When I first heard of archival work, my first thought was of small rooms with many papers and a lot of dust. I never thought that I would work in an archives. I had only had one experience with archival work before I came to work at the Central UP and NMU Archives. It was for a history project where I had to do some research that couldn’t just be Googled. I went to the Marquette Regional History Museum and was amazed at all the information they had, and that we were even allowed to handle the documents. Now I work in an archives, and even though it can be small and dusty, I still am amazed at how beautiful some of the materials can be.
For example, these books are records from the Cleveland Cliffs Iron Company, and from a distance they look worn and ragged. However as you get closer, you begin to see the intricate design on the side of the pages.
There are other beautiful books as well, such as these Declaration of Intentions which are used in the process of becoming a citizen of the United States. Even the inside of the books contain beautiful handwriting.
Before working at the Archives, I never would have thought that archives were beautiful, and mostly ours is not, but our documents help it to be. This reminds me of our good friend Phil Niemisto, the Marquette icon, who recently passed away. You could find Phil downtown Marquette washing windows or taking care of the pocket park that has been renamed in his honor. I know I’ve passed him on the street more than once. Phil didn’t ask for attention, but was dedicated to taking care of our city. He was once called “The self-appointed maintenance man for downtown Marquette” Phil helped make Marquette beautiful, not just because he existed, but because of what he did. Just like these books help to make our archives beautiful, not just by existing, but by bringing knowledge to whoever needs it.
(photo taken by Cecilia Brown of the Mining Journal) http://www.miningjournal.net/news/front-page-news/2018/02/remembering-phil/
We will be open from 10-5pm during the week of spring break, so come on in! (This post was written by Eliza Compton, arrangement and description specialist).