Music in the Pines: A History of the Hiawatha Traditional Music Festival
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.
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 amount of workers and volunteers that contribute their time to Hiawatha and of course the dedicated attendees that come year after year.
U.P. Mosaic: A working landscape and its people
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
- Cup and Ball
- Tabletop 9 Pin
- Hoop and Stick
- 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.
“Lost and Found: Historic Structures of the U.P.” Opens April 20
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.
U.P. Power! High School Sports in Upper Michigan
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.
Scattered to the Winds: the Vanished Community of Cable's Bay and Beaver Island
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.
Exhibition: Immigration and Caricature:
Ethnic Images from the Appel Collection
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.
UP in 3D
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 email@example.com.
Across the Border: Canadians in the Upper Peninsula
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.
George Shiras III
Hunting Wildlife with Camera and Flashlight
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.
Stories from the Woods
September 2009 through 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.
Hollywood Comes To Marquette County: The Making of "Anatomy of a Murder."
“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.
Uneasy Years: Michigan Jewry During Depression and War
An exhibit from the Michigan State University Museum
April 4, - May 16, 2009
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
Vanishing Points - Photographs by Christine Flavin
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.
Rags, Rugs and Weavers: A Living Tradition
An exhibit from the Michigan State University Museum
February 8 - March 22, 2009
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.