As part of its new exhibition on the 1820 Expedition of Lewis Cass, the Beaumier U.P. Heritage Center is hosting a day-long Voyageur encampment on Saturday, September 23 from 10a.m. to 4p.m. There will be two parts to the encampment. Next to the Beaumier Center at NMU, there will be demonstrations of trade goods, cooking and daily life of the voyageurs. At the same time, there will be voyageur canoe demonstrations at the Tourist Park in Marquette. Visitors will be able to join the crew of a replica voyageur canoe and paddle on the Dead River reservoir. The exhibition, “Claiming Michigan: the 1820 Expedition of Lewis Cass,” will be open for viewing throughout the day as well. The event is free and open to the public.
The encampment will be led by La Compagnie Historical Society from Minnesota. La Compagnie is a member sponsored non-profit historical society for anyone interested in the fur trade era of the upper Midwest. They offer presentations and demonstrations, and participate in “living history” events on fur trade subjects. They demonstrate life during the fur trade era, including various crafts and skills of the time. They also advocate for the preservation of fur trade heritage and do so by supporting the preservation of original fur trade buildings throughout Minnesota, including the Sibley House in Mendota, the Oliver Faribault Cabin in Shakopee and other fur trade historical sites such as the Grand Portage National Monument and the North West Fur Post in Pine City.
This event is in conjunction with the Beaumier Center’s new exhibition which details Michigan Territorial governor Lewis Cass and his thirty-five companions who travelled over 4,000 miles by canoe from Detroit to the furthest limits of what would become the states of Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin. There were 12 French voyageurs and 10 Native Americans who served as paddlers and porters on the expedition. Their role was crucial to the success of the mission. The exhibition will be on display from September 16, 2023 through January 27, 2024.