Keweenaw NHP Celebrates American Archives Month
Contact: Tom Baker, Management Assistant, (906) 337-3168
October is American Archives Month, and Keweenaw National Historical Park (NHP) has three good reasons to celebrate this year. The park is opening its reading room in the former Calumet and Hecla (C&H) Public Library building, renamed the Keweenaw History Center, where installation of a fire suppression system is nearing completion, and they have recently added a full-time archivist to the park staff.
Mandated by law to maintain archival and museum collections, the park actively collects materials documenting the history of copper mining on the Keweenaw Peninsula, and the history of related people and events. These materials are held in public trust by the National Park Service, which is charged with preserving them and making them available to researchers. The park’s museum and archives program is housed in the Keweenaw History Center on Red Jacket Road in Calumet. The installation of a fire suppression system will help ensure the long-term preservation of collections acquired by the park.
Keweenaw NHP’s museum and archives program was established in 1999 with the acquisition of the William John "Jack" Foster Collection. Jack Foster was a long-time employee of C&H and an avid collector of mining memorabilia. Since 1999, the park’s archival holdings have grown to include other mining company records, as well as business, church, local government, and other records. In addition, the park has an active oral history program, documenting first-person experiences of everyday life as well as anecdotal history of the Keweenaw. One focus of the park’s collection is family and personal papers, including photographs, correspondence, and other papers documenting the lives of Copper Country residents. The park hopes to continue to build this aspect of their collections through donations of additional family papers.
Although people interested in using the park’s archival collections have always been welcomed by park staff, the establishment of the Richard and June Ross Reading Room has moved the park one step closer to providing complete reference services. Named for a couple who donated an extensive collection of genealogical materials documenting Cornish immigration to the Keweenaw, the Ross Reading Room will eventually be open to the public with regularly scheduled hours. However, since the historic building does not yet provide universal accessibility, the reading room is open to the general public by appointment. Accommodations for persons requiring specific assistance may be arranged with park staff.
Research inquiries and questions concerning the donation of archival materials to Keweenaw National Historical Park should be directed to Jeremiah Mason, the park’s archivist. Mason can be reached by email, by phone at (906) 337-3168, or by mail at Keweenaw NHP, PO Box 471, Calumet, MI 49913.
Did You Know?
The Keweenaw Peninsula of Michigan was home to one of our nation's first mineral rushes. Prospectors seeking copper travelled there in the middle 1840's, a few years before the "49'ers" sought gold out west. The story of this rush is told today at Keweenaw National Historical Park.