MARQUETTE - From Native American tales to lumberjack singing traditions, the Upper Peninsula has a strong heritage in storytelling.
And U.P. residents will be able to take part in those traditions, thanks to a recent grant to Northern Michigan University's Beaumier Heritage Center.
Funded by $15,000 from the Michigan Humanities Council, the center will be hosting "Stories in the Wood," an exhibit on the traditions of folklorists and scholars from the early days of the U.P. through the 20th century, said Dan Truckey, heritage center director. The exhibit will open at NMU in September.
Dan Truckey, director of the Beaumier U.P. Heritage Center, examines a photograph on display at the center as part of Christine Flavin's 'Vanishing Points: Photographs of Upper Peninsula Mines' exhibit. The Heritage Center, located in Cohodas Hall at Northern Michigan University, received a grant from the Michigan Humanities Council for an exhibit on the traditions of folklorists and scholars in the Upper Peninsula. (Journal photo by Julia Woehrer)
The center is a small museum on the ground floor of NMU's Cohodas Hall featuring U.P.-focused exhibits. What makes this exhibit special is that it will begin traveling the peninsula in May 2010.
"It's great for the university to reach out to the area," Truckey said. "It's also important for NMU to study the U.P. That's what the Beaumier Center is all about."
Many U.P. residents will get a chance to explore the exhibit, since it should be making a stop in each U.P. county between 2010 and 2014 and will be housed in libraries and historical societies, he said.
Through a series of interpretive panels, audio stations and video footage, visitors will be able to examine the works of students of area folklore like Henry Schoolcraft and his wife Jane Johnston Schoolcraft, who dealt with Native American storytelling, Truckey said.
The grant will help the center collect and display the elements of the exhibit. NMU was chosen along with six other organizations around the state to receive money according to Scott Hirko, public relations officer for the Michigan Humanities Council.
Community involvement is one of the factors that goes in to choosing recipients of the grant money, Hirko said, and "Stories in the Wood," as a traveling exhibit, was a strong candidate.
"The program was created to immerse the community in the opportunity to learn about history," he said. "There has to be a component ... that brings a cultural and historical component to the public. This project was very strong in that area."