"Do you like 'Whodunnit?' mysteries?" We ask this question of 4th Graders attending Copper TRACES, a program funded by the National Park Foundation as part of its Every Kid in a Park program. Students from the six western counties of the Upper Peninsula visit the Keweenaw National Historical Park for a series of field days, and the hands-on learning connects nicely with educational standards. One of many stations that the kids visit, we conducted 12 workshops over three days and worked with approximately 116 young history detectives.
We use the information housed within the Keweenaw Time Traveler to teach our detectives about interpreting the landscape over time. By using the Sanborn fire insurance plans and a walking tour of Downtown Calumet, these young detectives learn about buildings clearly recognizable on the 1917 map, buildings whose modifications make their histories questionable (unless they search for more clues), and buildings that are lost to time.
For instance, our young Nancy Drews, Hardy Boys, and Sherlock Holmeses learn a great deal just by standing in the parking lot beside the Calumet Visitors Center and seeing how many different buildings used to stand on that spot:
Mud season is MUG season! And we are running the Mug Season Challenge! Here in the Keweenaw, it's still snowing but the spring sunshine creates too much icy crust for good skiing and snowshoeing. And soon enough we'll have nothing but MUD! So if you're looking for an indoor activity to tide you over until hiking, biking, and boating begin, try being a Citizen Historian with the Keweenaw Time Traveler. If you top off the classifications in one year's map, let us know and we will send you a mug as a thank you. Here's how it works:
We have three apps that ask you — Citizen Historians volunteering from home — to collect information from historic fire insurance maps. You can choose your activity: Document Building Materials, Document Building Use, or Transcribe the Maps. To learn more, check out our blog post from September or watch our how-to videos on YouTube.
If Citizen Historians like you finish Quincy 1942, we will run another contest. So keep checking back for new Mug Season Challenges! Also you can track overall Citizen Historians' progress here. Thanks for helping to make the Keweenaw Time Traveler even better. Happy Mapping!
Time Travelers Tim, Rose, and Nick have been hard at work preparing 40 years of Calumet and Laurium area school records for inclusion in the Explore App. These records include which school and classroom each child attended, their teacher, their classmates, how old they were, days missed, and whether or not they were vaccinated. See the video below to learn more!
The Keweenaw Time Traveler was recently nominated for the Keweenaw Chamber of Commerce's Keweenaw Community Sparkplug Award for the Project of the Year. We are very humbled and wish to thank everyone in the community for their support. Happy Exploring!
The Keweenaw Time Traveler was featured in an article in the Detroit Free Press. Co-Director Dr. Sarah Scarlett and Senior Research Associate Dan Trepal illustrate how the Time Traveler can be used to understand how the towns of the Keweenaw have changed over time.
Read the story and watch the video here:
HESAL Lab Director Dr. Don Lafreniere published the Routledge Companion to Spatial History along with colleagues from Lancaster University and Flinders University. The book has 28 chapters, all using GIS in history, to covering a wide range of topics ranging including population flows, urban change, environmental history, and spatial humanities.
The a preview of the book can be seen on Google Books or can be ordered here
John Arnold and Don Lafreniere recently published an article entitled "Creating a longitudinal, data-driven 3D model of change over time in a postindustrial landscape using GIS and CityEngine" in the Journal of Cultural Heritage Management and Sustainable Development.
The article uses the big data of the Copper Country Historical Spatial Data Infrastructure (the backbone of the Keweenaw Time Traveler) to model Michigan's Copper Country's built environment in 3D.
TV6 & FOX UP on our GRACE GIS High School interns mapping Houghton County parks last summer.
The Explore App Lets you Stroll through History
Start looking around! Start the Explore App by clicking on the big green button. Then use the drop down menus to choose a place and time to explore. If you are exploring a town like Calumet, click on a building to learn more about its history. Choose the "Bldgs" tab on the left to learn the street address and any other data collected from maps by volunteer Citizen Historians via the Building Materials, Building Use, and Transcribe the Map apps. Choose the "People" tab to see records from City Directories about who lived or worked in that building. Be sure to learn more about these maps and where this information comes from here. Also, you can see how the building changed through time by selecting different map years and using the transparency slider to compare with today's aerial imagery.
Right now, the Explore app works best on desktops and laptops. We’ll be working on mobile use for the future!
Find a Person or Place using the Search Function
Are you looking for more information about a family member who used to live in the Keweenaw? Or do you have a historical address but you aren't sure where it was? Use the Search function! For instance, a search for "siefert" yields 7 buildings and 9 people associated with that name. Clicking on "George J Siefert, Houghton, 1908" brings you to his house on the 1908 map and gives you all the data available about him in the box on the left. In this case, the Sanborn Map even has some hand-written notes about the Siefert family.
Share Your Stories and Connect with other Time Travelers
The Explore App will become even more exciting if users — like you! — add histories, memories, and photographs that make the Keweenaw important for you. Here, a user placed a point inside the stone building where her family member, Myrno Petermann, operated the Keweenaw Printing Company in the mid-twentieth century. She included a photo of Mrs. Petermann and a link to the photograph collection that she donated to the National Park Service.
Stories can start up conversations! If you have more information or a reaction to a particular place or shared story, leave a comment. The comment function uses a Facebook plugin. The more we talk with each other the more fun it is to Map Your History!