MARQUETTE - A new effort under way to augment and improve the amount of information available on the area's stained glass features is seeking help from the public.
Written information on the origin and significance of various stained glassworks, along with photographs, is being sought. The information will be gathered at the Marquette Regional History Center in Marquette.
"The center will act as a repository for the information and photographs which are collected by individuals. The materials will be archived and available for researchers to use in the future," said Kaye Hiebel, executive director of the history center. "The history center also has a number of stained glass pieces which have been salvaged and donated to the permanent collection. Several examples are currently on display."
This Tiffany window in St. Paul’s Episcopal Church’s Morgan Memorial Chapel is among the many fine examples of stained glass windows in many churches in the Marquette area. (David Boyd photo)
A grassroots group met to discuss the idea earlier this year at the urging of David Boyd of Marquette. Boyd said his notion was spurred on by an assignment he had in a color photography class at Northern Michigan University.
"We were to capture highly saturated hues. I thought stained glass, which has always held a fascination for me, would provide about as rich a subject as possible," Boyd said.
He said several people, including professor Dennis Staffnee of the NMU School of Art and Design, worked on a pilot project at St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Marquette.
"The combination of architecture, history, spirituality and the impact of the stained glass proved to be compelling," Boyd said. "Later, it was thought that an attempt should be made to share more widely these treasures which our community has in no small measure."
Boyd said a group of knowledgeable and enthusiastic people has begun to explore how this might best be accomplished.
"Hopefully, the outcome will be products such as DVDs, tourism promotion efforts and educational-appreciation programs," Boyd said.
Hiebel said the "grassroots community project seeks to document significant examples of stained glass in Marquette and environs." She said the history center was part of the planning committee that discussed the importance of this research project.
"There are many examples of fine stained glass craftsmanship in our area. In some cases there is not much that is known about some of the pieces and when a building is demolished, what has become of the glass panels," Hiebel said. "This will be an ongoing project which the committee hopes will gain momentum as there is increased awareness. The history center will feature stories and photos about the project on our website as information comes to the surface."
Boyd said he has looked at the Michigan Stained Glass Census and the Upper Peninsula is not well documented there.
From the Marquette County Courthouse to the Peter White Library and St. Peter Cathedral and other area churches, there are wonderful local stained glassworks that might not be known outside of the people who regularly frequent those buildings, Boyd said.
There is currently no comprehensive inventory of Marquette County stained glass installations.
To submit materials to the project, photos should be in hard copy; digital images can be included as well, but a hard copy is best for the files. Send photos along with information to: Rosemary Michelin, research librarian, Marquette Regional History Center, 145 W. Spring St., Marquette, MI 49855.
For more information, contact the history center at 226-3571. The history center's website is at www.marquettecohistory.org/.
John Pepin can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 206. His email address is email@example.com.