Monthly Archives: March 2015

Upcoming Presentations at the Archives! Cordwood at Coalwood: Cleveland Cliffs Iron Company’s Secondary Industrial Ventures and More!

Several weeks ago we announced that there would be two presentations at the Archives this semester. We finally have the exact dates and times to give you!

First, we will be discussing our new online exhibit about student protests at Northern in the 1960s on April 2 at 7 PM in the Archives (LRC 126). The presentation should last no longer than an hour. It will focus on a brief overview of the website and a description of the research and website creation process. The students who researched the project and coded the website will describe how they benefited from the experience.

On April 10, the Marquette County Genealogical Society and Peter White Public Library will be putting on a Genealogy Workshop from 6:30 PM to 9:30 PM at Peter White Public Library. The Archives will have a table at the event to showcase some of our genealogical materials, so be sure to stop by our table and say hi! Spaces are limited, so be sure to register early with the library.

Finally, the last Evening at the Archives for the semester will be on April 16 at 7 PM in the Archives (LRC 126). Last summer, the Archives awarded Aaron Howe the Grace H. Magnaghi Visitor Research Grant. This grant gives researchers funds to travel to the Central Upper Peninsula and Northern Michigan University Archives and do research. They are required to come back to the Archives at some point and give a presentation about their research.

Aaron is an anthropology graduate student at Western Michigan University. He researched Coalwood, a cordwood camp near Munising that operated from 1900 to 1912, using the Cleveland Cliffs Iron Company records. His presentation uses the information garnered from the CCI records as well as his own archaeological research at Coalwood to examine the daily lives of the people who lived at Coalwood as well as the importance of Coalwood to CCI.


Aaron Howe Presentation Poster


Written by Annika Peterson


Document Conservation and Repair

One of the most important procedures within the Archives is the preservation and conservation of old documents and photographs. Depending on the age of the document, preservation can be very time consuming.  It is important to use the correct procedures in order to retain all of the information from the damaged document.

Paper quality has declined since the 1850’s, prior to the 1850’s paper was made primarily by hand, using cotton and linen rags with a calcium carbonate wash. Paper documents are very delicate and must be stored in acid-free folders and boxes so they don’t deteriorate. IMG_1688

Some of the major contributors to deterioration are wide variations of temperature and relative humidity, atmospheric pollutants and light exposure. High humidity increases the growth of mold and the depletion of the paper’s molecular structure, while lower humidity increases the brittleness of the molecular structure. Pollutants such as dirt, dust, soot and tar embed themselves within the fibers of the paper, which weaken the paper structure.  Too much light exposure can result in chemical reactions that cause the paper to deteriorate.

When documents have been rolled up for an extended period of time, they need to be flattened and placed into Mylar. Mylar is a sheet of plastic that can be used to preserve brittle documents.  The most efficient way to flatten a document without any damage is to humidify the document.

  1. Fill a plastic container with a quarter inch of water.
  2. Place the document on a wire rack, so it does not get wet.IMG_1691
  3. After 24 hours the fibers within the paper are softer and easier to flatten.
  4. Remove the document from the container and place it between two pieces of acid free paper for another 24 hours, use weights at the corners of the document to keep it flat.

After flattening the document it needs to be encapsulated in Mylar.IMG_1690

These procedures make researching easier for patrons. Have any questions about document preservation and repair? Contact us at

Written by Peter Dewan