildings.

“A Beautiful Location,” looks at how Northern Michigan University went from a one building campus in a remote part of Marquette, to its expansion as a modern campus of the 1960s and the wired-community of today. NMU has had a rich and fascinating physical history.  The campus features some of the region’s most significant structures designed by Michigan’s greatest architects. From the now demolished Kaye Hall, designed by D. Frederick Charlton, to Harden Hall (originally the Learning Resources Center) designed by Michigan’s most famous architect, Alden B. Dow, Northern’s campus is a mix of unique architectural styles and aesthetics.

The exhibition will feature key information about each structure, including photographs, maps, architectural plans. In addition, the exhibition will have a time-lapse map showing how the campus has grown and spread out over the past 122 years.  There will also be display cases featuring architectural fragments, signs and artifacts connected with buildings no longer in existence on campus.

The Beaumier U.P. Heritage Center announces the opening of its newest exhibition, “Conflict and Resolve: Labor in the U.P.” The exhibition will be open to NMU students, faculty and staff beginning on Saturday, January 30. The hours for the exhibition will be Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturdays from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. It will be on display through Saturday, May 29.

Due to Covid-19 restrictions, only 10 people at a time will be able to visit the display. If you have a class or campus group that would like to tour the exhibition, please contact Daniel Truckey (227-1219) to schedule a time and plan for your visit. Currently the exhibition is not open to the public, though we anticipate that will change in the coming weeks.

“Conflict and Resolve” looks at organized labor in the region from the very beginnings of the mining and lumbering industry in the mid-19th century to the development of service unions in the 20th century. It features sections on the Knights of Labor, mining safety, various mining and lumbering strikes, corporate paternalism, unionization and community service. The exhibition will include extensive interpretive text, images, artifacts and media to paint a broad picture of the role labor has played and still plays in the lives of many workers and their communities.

This exhibition was developed in 2020 by an advisory group which included: Kathleen Carlson, UP Regional Labor Federation; Karen Kasper, Ishpeming Area Historical Society; Rebecca Mead, Professor of History at NMU; James Paquette, former Safety Officer, Cliffs Natural Resources; Marcus Robyns, Central U.P. and NMU Archives; and Dan Truckey, Director, Beaumier U.P. Heritage Center. The Center also received support from the Cliffs Shaft Mining Museum, the Michigan Education Association, American Association of University Professors, Sandy Arsenault from the Gossard Building and other archives, libraries and union organizations. The exhibition was installed with the assistance of the student staff at the Beaumier Center and students in HS342 – Introduction to Museum Studies.

This exhibition will also be the debut for three new custom display cases built for the Beaumier Center by students in the Construction Management program. These cases were designed and fabricated as part of the CN459 Senior Projects course in the fall of 2020. The students involved in the project included Sean Brady, Derek Crane, Bowen Holmes, Nick Hughes and Michael Willaert. The Beaumier Center thanks these students for their great effort and work and their instructor Mike Andary.

August 17 - November 17, 2020

The Beaumier U.P. Heritage Center is excited to announce the opening of a new exhibition in its gallery in Gries Hall on the campus of Northern Michigan University. The exhibition, “Though the Years: Mount Mesnard to Mount Marquette,” is a creation of students from Dr. Scott Demel’s Anthropology 390 course. It is the culmination of many years of archeological digs Dr. Demel and his students have been conducting on Mount Mesnard (Mount Marquette).

Starting on August 17, the Beaumier Center will be expanding its hours as follows: Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturdays 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. The exhibition will be on display through November 7. The exhibition is free and open to the public.

To keep our visitors and staff safe, the following Covid-19 measures will be followed.

-          Facemasks are required for entrance to the Beaumier Center and gallery.

-          A limit of 12 people will be allowed to visit the gallery at any one time.

If you have a class or group that would like to visit the exhibition, please contact the Beaumier Center staff ahead of time by calling 906-227-3212 or e-mail, heritage@nmu.edu.

The exhibition features dozens of artifacts collected during the excavation of the site and interpretive panels. In addition, there are dozens of photographs of the actual excavation as well of artifacts not on display in the exhibition. The Beaumier Center would like to thank the students of AN 390 for their hard work and patience in creating and installing this exhibition. It was originally intended to be installed in April but had to be postponed due to the Covid-19 epidemic. Four students (Wilbert Alik, Morgan Armstrong, Charles Griffin and Sage Pletka) returned to campus in late July to install the exhibition for its current opening. Other students from AN390 who worked on the exhibition include Peter Conely, Juan Funes, Amber Lubbers, Emily Pfeiff, Hayley Pittman, Emily Thompson and Miranda Wood.

Mount Marquette has a rather storied history, and hasn’t always been known by the name it has now.  In the Archaic period, and before European contact, it had a name from the indigenous people who lived there. Following the settling of the French, it was called Mount Mesnard after the Jesuit Missionary, Rene Menard. In the 1960s, it was changed to its current name of Mount Marquette, after the explorer Jacques Marquette. Over the years, Mount Marquette has gone through many changes. In prehistoric times it was mined for Quartzite used for dart points. In the 1800s it was mined for Red Sandstone by three men who were then violently removed by the company from whom they leased the land. And now in our modern day people engage in hiking, biking and skiing on its slopes. In this exhibit, you can see firsthand how the mountain has changed over the years.

How and why did the Upper Peninsula become part of Michigan? Did it ever try to be its own state? Will it ever become one?  These are just a few questions to be discussed in the Beaumier U.P. Heritage Center’s new exhibition, “The 51st State?” The exhibition will open with a public reception at 6 p.m. on Friday, October 11. The exhibition and reception and free and open to the public. The exhibit will be on display through March 28.

“The 51st State” will delve into how the Upper Peninsula became part of the State of Michigan and the various initiatives over the past 170 years to separate the Upper from the Lower Peninsula. It will begin by focusing on how the U.P. was originally the homeland of the Anishinaabek and how they were acquired by the United States. In addition, the exhibit will explore the cultural differences between the two peninsulas. Lastly, the exhibition will look at the financial and cultural realities of statehood in the 21st century.

 On December 14, 1836 in Ann Arbor, at “The Frostbitten Convention,” a group of delegates ratified a compromise between the State of Ohio and Territory of Michigan, which finalized the location of the border between the two neighbors. As compensation for giving up their rights to the “Toledo Strip,” Michigan was gifted most of the Upper Peninsula, even though the land had still not been officially acquired from the Native American tribes and bands of the region. At the time, most Michigan residents were angry about the compromise, thinking they got the short end of the stick.  However, that all changed when the region’s great wealth of resources began to be exploited and helped fuel the growth and expansion of the State and country. The exhibition will feature dozens of photographs, maps, artifacts and documents related to various statehood initiatives throughout the decades.

Originally created in 2009 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the film, Anatomy of a Murder, this exhibition features twelve individual panels mounted in six banner stands. On the panels there are dozens of rare images from the making of the film, a time-line for the book, film and Voelker’s life and also links to oral history interviews with some of the participants.

Created by the Bonifas Art Center, this exhibit is a Michigan Humanities Council project that documents for the first time the wooden boat-building heritage of the Upper Peninsula. The exhibit looks at the role of wooden boats in the U.P.’s economic, social, and cultural settings.
Contributions include input from boat enthusiasts and experts from restoration boatyards, Huron Mountain Club, Westshore Fishing Museum, commercial fishermen, and rowing clubs.

Special features include displays on the Great Lakes Boat Building School and Birch Bark Canoes.

Sponsored in part by: “Wooden Boats” is made possible in part by a grant from the Michigan Humanities Council, an affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this project do not necessarily reflect those of the National Endowment for the Humanities or the Michigan Humanities Council.”

On Saturday, February 16, the Beaumier Center will be opening a new exhibition about the changes in technology on campus.  The exhibition will feature dozens of artifacts from the Center’s collection and from offices and storage facilities across campus. The exhibition will delve into how technology is used on campus today and where we are headed to in the future.

Exhibit poster

November 3, 2018 - January 26, 2019

Through hand-woven jacquard weavings, the Ancestral Women Exhibit honors and celebrates elder women, one from each of the 12 Native American tribes in Wisconsin. These are women who have held families and communities together, and who kept traditions, cultures, and languages alive. They were (or are today) the glue in the fabric of their communities. Tribal members determined who they wished to see honored in this exhibit. They then provided photographs, which were redrawn and redesigned, creating the basis for the weaving. Other imagery was drawn into each piece as well, such as a clan symbol or a border that included traditional beadwork – something that helped tell a story about each woman and her tribe.

Ancestral Women was created by artist Mary Burns. She has woven numerous projects and has won many awards. She is also a writer of poetry and has written one novel.

More information about the exhibit: https://ancestralwomen.com/

April 14, 2018 - October 20, 2018

It has often been said that all American’s are immigrants. That is not true since the First Nations people of this continent have been here longer than anyone can remember.  But the vast majority of American citizens are the descendent of immigrants who left their homelands in search of a better life.  Many found what they were looking for but almost all found challenges, hardships, and successes far beyond their imagining. 

For many immigrants, the Upper Peninsula was not their original or even final destination.  Some found their way to the U.P. in search of work and many already had family or friends from home who were already here and sponsored their immigration and event cost of travel.  Some, such as Scandinavians, had heard that the region was very similar to their homeland in climate and geography.  Mining and logging were the main industries in the region in the 19th and early 20th century, and some immigrants had experience in these areas where others did not. The exhibit will look at the late 20th and 21st century, and what drove immigrants to chose the Upper Peninsula as a home, in addition to many other questions.

This exhibition will attempt to paint a picture of the immigrant experience, using the Upper Peninsula as a canvas. It will look at that experience from the first European/White settlers of the region to current people who are coming to the region to make it their home.  Regardless of the era of their arrival, all immigrants share certain commonalities in experience, so the exhibition will not be organized chronologically but will rather be subject-based.  This will underline how our current immigrants to the region share the same struggles and aspirations as the very first.

November 2, 2017 - March 31, 2018

From the late 1940s until the early 1990s, the United States and the Soviet Union were locked in a battle for political and social influence throughout the planet. At the crux of this conflict was the ever present danger of nuclear war, as both countries had enough armaments to destroy the Earth many times over. Because of this tense relationship, there developed a mass military industrial complex that spread throughout the country. Even a remote place like the Upper Peninsula played a key role in America’s defense during the Cold War. In addition, there were individuals from the Upper Peninsula who played an important role during the Cold War.

Two Upper Peninsula natives who made enormous impacts on America’s role in the Cold War were Clarence “Kelly” Johnson and Glenn Seaborg. Both were born in Ishpeming, two years apart (1910 and 1912 respectively) and would go on to make huge contributions to the Cold War “effort.” Johnson was an aeronautical engineer who designed the most important military aircrafts of the Cold War period, including the Lockheed U-2, SR-71 Blackbird, F-104 Starfighter and P-80 Shooting Star. Seaborg was a chemist and physicist, who as a professor at the University of California, Berkeley, became one of the key researchers in the Manhattan Project. His main job was to create the plutonium for the first atomic bomb. He later became the Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission from 1961 to 1971.

All of these facets are featured in the exhibit, “Cold War and the U.P.”

June 27, 2017 - November 2, 2017

In June 2017, the Beaumier Center will be opening a new exhibition on the history of land management in the U.P. The exhibition, “Conserving the Land,” will look at how citizen groups, non-profit and government agencies began to set aside tracks of land for preserving the U.P.’s natural resources. Beginning with the Huron Mountain club in the 1880s, there was an ever growing effort to preserve the natural character of the U.P.’s landscape. In the 1890s, State and National Forests began to be designated throughout the United States in attempt to both provide for a sustainable logging industry and also to provide recreational opportunities and preserve the region’s natural wonders. In 1940, Isle Royale National Park was designated, helping preserve the undisturbed ecosystem on the remote island. In 1945, the largest state park in Michigan, Porcupine Mountain State Park, was established and became a Wilderness Park in 1972. It was followed by Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, which was established in 1966, with a unique arrangement between the National Park Service and local logging operations.

Since the 1970s, various environmental organizations and groups, such as the Nature Conservancy, began to actively attempt to preserve and save wild spaces in the Upper Peninsula. Groups such as the Friends of the Estivant Pines were able to preserve one of the last stands of old timber in Keweenaw County, which was threatened by the lumbering industry.

February 1, 2017 - June 1, 2017

In 1917, men across the Upper Peninsula enlisted in the United States military to serve their country in World War I.  Soldiers from the U.P. served in Europe and Asia in the conflict, some after the armistice was signed in November 1918.  During their time of service they wrote letters to their families and collected photographs and items related to their time in the military. 

In January 2017, “World War I in the Upper Peninsula” will be on display at the Beaumier U.P. Heritage Center. This exhibition will bring alive the history of World War I and its impact on our communities by bringing these stories, photographs and material culture to the light of day. There will be interpretive exhibits at museums throughout Marquette County, concerts, symposiums, art exhibitions, tours of historic sites and cemeteries, memorial services, film series and even the re-creation of a trench as an interpretive program for children to learn about the nature of battle conditions for these soldiers.

The Beaumier Center is working with historical societies and families in the Upper Peninsula to collect the stories of individual soldiers, including their personal histories and experiences in the conflict. Part of the exhibit will focus on the formation of the American Legion and the individual posts that were formed in the Upper Peninsula.  In response to the needs of WWI veterans, the American Legion was founded in 1919 and soon there were posts created in communities throughout the United States.  In the Upper Peninsula there was a post in nearly every town, most of which were named after a soldier from the community who was lost or gained distinction in the conflict. 

The exhibit will also review U.P. soldiers who served in the Northern Russia Expeditionary Force during the conflict.  This little known and poorly understood part of WWI impacted several dozen soldiers from the U.P.  In 1918, as a response to a cease fire between Germany and Russia, there was an alliance of British, French, Canadian and U.S. troops who were sent to Northern Russia and Siberia to fight against the newly formed Bolshevik government troops.  Nearly 100 men from the U.P. served in the “Polar Bears” (the nickname for these units) some of whom were highly decorated and some who gave the ultimate sacrifice.

A recurring theme in this exhibition will be on social and ethnic identity.  Many soldiers from the Upper Peninsula were immigrants or 1st generation Americans from Canada and Europe.  The conflict had a significant impact on the soldiers’ growing identities as Americans and also for their families.

From January through August 2017, there will be dozens of programs and exhibitions connected to the history of World War I and Marquette area communities. Half a dozen communities will be leading cemetery tours in each town featuring the stories of WWI soldiers who either passed away in the conflict or had a specific contribution to the war.  Two major historical exhibitions will be on display at the Marquette Regional History Center and the Beaumier U.P. Heritage Center.

September 24, 2016 - January 15, 2017

What is a ghost town?  In his book, Ghost Towns of Michigan, Larry Wakefield wrote, “They range from lonesome sites where almost nothing is left to mark their former existence, to others where only a few crumbling houses and buildings remain.  And there are others too, where a few people still live, out of love, habit or necessity (and may resent someone calling their village a ghost town).” 

This September, the Heritage Center will delve into the realm of ghost towns with an exhibit that features fifteen communities fitting Wakefield’s description.  In each county of the U.P. there are several communities that could be considered ghost towns, but the exhibit will be featuring only one community for each county of the U.P.

These towns were settled around mines, mills, and railroads across the Upper Peninsula. When these operations were prosperous, so were the towns. With the depletion of natural resources often came the exodus  of these operations and the decline of the boom towns. Many ghost towns have similar stories and faced the same difficulties. Yet every town and its tale is different, from the first mining operation in Michigan to Henry Ford’s model town. Some towns  are still home to residents. Others are nothing more than ramshackled buildings, some preserved for prosperity, others forgotten. Some of these towns have been reclaimed by nature or completely destroyed for safety’s sake.

The exhibit will tell the stories of ghost towns across the U.P. through historic and contemporary photographs, a history of each site, and drone video footage. The exhibit showcases towns of renown and obscurity, including Fayette, Pequaming, Victoria, Johnswood, and others.

These are part of this fascinating exhibit that will be on display from September 24 through January 7 in the new gallery in the Beaumier Alumni Welcome and U.P. Heritage Center.  Admission, as always, is free and open to the public.

April 28, 2016 - September 10, 2016

Many people see the hey-day of the Upper Peninsula’s history as the years of the great mining and logging booms at the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th.  However, since that time, the Upper Peninsula has developed a more diversified economy, creating a wide variety of products.  The exhibit, “Made in Da U.P., Eh!” features companies, both past, and present, that create products for export outside of the U.P.  The exhibit will be on display April 28 through September 10 in the Center’s new gallery in Gries Hall.  Admission is free and open to the public.

The exhibit is broken into several different parts based on the types of products created.  There are sections on food, wood products, recreation, industrial products, clothing, and more. Companies from throughout the Upper Peninsula donated examples of their products for the display and there are panels on the history of their companies and the types of products they create.

One of the largest areas is the food and beverage section.  It seems that the hungry and thirsty people of the U.P. have created a need for high-quality products made right at home. Some have become so successful that we are now exporting them around the Midwest and beyond. These include sausage companies such as Vollwerth’s, confectioners such as Sykally’s and Donckers, Pasty makers like Lawry’s and Jean Kay’s, Italian food products by Mama Russo’s and Dina Mia, dairy products by Jilbert’s, and many more.

Besides food, wood products are one of the most common exports from the U.P.  These can be items as utilitarian as the paper items made by New Page, Neenah, and Verso to specialty items, such as the basketball floors made by Conner Sport in Amasa.  Of course, the U.P. has a long history of wood products, including items made by the Munising Wooden Ware, commercial charcoal from Cliffs Dow Chemical Co. in Marquette, and the Ford Plant in Kingsford, which created not only the popular “Woody” automobiles but also made commercial charcoal briquettes.

Surprisingly to some people, the U.P. has an active industrial base creating specialized products and services for many different uses.  These include aerospace, railroad, surgical, automobile, and sustainable energy products. In addition, the U.P. has companies making clothing, plastics, furniture, boats, snowplows, firearm sights, and many more products that are on display in the exhibit.

Much of the research and writing for the exhibit was done by two interns from NMU’s Public History program, Ryan Dubay and Emily Irish.  The Beaumier Center thanks them for their hard work over the course of the semester compiling information on the companies and identifying resources for the exhibit.

October 17, 2016 – January 15, 2016

After months of conducting research and interviews, a compilation of articles, pictures, and artifacts were put on display and the Off the Grid exhibit had its grand opening on Saturday, October 17.

The Off the Grid exhibit featured testimonies from U.P. residents who live off the grid. Their stories, as gathered from interviews conducted by Beaumier U.P. Heritage Center director Dan Truckey, feature how they got to be where they are and how they developed systems to sustainably live off the grid. The Lundquist, Robishaw-Schmeck, Valley, and Jungwirth families all contributed their stories and artifacts.

These off-the-gridders in many respects are very alike but also very different. They all have common lifestyles, though nothing about their lifestyles are common. In their interviews they spoke of their reasons for living off the grid, the process of transitioning to living off the grid, and went into detail of how they are set up to efficiently live off the grid. Each of their set ups and stories differ, but they all share a common respect for nature and life, which shows through their off-the-grid lifestyles.

The exhibit also featured panels on Dr. Martin Reinhardt’s Decolonization Diet project. His research delves into whether or not his Native Ancestors would be able to recognize the food we consider today to be American Indian and how one would go about eating a diet like his ancestors, an off-the-grid diet. Other panels include “I Pick Medicine” by Tyler Dettloff, a panel on “The Back to the Land Movement” by Tim Williams, “Holing Up: Shackers in the Upper Peninsula” by Troy Henderson, “Europeans go Wild” by Dan Truckey, and an brief infographic on how solar panels work.

Truckey describes the exhibit saying, “In this exhibit, we will look at many examples of people living “off the grid” in the U.P. We will also look at their lifestyle “ancestors,” if you will. The

Anishinaabeg peoples who never had a grid, the early European settlers who with the help of the Anish learned to survive in this region, and the “shackers” who lived on the cutover lands of the region and eked out an existence. Today’s “off-the-gridders” owe a great deal to these early peoples.”

The Off the Grid exhibit was on display through January, 2016.

June 20, 2015 - September 26, 2015

The Beaumier U.P. Heritage Center announces the postponement of the opening for its new exhibition, “Myth, Mysteries, Unexplained and Unproven.”  Due to unforeseen circumstances, the exhibit will not open until Saturday, June 20, in the Center’s gallery in 105 Cohodas Hall, 1401 Presque Isle Ave in Marquette. We apologize in advance for any inconvenience this might cause our visitors. The exhibition will be on display through September 26 and is free and open to the public. The Beaumier Center is open from 10a.m. to 4p.m., Monday through Saturday. 

The Upper Peninsula is a wonderful and even weird place.  Over the centuries, it has inspired all sorts of wonder but is also full of much myth and mystery.  The Beaumier U.P. Heritage Center will be featuring some of these stories in its upcoming exhibit, “Myth, Mysteries, Unexplained and Unproven.”  When we use the word “myth” many people assume that such stories are untrue.  Where this often is the case, myth has value beyond just being a story to tell around a campfire.  Myths carry the cultural values and truths of a society or culture as well.  This exhibition will discuss myth from this perspective, not trying to disprove stories and phenomena but rather to try and place their meaning in the Upper Peninsula.  There will several different topics featured in the exhibit, including stories about the Paulding Light, Sasquatches, Loup-Garous (werewolves), ghost ships, UFOs, Ancient Mariners and many more.  The exhibit will also discuss the very nature of how historians and archeologists determine what is fact, fiction, hoax or prank.  In an age where the television history specials pass off unproven histories and myths as fact, the exhibit will delve into why we believe what we cannot prove and how we can better interpret these stories.

Much of this exhibition was researched and written by students in the Department of Sociology’s course, AN 495 - Myth, Mystery, and Fraud in Archaeology, led by Dr. Scott Demel.  The students conducted research on some of the topics and then wrote the exhibition text for each area.  They also identified photographic resources to compliment the exhibition.  The exhibition is being designed by the Beaumier Center’s student graphic designer, Riley Crawford, is curated by Daniel Truckey. 

For more information on the exhibition, please call 906-227-3212 or e-mail heritage@nmu.edu.  The Beaumier U.P. Heritage Center is open Monday through Saturday from 10a.m. to 4p.m.  The Center is free and open to the public. 

April 4, 2015 - May 30, 2015

On April 4, the Beaumier U.P. Heritage Center will be opening the traveling exhibition, “Selling Nahma,” which is on loan from the Nahma Historical Society.  This exhibition, a collaboration between the Nahma Historical Society and Bonifas Art Center, was created with funds from the Michigan Humanities Council, an affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.  It will be on display at the Beaumier Center through May 30.  The museum is open and free to the public.  Hours are Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

This exhibition features dozens of interpretive panels, photographs and articles telling the story of one of the Upper Peninsula’s most unique communities.  In the 20th century many resource-based company towns in Michigan's Upper Peninsula shared Nahma's uncertain future.  Nahma's plight caught the eye of the nation when it was put up for sale.  The owners mounted a campaign to find a suitable buyer not only for the sawmill business assets, but also for the community itself.  A national search for potential buyers culminated in a 1951 cover story in Life magazine that built the mystique that still surrounds Nahma today: a “town for sale.”  Since those early days, there remains the strong sense of community that defied the fate of other company towns.  Nahma would not become a ghost town.

What was it about Nahma that kept it alive when so many other company towns simply passed out of existence?   Selling Nahma will examine how and why this unusual business decision led to Nahma's survival and what makes it notable amongst Upper Peninsula communities. Gathered through oral histories, film, documentary, photographs and personal reminiscences, Selling Nahma will offer a personal perspective from the remaining townspeople and former residents. Find out what it was like to be living in a company town at the time of the sale.

September 27, 2014 - January 31, 2015

On tour around the U.P. in 2015

The Beaumier U.P. Heritage Center announces the tour of its new exhibition, “Music in the Pines: a history of the Hiawatha Traditional Music Festival.”  The exhibition is a collaboration between the Beaumier Center and the Hiawatha Music Co-op and was funded by a grant from the Michigan Humanities Council, an affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.  It was on display at the Beaumier U.P. Heritage Center from September 27, 2014 and January 31, 2015.  The exhibition will now go on display at various venues in the Upper Peninsula through 2015, including at the Hiawatha Traditional Festival in July of this year.

Here are the dates and locations of the exhibitions tour through the Upper Peninsula.  In addition to the exhibition, there will be programs on folk music in local schools and community centers as part of the project. 

Tour Dates:

Chippewa County Historical Society, Sault Ste. Marie, March 28 through May 9.

Carnegie Museum, Houghton, May 18 through June 27.

Hiawatha Traditional Music Festival, Marquette, July 17 – 19.

Erickson Center for the Arts, Curtis, July 20 – August 28

Ironwood Carnegie Library, Ironwood, August 31 – October 10

Bonifas Art Center, Escanaba, October 12 – November 21.

“Music in the Pines” embodies the meaning, traditions and history of Hiawatha. It features colorful stories, memories, and relics that work together to capture the essence of the cherished festival.  People come to Hiawatha not only to enjoy the music by main stage performers, but to experience nature by camping out and catching up with people they’ve come to love over the bond of similar appreciation and passion for music and family.

The Hiawatha Traditional Music Festival hast its roots in Deerton, Michigan at what is known as the “Big House”, where a group of young adult musicians lived together, fulfilling their happiness with potlucks, saunas, parties, and weekly jam sessions. The “Big House” and the small cabins surrounding it came to be a sort of commune with an appealing way to live closely to one another, but far enough away to avoid argumentation over house cleanliness and other issues. Members of the “Big House” group came up with the idea of a music festival after a few visited the Wheatland Music Festival in Remus, Michigan in 1978. Members felt that because their passion was music, creating a music festival like Wheatland was in their realm of possibility.

Hiawatha was held in Champion for five years before the attendance numbers overwhelmed the amenities of the Horse Pulling Grounds.  Tourist Park in Marquette, Michigan was chosen as the new location for Hiawatha and the date was also switched to the second to last full weekend in July in 1984. Tourist Park proved to be an ideal location for the festival, with well-defined campsites, permanent restroom, showers, and electricity, and lots of shaded areas provided by the forest and came complete with a lake, lifeguard, and playground. The most appreciated aspect of the new venue was that it was isolated from the residential areas of the town, but yet close enough to attract more festival attendees and volunteers. 

The Hiawatha Traditional Music Festival and the Hiawatha Music Co-op gained recognition at Michigan’s Sesquicentennial Celebration in 1987, the Concerned Citizens for the Arts in Michigan in 1992, and also received the Governor’s Outstanding Arts Organization Award. The success of the festival is directly linked to the number of workers and volunteers that contribute their time to Hiawatha and of course the dedicated attendees that come year after year.

October 26, 2013 - January 15, 2014

The landscape of the Upper Peninsula and its relationship with its people will be the focus of a new exhibition at the Beaumier Upper Peninsula Heritage Center beginning in October.   The exhibition, entitled, “U.P. Mosaic: A working landscape and its people,” will open on Saturday, October 26 with a family oriented program featuring costumed interpreters, traditional games, storytelling, music and gallery talks.  The event begins at 1p.m. and will run through 4p.m.  Admission is Free to the public.  The Beaumier Center is located in 105 Cohodas Hall on the campus of Northern Michigan University at 1401 Presque Isle Ave. in Marquette.   The exhibition will run through January 15 and will be open Monday through Saturday from 10a.m. to 4p.m.

The exhibition, “U.P. Mosaic” focuses on the complicated yet rich relationship between the people of the Upper Peninsula and its natural world and landscape featuring displays discussing both past and present issues.  The main question the exhibition asks the visitor is “how has the U.P.’s natural world helped define the culture of the Upper Peninsula and vice versa?”  Instead of the display simply answering this question, it asks also asks the visitor for their perceptions of this relationship at various comment stations throughout the exhibition.  Throughout “U.P. Mosaic,” the visitor will see a wide array of cultural artifacts, images and appealing graphic displays. The exhibition also features other interactive components for visitors of all ages, including hands-on objects stations and a video interview booth where visitors can answer the “question of the week.”

At the opening, there will be many more interactive components including the following timed activities:

Presented by the Future Historians from the Michigan Iron Industry Museum:


Indoor and Outdoor Old-Fashioned Games

  • Jacks
  • Cup and Ball
  • Tabletop 9 Pin
  • Hoop and Stick
  • Graces
  • Stilts
  • Blind Man’s Buff
  • Snap Apple

Gallery Talks with the “U.P. Mosaic” exhibition committee and Beaumier Center staff

2 p.m. – 3p.m.  

Performance by Bill Jamerson featuring songs from the Lumberjacks and the Civilian Conservation Corps

3 p.m. – 4p.m. 

Anishinaabeg storytelling session with Kenn Pitawanakwat, Center of Native American Studies at NMU.

The planning for the “U.P. Mosaic” exhibition began in the spring of 2013 with a committee of individuals with specific expertise and knowledge of the natural world and cultural relationships in the Upper Peninsula.  Committee members include:  Gregg Bruff, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore (retired); Scott Demel, Anthropology Department, NMU; Courtney Herber, Beaumier Center; Mimi Klotz, Clear Lake Education Center; Nancy Matthew, cultural historian and consultant; Adam Papin, Beaumier Center; John Saari, Upper Peninsula Environmental Coalition and Daniel Truckey, Beaumier Center.  The Beaumier Center thanks the committee for their great commitment to this project and their significant contribution to this challenging and exciting exhibition.  The Center also thanks the Future Historians from the Michigan Iron Industry Museum and Kenn Pitawanakwat for their assistance with the exhibition opening.

April 20, 2013 - September 2013

On Saturday, April 20, the Beaumier Center will be opening an important and dynamic exhibition on the importance of historic preservation in our communities.  “Lost and Found: Historic Structures of the U.P.” will feature buildings from throughout the region that have either been lost or that have been restored for continued use.  There will be a reception at 1p.m. on April 20 with drinks and snacks.  The exhibition will be on display in the Beaumier Center’s gallery through September 2013. Admission is free to the public. The Center’s hours are Monday through Saturday, 10a.m. to 4p.m.

More and more, communities throughout the United States are recognizing the importance of historic preservation.  Every town has lost structures due to fires, neglect or urban renewal.  Where not all historic buildings can be saved, communities that have created historic districts and have preserved important historic structures have saved more than just the past but also a sense of place and commercial viability. 

This exhibition will delve into these ideas looking at important structures from throughout the U.P. that have been lost and in the process how that affected the community.  In addition, the exhibit will feature historic preservation success stories where buildings that once were considered “eyesores” or even dangerous were restored and have become centerpieces of the community. 

There will be more than 40 structures featured in this exhibition from throughout the region.  Some lost buildings include Northern Michigan University’s Kaye Hall (see image above), which was razed in the 1970s.  Others include the Wakefield Community Building, the Italian Hall in Calumet and the Alger County Courthouse, which was destroyed by fire in 1978.  Success stories include the Calumet Theatre, Carnegie Library in Ishpeming, Marquette City Hall, Ironwood Memorial Building and many others.

To create this exhibition, the Beaumier Center sent requests to historical societies and museums throughout the U.P., asking for them to nominate buildings to be included in the exhibit.  This resulted in dozens of contenders, though there will unfortunately not be enough space for all of the buildings. 

The exhibition is being curated by the Beaumier Center staff.  Research assistant Erin Comer has been conducting research on the structures and will be assisting with writing the narrative and installing the exhibition.  Museum assistant Adam Papin will be designing the layout and interpretive panels of the exhibition.  All of the museum’s staff will be involved in the installation of the exhibition.

October 20, 2012 - March 30, 2013

High school athletics are a staple of the life of communities throughout the Upper Peninsula.   They are represent more than just an opportunity for your people to compete but also are a source of pride and even entertainment for the community as a whole.  Over the past 130 years, the Upper Peninsula has had a proud history of athletics in its schools and some of these stories and legends will be on display in the new exhibition, “U.P. Power! High School Sports in Upper Michigan.”  The exhibit will open on October 20 at 1p.m. in the Beaumier U.P. Heritage Center on the campus of Northern Michigan University.  There will be a reception for the exhibit and a number of U.P. sports legends will be on hand at the display.  The exhibition will be on display at the Beaumier Center through March 30, 2013.

The exhibit will feature stories about the greatest teams, players and coaches in Upper Peninsula high school sports history, including photographs, trophies, uniforms and other memorabilia.  There will also be an interactive computer station with statistics for each team sport for boys and girls.   The artifacts for the exhibit will be on loan from high schools, historical societies and individuals from throughout the Upper Peninsula, and will represent the greatest stories in U.P. sports history.

To create the exhibit, the Beaumier Center put together a committee of sports writers, historians and former athletes from throughout the Upper Peninsula.  The task of the committee was to form the basic framework of the exhibit, develop the outline and identify players and teams that would be featured.  Members of the committee include Craig Remsburg from the Mining Journal, Denny Grall from the Daily Press (Escanaba), Rob Roos from the Sault Ste. Marie Evening News, and many at large members including Jim Dwyer, Rod Guizetti, Larry Rubick, Dave Hallgren, Dave Lahtinen, Tom West, Pat Gallinagh, Tom Peters, Barb Patrick, and many others contributors.  The group began meeting in January 2012 to discuss the exhibit.

The exhibition will feature several great teams and sports dynasties in high school sports. An example would be the Chassell boys basketball team which went undefeated from 1956 through 1958, winning three state titles and setting a still unbeaten winning streak record.   The Chassell Historical Society is loaning several historical items related to the team to the Beaumier Center for the exhibit.   The exhibition will be broken up into various sections not by sport but by subjects, such as Dynasties, Greatest Teams, Greatest Performances, and Legendary Games. 

Throughout each section will be featured teams, players and coaches who contributed to these teams or achieved something great either during their career or on one particular day.  An example would be John Payment, the Brimley high school high jumper who broke the all-state, all class high jump record in May 1989 with his jump of 7’ 1” at the U.P. finals in Marquette.  This meet is a legend in U.P. sports history and Payment’s record still stands for all schools in the State of Michigan.  Another athlete, who many sports historians had forgotten, was Christy (Salonen) Provost who from 1993 to 1996 won four straight Giant Slalom state titles (3 all-class, 1 Class B) and one slalom title, the only skier ever to do that in state competition.  

The title for the exhibit comes from a popular chant of U.P. high school teams and their fans when they go to downstate Michigan for state tournaments.   No one is sure when it exactly originated but it became a rallying cry for U.P. teams after the 1975 State Football championships when both Ishpeming and Crystal Falls-Forest Park won titles on the same day.  It is considered a watershed moment for U.P. football because for over 50 years, our teams never got to play the best teams from the Lower Peninsula.  Ishpeming ended Hudson’s record setting winning streak in the Class C final and CFFP trounced Flint Holy Rosary 50-0. 

May 3 - September 1

 The Beaumier Upper Peninsula Heritage Center and department of sociology and social work at NMU are honored to announce the opening of the exhibition, “Scattered to the Winds: the Vanished Community of Cable’s Bay and Beaver Island.”  This exhibition will open on May 3 at 5 p.m.  Come explore the exhibit and get a taste of the ethnic foods and song from the island’s inhabitants. The exhibition will be on display at the Beaumier Center through Sept. 1.  The Center is located in 105 Cohodas Hall on the campus of Northern Michigan University.  The exhibit is made possible by a generous grant from the Michigan Humanities Council and admission is free to the public.

NMU students in department of sociology’s Museum Studies-II (AN495) contributed to the creation, design, and planning of the exhibit, which showcases artifacts and data collected during the NMU archaeology field school excavations conducted on Beaver Island in 2010/2011.

“Scattered to the Winds” tells the story of not only Cable’s Bay but also other Beaver Island Stories pieced together from artifacts and historical accounts.  The exhibit explores the history and mystery of Beaver Island and how everyday items discarded or lost through time are used to interpret the past.

Cable’s Bay is one of two historic sites that were investigated during the 2010 Northern Michigan University archeology field school. This early fishing village was located along the southeast side of the island and was briefly occupied from 1838 to 1858 by fishermen and their families, traders, and coopers, Native American women, and Mormons. The story of this little village is a tale of hardship, forced exodus, and eventual failure.

Burke’s Farm is one of two sites that were investigated during the 2010 Northern Michigan University archeology field school. This early farmstead was located along the east side of the island and was briefly occupied from 1852 to 1856 by Mormon farmers who created the cabin and barn from timber on the property. Shortly thereafter due to a forced exodus the farmstead came under the ownership of Irish immigrants; later by other Euro-American families. By the mid-twentieth century the farmstead began to return to nature’s grasp.

February 9 - March 30

The Beaumier U.P. Heritage Center announces the opening of the exhibition,Immigration and Caricature: Ethnic Images from the Appel Collection.  This exhibition is on loan from the Michigan State University Museum and will be on display from February 9 through March 30 in the Beaumier Center’s gallery in 105 Cohodas Hall on the campus of NMU.  Admission is free to the exhibition and the Beaumier Center hours are Monday through Saturday from 10a.m. to 4p.m.  The Beaumier Center is located at 1401 Presque Isle Ave. in Marquette.

This exhibition explores the role of caricature and stereotype in forming American values and attitudes about the multicultural development of the United States. It utilizes a collection of immigrant and ethnic caricatures from popular graphics dating primarily from the Civil War to World War I, a period of massive migration to the United States. To modern Americans, the contents are sometimes humorous, sometimes very disturbing. Nevertheless, the collection offers great insight into American cultural attitudes and is a remarkable resource for the study of American cultural history. The items used in this exhibition consist of a variety of print media such as cartoons, postcards, trade cards, and prints and lithographs, all of which come from over 4,000 pieces donated to the MSU Museum by Dr. John and Selma Appel. Materials from their collection have been loaned to numerous exhibitions on ethnic images and immigration throughout the United States and the Appels have written many publications on the subject.

July 30, 2011 - October 13, 2011

Prepare to be dazzled and amazed as the Beaumier U.P. Heritage Center presents its newest exhibition, UP in 3D, opening on Sat., July 30 at the Beaumier Center gallery in Cohodas Hall.  This exhibition will feature 40 three-dimensional images from the collection of Jack Deo of Marquette and the Marquette Regional History Center.  The exhibition will be on display through October 13.  The Beaumier Center’s hours are 12:30p.m. to 4:30p.m, Monday through Saturday.  Admission is free to the public.

The images featured in the exhibition were taken in the late 19th and early 20th centuries in various locations throughout the Upper Peninsula.  They include photographs of mining operations, Ojibwe settlements, Mackinac Island, natural wonders and townscapes from throughout the region.   The images will be presented in large format black and white prints and “3-D” glasses will be provided for visitors to view the images.  The images were created using stereo cameras, which took a simultaneous image from two slight different perspectives.  By printing each copy of the image in blue and red shades as one image, allows for the viewer to be drawn in to the photograph and transported back in time.

The bulk of these images come from the collection of Jack Deo, owner and proprietor Superior View in Marquette, who has been collecting 19th and 20th century stereo-photographs for decades. They are only a portion of his amazing collection of historic photographs from throughout the Upper Peninsula and beyond.  In addition, for the past few years, Jack has been conducting a slide program of these three-dimensional images at locations around the U.P.  This will be the first time these timeless images have been printed for an exhibition.

Photographs for the exhibition were chosen based on several criteria.   The images needed to be from different regions of the Upper Peninsula.   They also need to show various types of scenes, including occupations, street scenes, people or industry.  Lastly, each image needed to have great depth so that the three-dimensional effect would work at its very best.   In addition, the images are printed in a large format (all at least 30” x 30”) which contributes greatly to their life-like qualities.

All of the images show various historic scenes from throughout the Upper Peninsula, but some are deserving of more description.  Case in point is an image of a miner in the Calumet & Hecla Mine in the Copper Country, standing on a support while using a pneumatic drill.   Not only does one have an appreciation of the difficult nature of this work but of conditions in which these miners worked each day.  The three-dimensional nature of the image only adds to the effect of this already striking image. 

Another image is of John Boucher, an Anishinaabe canoe navigator at Sault Ste. Marie.  The image shows him paddling one of the canoes he would use to take fisherman in to the St. Mary’s River. The image is striking not only because of his extraordinary pose but also because of the amazing three-dimensional effect that makes it look like he his paddling out of the photograph. 

Some of the most striking images are from the collection of the Marquette Regional History Center. One image was taken from on top of the Franklin incline in Hancock.    The image shows a cart full of copper ore being sent down the hill on its way to a smelter along the Portage Canal.  Houghton can be seen in the distance on the other side of the canal.  Images with train tracks are very striking in three-dimensional images because they help greatly with the perspective but in this image it is literally heightened by the perspective from the top of the hill.

This exhibition will be on display through October 13, and there will be a number of associated programs in the fall.  In addition, the Beaumier U.P. Heritage Center will begin two semesters of cultural programs on the campus in September of 2011. These will include the NMU International Performing Arts Series, Upper Peninsula Folklife Festival, Beaumier Coffee House Series and the monthly lectures series.  To stay up to date with the Beaumier Center’s programs, please visit its website at www.nmu.edu/beaumier or on Facebook (search for Beaumier Heritage Center).  For more information about the exhibition and events, you can also call 906-227-3212 or e-mailheritage@nmu.edu.

January 29, 2011 - July 23, 2011

The Beaumier U.P. Heritage Center will be opening its new exhibition, Across the Border: Canadians in the Upper Peninsula, with a reception on January 29 at 1 p.m.  The exhibition and reception will be in the Beaumier Center’s gallery in 105 Cohodas Hall, 1401 Presque Isle Ave. in Marquette. There will be refreshments and treats served at the reception as well as a performance of French Canadian songs.  Admission to the exhibition and reception is free to the public.  The exhibition and associated programming is being funded by Cliffs Natural Resources, the College of Arts and Sciences and the Province of Québec, Chicago Delegation.

Across the Border focuses primarily on the immigration of Canadians to the Upper Peninsula during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.  However, the story begins much farther back than that with the Anishinaabeg people who have lived on both sides of what they view as purely a political border for centuries.  The very nature of this border, which has been seen at times as irrelevant and porous, will be discussed in this exhibition as will the nature of Canadian identity as it relates to the immigration of people to the Upper Peninsula from Québec and Ontario.   

One of the most interesting parts of this exhibition will be the spotlight on specific families who came from Canada to the Upper Peninsula looking at the experiences they had before and after they immigrated to the region. These sections will feature photographs and artifacts related to their families. There will also be a focus on specific communities that had significant settlements of Canadian people. One example would be the Garden Peninsula which was settled by several Canadian families who came to work at the iron works in Fayette and later in the lumber and fishing industry.

Several Northern Michigan University faculty, staff and students were involved in helping develop this exhibition. The advisory committee for the exhibition included William Bergman (History), Michael Broadway (Arts and Sciences), Chet Defonso (History), Kenn Pitawanakwat (Center for Native American Studies), Robert Whalen (English) and David Wood (English). In addition, there were four Beaumier Center student employees and interns involved with the exhibition’s creation including; Jaclyn Dessellier, Steven Glover, Adam Papin and Abby Ropp. Lastly, the Beaumier Center thanks Georgia Tillotson (Continuing Education) and Marty Reinhardt (Center for Native American Studies) for sharing their family stories, photos and artifacts for the exhibition.

Across the Border will be on display through July 23, 2011. The Beaumier Center’s hours are Monday through Saturday, 12:30p.m. to 4:30p.m. For more information about the exhibition and the Beaumier U.P. Heritage Center please call 906-227-3212 or visit www.nmu.edu/beaumier.

May 19, 2010 - August 21, 2010

The Beaumier U.P. Heritage Center and the DeVos Art Museum have collaborated on an exhibition of photographs by the legendary George Shiras III opening on Wednesday, May 19 at the Beaumier Center gallery in 105 Cohodas Hall.  The exhibition, entitled “George Shiras III: Hunting Wildlife with Camera and Flashlight,” is a remounting of an exhibition that was done on the campus of Northern Michigan University in 1990.  The exhibition will on display at the Beaumier Center through August 21, 2010.  

This exhibition will feature three dozen nature photographs taken by Shiras, which are in the permanent collection of the DeVos Art Museum.  In addition there will be interpretive panels about Shiras’ life and work which will give context to the photographs.  There will also be some of the apparatus designed and patented by John Hammer which Shiras used to trigger flashes and cameras remotely.   Period cameras will be on display courtesy of Jack Deo at Superior View.  Research for the exhibition was conducted by Lindsey Strzyzykowski, a student at Northern Michigan University, who also wrote the narrative.  The exhibition was designed by Sean Stimac, an NMU student in Art & Design.

George Shiras III was a renaissance man who changed the way that people saw photography with his revolutionary techniques in capturing wildlife both during the day and at night.  Using the newest technology in portable cameras and high speed film during the 1890s and 1910s, Shiras was the first photographer to successfully capture fauna in its natural state.   Working with his guide, John Hammer, he developed different techniques and apparatus to take photographs unlike any that had been seen up to that time.  His first forays into this photography were done at his family’s camp on Whitefish Lake in Alger County.  So revolutionary were his photographs that he received the Grand Prize for photography at the Paris Exposition in 1900 and published several articles of his photographs in National Geographic Magazine.

In addition to his work as a photographer, George Shiras III was also a politician who represented Pennsylvania in the U.S. Congress.  He was  an ardent naturalist who worked with President Theodore Roosevelt to expand the National Park Service and protect endangered species in the United States.  He saw his photography as an extension of these efforts to preserve wildlife and at the same time appreciate their qualities.

George III began visiting the Upper Peninsula as a young boy, which is when he first visited Whitefish Lake, the location of Peter White’s hunting camp.  Shiras would later marry White’s daughter, Frances, and they would often summer at the White family’s camp on the lake.  Already an avid photographer, Shiras began to use the lake as a backdrop for his photography.  Working with his guide, John Hammer, he began photographing the nature that was so plentiful in these surroundings.  However, must of the fauna was nocturnal or was most present in the evening hours. Advancements in film speed and camera flash technology made it possible to capture subjects at night that previously would have been just a blur.

The Beaumier U.P. Heritage Center is located in 105 Cohodas Hall at 1401 Presque Isle Avenue on the campus of Northern Michigan University.  The Center is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10a.m. to 4p.m.  Admission is free to the public.

September 2009 - May 2010

An exploration of the culture of the Upper Peninsula through its tradition of storytelling as collected by some of America’s greatest folklorists.  From the very first Anishinaabeg stories collected by these folklorists Henry Schoolcraft, Michigan indian agent, to the seminal work of Alan Lomax and Richard Dorson, this exhibition will discuss how the Upper Peninsula’s culture was defined by their work and the stories they collected.  Other folklorists featured include Frances Densmore, one of the first female song collectors in the 19th century, who created some of the first recordings of Anishnaabeg songs at Lac du Flambeau Reservation and the hitchhiking Franz Rickaby, who collected lumberjack songs and stories in the 1910s.

This exhibition will be funded in part by a grant from the Michigan Humanities Council.

May 2009- September 2009

“Hollywood Comes to Marquette County” will feature five different sections related to the movie and book, Anatomy of a Murder, and its impact on Marquette County and the country as a whole.  The first section will be on John Voelker, the author ofAnatomy of a Murder, describing his work in writing the book.  The second section will examine the criminal trial that inspired both Voelker’s book and the movie.  The third section will describe the process of turning the book into a film.  The fourth section will cover the making of the film in different parts of Marquette County, including Negaunee, Ishpeming, Marquette, Michigamme and Big Bay.  The final section of the exhibit will be on the lasting impact of “Anatomy of a Murder” in Marquette County and on American film. 

To view the panels from this exhibition, click on the "Online Exhibition" tab to the left.

April 4, 2009 - May 16, 2009

An exhibit from the Michigan State University Museum

This exhibition explores the dilemmas of Michigan Jews during Depression and WWII, at once increasingly at home in Michigan and the US, yet anxious amidst depression and rising anti-Semitism in the US, and the rise of Nazism, terror, and the war abroad. Five themes include:

  • At Home in Michigan: at work, and within community
  • Jews in the Mind of Michigan and America: present in popular culture at the same time as discrimination, and anti-Semitism is growing
  • Coming of War: as Nazi terror spread in Europe, Americans grappled with their ability and responsibility
  • Jews in World War II: Michigan Jews contributed in many ways after Pearl Harbor, when the US entered WWII
  • Immigrants, Refugees & Haven: as an immigrant nation, America's response to the refugee crisis was limited and restricted

September - December 2008

Christine Flavin, photographer and NMU professor in the School of Art and Design, combines both traditional and digital techniques in her work. She uses hand-built panoramic pinhole and large-format, zone plate cameras to capture surreal views of abandoned industrial landscapes.

The zone plate camera creates circular photographs in which the subjects float in a frame of black, reminiscent of camera technology at the turn of the 20th century when the Industrial Revolution was in full motion. The panoramic pinhole camera provides an expansive view in the large murals of the landscape. The swirling sensation in the foreground is caused by optical distortion.

The photographs on exhibition at the Beaumier Upper Peninsula Heritage Center Museum in fall 2008 document the deserted and crumbling mining operations throughout Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. They present visual remnants of an industry at its peak in the first half of the 20th century, which has now spiraled out of existence. Photographs made at the time of the mining heyday accompany the images of the vanishing industrial landscape, providing a historical perspective to Flavin’s contemporary interpretation.

February 8, 2009  - March 22, 2009

An exhibit from the Michigan State University Museum

The process of weaving rags into useful household items came to Michigan with immigrants from northern Europe. Today, Finnish-Americans in the state's Upper Peninsula continue the tradition, weaving used clothing and other discarded textiles into colorful rugs. Rag rug weaving is a shared cultural activity in these communities. Materials donated by one person may be cut into rags or sewn into strips by another, woven into a rug by still another, and the finished rug purchased by yet another member of the community. Weavers often learn the craft from family members or neighbors, perfecting their techniques by trial and error.

Rags, Rugs and Weavers: A Living Tradition explores this textile tradition through the work of eight accomplished rag rug weavers. Rugs, descriptive panels, sample materials and tools, and photographs illustrate all aspects of rag rug weaving. Viewers follow the process from rag to rug and back to rag and learn how these weavers and others are keeping the tradition alive.