Advisory Commission Meeting 10/18/16

Present: Commissioners

Amy Berglund, at-large

Karin Cooper, Houghton County

Sue Dana, Village of Calumet

Larry Lankton, at-large

Bob Langseth, Calumet Township

John Sullivan, Franklin and Quincy Townships

Absent: Scott MacInnes, State of Michigan

Present: Executive Director

Scott See

Present: National Park Service

Wyndeth Davis, Superintendent

Present: Recording Secretary

John Arnold

Present: Guests

Judy Albee

Steve Albee

Rick Allen, Keweenaw Report

Betty Buss

Anita Campbell, Treasurer, Keweenaw County Historical Society

Paul Campbell

Dave Geisler, Village of Calumet

Kurt Hauglie, Daily Mining Gazette

Lindsay Hiltunen, Senior Archivist, Michigan Technological University

Brian Hoduski, Chief of Museum Services, Keweenaw National Historical Park

Bob Holmstrom

Mary Hunt

Penny Menze

Larry Molloy, President, Keweenaw County Historical Society

Nancy Molloy, Treasurer, Keweenaw County Historical Society

Joanne Thomas

Call to Order

A regular meeting of the Keweenaw National Historical Park Advisory Commission was called to order at 1:00 p.m., Tuesday, October 18, 2016, at the Keweenaw NHP Headquarters in Calumet, Michigan.

Approval of Agenda

Moved by Larry Lankton and seconded by John Sullivan to approve agenda as presented. Motion carried unanimously. (6/0).

Approval of Minutes of July 19, 2016

Moved by Sue Dana and seconded by Amy Berglund to approve the minutes as corrected. Motion carried unanimously. (6/0).

National Significance Spotlight: Lindsay Hiltunen

Lindsay Hiltunen, Senior Archivist at Michigan Technological University, presented an overview of the national significance of the University and its archives. The significance of this finding is outlined in the Park’s enabling legislation, PL 102-543, Section 1 (a) (4), which reads, “Michigan Technological University, located in the copper district, was established in 1885 to supply the great demand for new technologies and trained engineers requested by the area's mining operations. Michigan Technological University possesses a wealth of both written and photographic historic documentation of the mining era in its archives.”

Hiltunen began with a concise and engaging summary of the history of the University, as told through its executive eras, noting in particular the multiple expansions of the University, both physically and academically. Hiltunen eloquently traced Tech’s path from its origins as the Michigan Mining School with its local and specific focus on training mining engineers, to its present, highly evolved, incarnation as a nationally-recognized public research university offering a diverse curricula to an international student body.

Hiltunen then presented to an overview of the Tech Archives, describing its mission to collect not just the history of the University but of the Copper Country in general by securing materials that have an enduring historical value. The archives are particularly rich with corporate holdings, especially of the C&H, Quincy, and Copper Range mining companies, which together occupy several thousand cubic feet of archival space. In addition, the Tech Archives have recently been named a Keweenaw Heritage Site, a designation that will facilitate the sharing the expertise of the Tech Archives and other community resources to preserving historical documents across the diversity of Heritage Sites.

Finally, Hiltunen concluded by extending a warm invitation to everyone to visit and use the archives, open to the public from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, as well as noon to 5 p.m. on the second Saturday of every month. Projects ranging from writing an academic paper or newspaper article, researching a property or a family history, the Tech Archives are invaluable resource as well as a key contributor to the national significance of Keweenaw National Historical Park.

Executive Director’s Report

Executive Director Scott See reported on how the goals of the Advisory Commission were supported during the quarter.

Advise the National Park Service at Keweenaw National Historical Park on park planning, preservation, interpretation, and operational matters.

See reported that the Commission worked with representatives from the NPS Museum Services Division, the Tech Archives, and the Finnish American Heritage Center to discuss various operational aspects of the respective institutions. The collective desire of the group is to work together to ensure smooth and efficient workflow in engaging both the donors to these institutions, and the users of their collections.

Develop the Keweenaw Heritage Sites Program into a consortium of fully sustainable sites.

Accompanied by several Heritage Site representatives and members of the park service staff, See attended the American Association of State and Local History Annual Conference in Detroit in September. The conference featured educational sessions, panel discussions, and tours focused on assisting organizations such as the Heritage Sites to tell their stories. The Commission’s Travel Grant program provided the majority of the funding for the trip.

Develop partnerships that provide visitors with a cohesive, accessible, and engaging national park experience along the entire length of the Keweenaw.

This year’s extensive environmental cleanup activity at the Quincy Smelter was completed in early September. The project included mercury cleanup, removal of abandoned containers, cleaning of areas contaminated with PCBs, and the removal of numerous hazardous and non-hazardous materials piles. The $650,000 project was funded by the Great Lake Restoration Initiative, and administered by the National Park Service and the US Army Corps of Engineers. It is anticipated that the final project report will be available shortly.

In addition to this environmental work, See also worked with the NPS to plan and complete several debris removal and preservation projects at the smelter to enhance the appearance of the site; this work will likely continue in the spring. KNHP Landscape Architect Steve DeLong and Historical Architect John Rosemurgy were instrumental to these activities.

A series of visitor events focused on the smelter was held September 10th. The NPS and the Health Department led a morning kayak trip on the Portage, and the Quincy Smelter Association reported excellent turnout with over 100 people visiting the site. That evening, an art opening at the Copper Country Community Arts Center featuring Tech alumnus Gianfranco Archimede’s 2002 photographs of the smelter was attended by around 60 people at the art center.

Finally, See reported that he and Steve DeLong been working with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Houghton County Historical Society in preparation for an EPA cleanup action at the society’s property. The aim is to ensure that the environmental goals of the project are achieved while minimizing any damage to the historic resources at the site. While this work is weather-dependent, it may be completed as early as the end of October.

Promote a historic preservation ethic and emphasize heritage awareness.

See was pleased to announce for the tenth consecutive year, the Advisory Commission will again offer a Heritage Grant Program! It is anticipated that a total of $150,000 in grant funds will be available for distribution. As in prior years, the formal announcement will be issued in December, and applications will be due in early April.

Relatedly, See has been working with Michigan Tech PhD students to analyze and assess the Heritage Grant Program. While it is clear that providing grant funds has had a positive effect, See reported that a more in-depth evaluation to pull together aggregate statistics about the program and gather some qualitative information was in order, to be better able to market the program for future investment.

In addition, See participated in the planning and execution of several NPS Founders Day activities on August 25th. Events were held at both park units, including a ceremony in the Calumet Unit to thank the outgoing Commissioners and welcome new members. Furthermore, over 400 coupons good for $5 off admission at a participating Heritage Site during the month of September were distributed, 165 of which were later redeemed.

Develop the Commission into a sustainable operating organization.

See reported that the Village of Calumet has selected three nominees to replace Commissioner Dana. Once the required paperwork is received from the Village, the Commission will begin the process of working with the NPS and the Obama administration to find a replacement selected by the Secretary of the Interior.

Finally, regarding funding for FY17, See announced that the Commission has again secured our full federal spending authorization of $250,000. In addition, the anonymous donor of prior years has once again pledged $100,000 towards the activities of the Advisory Commission. These combined funds will allow the Commission to continue its work at the smelter, provide financial assistance to our Heritage Site partners, and ensure another year of the Heritage Grant program.

Commission Committees and Projects

Announcements / Executive

Amy Berglund reported that a slate of Commission officers had been selected.

Moved by Berglund and seconded by John Sullivan to approve Bob Langseth for Chair, Larry Lankton for Vice Chair, Karin Cooper for Secretary, and John Sullivan for Treasurer for the Commission. Motion carried unanimously. (6/0).

Budget / Finance

Commissioner Dana reported that the Commission has reviewed the financial statements and quarterly bills, from July 20 to October 18, 2016.

Moved by Dana and seconded by Cooper to approve bills in the amount of $23,232.75, plus wages and tax payments of $19,027.58 for $42,260.33total. Motion carried unanimously. (6/0).

Superintendent’s Report

Commissioner Langseth and the Advisory Commission welcomed new park Superintendent Wyndeth Davis.

Davis provided a pithy and enthusiastic overview of recent news and summaries of key accomplishments of the several park divisions, beginning with the work the Centennial SEEDS YCC Crew, supervised by Park Historical Architect John Rosemurgy, and their work on 13 Heritage Sites over the summer; she anticipates another crew for FY17. Davis also highlighted the work of Chief of Interpretation Kathleen Harter in this summer’s Copper TRACES, an outreach event funded by the National Park Foundation through an Every Kid in a Park grant. This popular program will be repeated FY17, and expanded to include schools in Marquette, Gogebic, and Iron Counties. Davis also called attention to the Park’s component of this summer’s GRACE project, supervised by Harter and Park Historian Jo Holt, and funded through a National Science Foundation Grant through Eastern Michigan University. Three high school student interns created “StoryMaps” to engage curious visitors and residents in the area’s history through an interactive, web-based cartographic interface. This program will also return in FY17, with planning beginning this winter. Finally, Davis remarked on the work underway at the Lake Superior Collection Management Center (LSCMC), calling particular attention to the recent work of volunteers from the Houghton-Keweenaw Genealogical Society in organizing records, and to the work of Landscape Architect Steve DeLong in coordinating improvements to Red Jacket Road and his discussions with the state heritage trails coordinator and others to develop a connector trail between the two units of the park.

Davis then thanked everyone for their efforts while the park was operating without a superintendent, calling out Jo Holt, Brian Hoduski, and Kathleen Harter in particular for taking on the additional duties of Acting Superintendent. Davis closed by noting that next year will be the 25th anniversary of the park, and is looking forward to a celebration that recognizes the many and varied contributions of the communities to the success of the park today.

Other reports from Commissioners

Commissioner Berglund welcomed Superintendent Davis to the park, and reported that she had visited three Heritage Sites the day prior: the Porcupine Mountains, the Ontonagon County Historical Society, and Adventure Mine, and all three reported good seasons.

Commissioner Dana congratulated the Keweenaw County Historical Society on their 35th anniversary, and made the recommendation that an effort be made to record the memories of the founding members.

Commissioner Sullivan announced that the Copper Country Firefighter History Museum will be pairing this year’s $5,000 Heritage Grant to a $20,000 grant from the Americana Foundation to repoint the 6th Street façade. The Quincy Mine Hoist Association has directed their Heritage Grant to the purchase of a new electric car for the adit portion of mine tours, as well as to continuing stabilization and repair of several historic buildings on the site.

Commissioner Cooper welcomed Superintendent Davis to the park, and thanked Holt, Hoduski, and Harter for their hard work over the recent past in their roles as Acting Superintendent.

Commissioner Langseth closed by thanking the anonymous donor for the generous $100,000 gift, and noted that he has written a letter of gratitude on behalf of the Commission, and invited all of the Commissioners to sign it.

Comments from Legislators or Legislative Staff

Nothing to report.

Comments from Keweenaw Heritage Site Representatives

Larry Molloy of the Keweenaw County Historical Society (KCHS) acknowledged the presence of a new directional sign on M26 in Eagle River, crediting the park for its placement and attributing increased visitor numbers to its presence.

Comments from the Public

John Arnold reported that the Keweenaw Time Traveler project, an undertaking of the Historical Environments Spatial Analytics Lab at Michigan Tech with funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities and an Advisory Commission Heritage Grant, has updated the project website with new exploratory tools, and invited the Commission and the public to “time travel” and provide comment through an on-line form as desired.

Motion to Adjourn

Moved to adjourn by Dana, and seconded by Sullivan at 2:30 p.m. Motion carried unanimously. (6/0).

Next Meeting

Tuesday, January 17th, 2016.

Last updated: December 15, 2017

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25970 Red Jacket Road
Calumet, MI 49913


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