Current and Upcoming Exhibitions

Current Exhibits

"Conserving the Land Exhibit" 

Exhibit Opening Tuesday, June 27 - October 2017

Beaumier U.P. Heritage Center, Gries Hall, NMU

Free and open to the public.

In June 2017, the Beaumier Center opened a new exhibition on the history of land management in the U.P. The exhibition, “Conserving the Land,” looks 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.


Upcoming Exhibits

The Cold War in the U.P.

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 remote place like the Upper Peninsula played a key roll 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. All of these facets will be featured in the exhibit, “Cold War in the U.P.,” which will open in October 2017.

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.


The Immigrant Experience

Beaumier UP Heritage Center – Opens April 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.