Category Archives: Beaumier Heritage Center

The Beaumier Upper Peninsula Heritage Center is a historical museum and educational facility on the campus of Northern Michigan University. It is located at 105 Cohodas Hall. To contact the Beaumier Heritage Center, e-mail heritage (at) or call 906-227-3212.

Buttons, Buttons as Far as the Eye Can See

NTbuttons2While cataloging items this week, I’ve begun to notice just how many buttons and pins we have here at the Beaumier Heritage Center. They range from commemorative pins to buttons advertising dances, important causes, theater seasons or sports. It’s a bit mind boggling just how many types of buttons and pins have been used throughout the years, and I hope they keep coming in.

This is just a small peek at the variety of buttons and pins that we have. More are on display in the NMU Trustees’ Board Room and other locations around campus. Click on the pictures to see larger images.

Written by Stephen Glover of the BHC



A ‘Greek’ Peek

Piggy backing off of the blog post “Not That kind of Greek…” by the Central U.P. and NMU Archives, the BHC presents some of the artifacts we have connected to Greek life here at NMU.


Although hard to read, this trophy says “Rush Float Winner Tau Pi Nu 1937”

Rush, which was somewhat similar to “Greek Week,” was always a big deal for the sororities and fraternities at NMU. In the earlier years of the university’s history, a parade was held during this week and the Greeks would make floats for it. Every year a winner for best float was awarded a little trophy. This one was given to the sorority Tau Pi Nu for their 1937 float.


Fraternity paddle for Delta Sigma Phi

We have a number of paddles from a variety of Fraternities. Paddles are typically handmade by the student entering the fraternity or sorority. What the paddles are used for after they are made depends on the organization, though recent hazing laws have reduced them to being mostly ceremonial in nature.


Mugs for Alpha Phi Omega and Tri Mu

There are lots of nick-knacks associated with the Greek associations, a couple of prime examples that we have are these two mugs. Each is associated with a different fraternity.

These items are currently off display.

Written by Stephen Glover of the BHC

Ishpeming’s Gossard Factory

NTbeaumier1 Today we have a slightly unusual item from the BHC collection. It is a corset made by the H.W. Gossard Company. This item is in our collection because although the company was originally founded in Chicago, in 1920 they bought a warehouse in Ishpeming and turned it into a new factory. This corset was made during the time it was in operation.

NTbeaumier2The factory was a very important part of the community in Ishpeming for as long as it was open. In its hay day, the factory employed well over 500 people, the vast majority of which were women, and helped to pump money into the city’s economy. The factory was in operation until December 31, 1976. The building is now the Pioneer mall in downtown Ishpeming.

This item is currently off display.

Written by Stephen Glover of the BHC

Show And Tell – Artifact Descriptions

Every item donated to us here at the Beaumier Heritage Center is placed into our database. The database allows us to keep track of what we have and where everything is located. We try to record as much information about the artifact as possible. Although there are things we might not know about the object, we can always at least put in its description. This is arguably some of the most important information we collect (second only to its story).

This sounds like very obvious information, and it is, but it is not always easy to describe some of the objects in our procession. The description needs to be specific enough that someone who is searching for the item has an approximate idea of what they are looking for and would be able to distinguish it from other similar objects.

How would you describe these objects? You can see our descriptions below.

Object A

Object A

Object B

Object B

Object C

Object C

A) Thermometer encased in a decorative wooden handle. The end of the wood contains a sharp copper point, similar looking to a bullet. The top of the wooden handle is threaded with a string for hanging. The front of the wood face is carved out to display the thermometer which ranges from 18 F – 84 F.

B) Black handkerchief with symbols of animals in red, yellow, white, and black.

C) Metal amulet on a red velvet lanyard. It is in the shape of an oval and a pedestal in the middle with ‘flames’ in the shape of an E and S.

Written By Stephen Glover of the BHC.

The Photometer

The outside of the photometer

The outside of the photometer

As I’ve stated over (and probably over again) in past posts, we at the Beaumier Heritage Center have a plethora of items. One of our larger collections is of old scientific equipment, much of which came from NMU’s physics department. Many of the items were identified by professors of the department around 1999. Luckily, this item was one of them. If we hadn’t been told what it was, we may never have been able to guess exactly what it was.

This artifact is called a Bunsen Photometer and its use was described to us by Dr. Mark Jacobs, Associate Professor in the NMU Physics department.

“The eyeshade/mirror arrangement lets the user look at both light sources (at either end) simultaneously. The images are diffused and combined. The position of the slider is adjusted until the (combined) image has uniform brightness. Then the relative brightness of the two sources can be computed from:

(L1 / L2)= (d1 / d2)2

Where d1 and d2 are distances read on a scale.” -05/07/1999

Where the candle would go

Where the candle would go

This once again illustrates the importance of having a clear understating of the items that are coming into a collection and getting as much information as possible from the people that are gifting these items. And so the mystery of this strange device was never a burden to any poor undergraduate to find out, which I, for one, am very glad.

Written by Stephen Glover of the BHC

A Different Way to Store Pictures


2007.1.194.bThese plates are mostly made of copper and wood and are used in the lithographic printing process. The process is fairly simple and uses the fact that water and oil (in this case an oil based ink) do not mix. It has been widely used since the 1800’s to produce large volumes of printed material; it is even used today, though the process is slightly different.At the Beaumier Heritage Center we deal with 3D artifacts, like buttons and computers, and let the Central Upper Peninsula and Northern Michigan University Archives have the 2D stuff, like papers and photographs. However, we have a large collection of over 350 pictures, documents and newspapers. Why do we have them? Because they are all in the form of printing plates.

2007.1.209.bOur collection contains numerous photographs, parts of newspapers, documents and yearbooks. These items are extremely important because, for many of them, they are the only copy of the images that we have. They are the equivalent to a photograph’s negative or to a .jpeg file. And many of them are from the earliest days of NMU’s history.

These items are not on display, but we do allow people to look through them for research purposes at the BHC.


Written by Stephen Glover of the BHC

David Reid: An Olympic Champion

Mitchell and Reid

Reid shortly after winning his Olympic gold medal with his coach and mentor, Al Mitchell.

Established in 1987, NMU’s boxing program trained many athletes in its 21 years that went on to have great careers. One of those greats is David “American Dream” Reid. Reid had successful amateur- and pro-careers before retiring in 2001.

Probably the biggest highlight from his career is his attendance at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. There, he won the gold medal in the light middleweight division of boxing.

Reid and Wong

Taken while Les Wong was NMU president and Reid was coaching.

Reid then started his pro career, where he went undefeated for 17 fights. As his career continued he seemed to falter a bit, gaining his last few wins with extremely close scores and eventually losing 2 fights that were believed to have been relatively easy fights. He retried with a 17-2 record with 7 Kos.

After retiring from his pro-career, he made his way back to NMU and was an assistant and volunteer coach for the boxing program at the USOEC until the program was suspended in 2008.

His gold medal is currently in the USOEC display case in the Superior Dome.