Even though groups have already started to arrive to see the
Mormon Print Shop and the Marine Museum, the official opening
is not until June 20th. New displays will be in place, and new
books available. Volunteer Coordinator Joyce Bartels is struggling
to replace three of the 26 helpers required to keep both museums
open all summer. So if you know anyone you think might enjoy greeting
newcomers and chatting about the Islands past for three
hours a week, have them (or you) drop her a line at email@example.com
remember, this is a very rewarding thing to do. She'll
conduct an orientation on June 19th.
Over the winter, much time was spent trying to obtain permits
from the DEQ for needed work at the Marine Museumfor a roof
over the Bob S and a revetment to protect the net shed's foundation.
After much frustration, Township Engineer Gary Voogt stepped in,
and shortly thereafter the DEQ offered to compromise. New engineering
drawings are needed, and Gary is helping with that as well. Consequently
the Historical Society feels this work can be done in the fall.
In the past few months the BIHS scoured its archives for pictures
to use in a collage for the opening of the Moondance Productions
film about Arranmore and Beaver Island, which is just about done.
Another project on which much time has been spent is the preparation
for reprinting Elizabeth Whitney Williams book, first published
in 1905, Child of the Sea. The copyright was obtained by Agnes
Allen and given to the BIHS. The book was reprinted before, but
the plates were lost so the book had to be rescanned, page by
Elizabeths father came to Beaver Island to work as a carpenter
on King Strangs home (she says he built a rear addition
for Strang and Charlie, his exuberant, capable, attractive,
and young second wife, and that wives 3, 4, and 5 had to stay
in the main house.) Mary Scholl finished a wonderful colorful
painting for the new cover, showing a young Elizabeth watching
her husband trying to save seamen just past the Whiskey Point
Light (he lost his life in the process) while the presence of
Strang looms over her shoulder. Her father was one of the last
non-Mormons to leave, moving to Charlevoix in time for the Battle
of Pine River, at which her half-brother Lewis was shot. She cites
several specific cases of why Strang was so reviled.
Other projects to be stressed this year include adding more signs
at historic locations, increasing the exhibits at the budding
Heritage Park (Shaker Hites offered to help create a replica sawmill;
his family has spent their life in this trade), and the continuing
recording of Oral History. If you know a good story about the
Islands past, be sure to stop by the Print Shop so it can
be preserved; with every year that goes by and every step into
the globalized modern age, tales of our unique past become increasingly
The Strang Writers Group's Conference will take place on
May 21- 23, and will include a reading of a new version of John
Baldwin's play about King Strang. The drama department at MSU
is considering staging this in East Lansing in 2006; if so, their
cast may come here, lock stock and barrel, to put it on in the
new Community House Theater.
The Spring Newsletter will go out in early May, filling in the
details and giving everyone a chance to renew their membership
(despite the still uncertain economy, last years membership
total was a healthy 366.) If you're not on the mailing list, you
can add your name by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling
Despite much offered help, the Historical Society could not accomplish
the purchase of the Cull House next door, and it is no longer
available. So now the plan is to push ahead with an addition.
The next few years will be important for making the right decisions;
the way this is done will greatly define how future Beaver Islanders
regard their past. So if you've ever thought you might someday
like to get involved, now is the time.
Museum Week will be July 12 - 17. The Art Show should be better
than ever; the GLLKA Ladies will return; and new presentations
have been offered.
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