Michigan-Wisconsin Border Project Collections

Summary Information

Collection Summary

Title: Michigan-Wisconsin Border Project Collections
Dates: 1994-1996

  • Wisconsin Arts Board
  • Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs
Identification: CSUMC0033-CG

Contents: Michigan Traditional Arts Program Research Collection and Reference Library: 1 report; Wisconsin Arts Board: 17 folders, 59 color slides, 53 black and white photographs, 20 color photographs

Center for the Study of Upper Midwestern Cultures
432 East Campus Mall, Room 332
Madison, Wisconsin 53706
Web site: http://csumc.wisc.edu

Archival Locations:
Wisconsin Arts Board (Map)
Michigan Traditional Arts Program Research Collection and Reference Library (Map)

A joint venture to reach out to economically restrained and underserved areas, the Michigan-Wisconsin Border Project was coordinated through the Wisconsin Arts Board's Folk and Community Arts Specialist Richard March and Michigan Traditional Arts Program coordinators Marsha MacDowell and Yvonne Lockwood. Five fieldworkers explored the five Wisconsin border counties of Iron, Vilas, Forest, Florence, and Marinette in summer 1994, prepared preliminary documentation on over a dozen traditional artists, and submitted reports on each county's cultural activities and needs. Through 1995, six Michigan Traditional Arts Program researchers reviewed its extensive ethnographic archives, research resources, and numerous cultural agency reports, and contacted knowledgeable sources for Michigan's four border counties of Gogebic, Iron, Dickinson, and Menominee. The two surveys resulted in overlapping listings of artists, traditional artists, local historians, museums, galleries, businesses and organizations that support the area's arts and cultural heritage -- over 400 from the Wisconsin work and over 225 from the Michigan work.

Language: The records are in English.

URL to cite for this finding aid: http://digital.library.wisc.edu/1711.dl/wiarchives.uw-csumc-csumc0033cg
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Collection Concordance by Format
Quantity Physical Description Location
Manuscript Materials
1 64 pp. report Michigan Traditional Arts Program
17 folders Wisconsin Arts Board
Graphic Materials
59 35 mm color slides Wisconsin Arts Board
53 3x5 black-and-white photographs Wisconsin Arts Board
20 3x5 color photographs Wisconsin Arts Board


Michigan's project plan was developed by Marsha MacDowell (Michigan State University Museum Curator of Folk Arts and Michigan Traditional Arts Program Coordinator) based on conversations with Betty Boone (Executive Director of Michigan Council for the Arts and Cultural Affairs), Richard March (Folk and Community Arts Specialist, Wisconsin Arts Board), Yvonne Lockwood (Curator of Folklife and Folklife Extension Specialist, MSU Museum), and C. Kurt Dewhurst (Director, MSU Museum). MacDowell and Lockwood coordinated the project, assisted by researchers Dan Gilmore, LaNeysa Harris Featherstone, Nancy (Kless) Matthews, and Lynne Swanson.

The Wisconsin Arts Board's Folk and Community Arts Specialist Richard March coordinated the Wisconsin portion of the project and hired five fieldworkers for short county surveys of artists, traditional artists, and arts organizations mostly on the Wisconsin side of the border. Folklorists Trudy Balcom surveyed Vilas County; Janet C. Gilmore, Marinette and Menominee counties; Gina Grumke, Florence County; and Ruth Olson, Iron and Gogebic counties. Community contact Walt Gander provided a list of contacts from throughout the region.

Project History

In March 1994, the Wisconsin Arts Board held a joint meeting with the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs in Ironwood, Michigan, where constituents voiced concerns about the lack of arts support in the region. That summer WAB joined with White Pine Broadcasting (WXPR) community radio in Rhinelander, Wisconsin, one of the most active and highest profile arts organizations in northeastern Wisconsin, to survey the Wisconsin portion of the region for existing cultural resources. The effort relied on National Endowment for the Arts funding that supported WAB's “Arts in Underserved Communities Initiative” (USC), a partnership with the private Milwaukee Foundation to serve economically depressed and underserved areas of the state.

From August to October 1994, five fieldworkers conducted research in Wisconsin's five-county Michigan border area for the WAB-WXPR project, completing reports that identify more than 400 contacts, including artists, traditional artists, museums, galleries, businesses, and organizations that support the area's arts and cultural heritage. Over a dozen traditional artists identified received fuller documentation. The fieldwork revealed the lack of non-profit arts infrastructure to which state arts agencies typically make grants and a lack of coordination between state programs to support cultural activities across state boundaries.

In October 1994, WAB staff met with representatives from the Michigan State University Museum about conducting a similar survey on the Michigan side of the state line. Through its new local arts and culture contacts, WAB held a series of town meetings in early 1995 in Marinette, Florence, Land O' Lakes, and Hurley to seek citizen input on how best to serve the arts community, since the region lacks arts organizations to which to award grants.

Meanwhile, in Michigan, MacDowell, Lockwood, and colleagues compiled information from the extensive ethnographic documentation in the Michigan Traditional Arts Program's Research Collection and Reference Library and from varied listings and directories of artists, arts organizations, and other cultural resources generated over the years by the state's arts and humanities councils and museums association, as well as the U.S. Forest Service, Great Lakes Indian Artists Association, and Michigan Northern Economics Initiative Center. They also obtained names of more contacts from local resources, family, and friends through field research, phone inquiries, and other communications. Project recommendations included continued identification of resources, dissemination of a published list of artists in the region, an in-depth cultural resource documentation project that would follow up on leads and identify more, and further planning with WAB and the Michigan Humanities Council.

Scope and Content Note

The Michigan Traditional Arts Program's collection consists of a 64-page report, “First Phase Final Report,” authored by Marsha MacDowell and Yvonne Lockwood, regarding the “Michigan/Wisconsin Borders Project.” Dated February 8, 1996, the report consists of a 3-page introduction that explains the project; 3 pages of references and bibliography; and a 42-page “Listing of Cultural Resources” that includes contact information for over 50 artists, over 130 traditional artists, around two dozen businesses and organizations associated with local traditions, and over 20 museums and galleries in the four western Upper Peninsula border counties of Gogebic, Iron, Dickinson, and Menominee. The final 15 pages present maps of the Upper Peninsula that locate selected traditional artists documented through the 1990, 1992-1994 Michigan Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program, the 1985, 1988, 1993-94 Michigan Heritage Awards, 1985 and 1986 Michigan Quilt Project Quilt Discovery Days, the 1992 Michigan Traditional Arts Technical Services Program, and the 1989-1993 programs of the Festival of Michigan Folklife.

The Wisconsin Arts Board collection's folders primarily contain artist contact lists, fieldworker reports, and photo, slide, and sound recording logs. Permission forms are kept in a separate binder with other WAB-Folk Arts projects. One binder contains photographs and slides, arranged by fieldworker. Some slides, and the few sound recordings of interviews with traditional artists, are missing from the collection.

Related Materials

Carla A. Borden, ed. Smithsonian Folklife Festival 1998. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution, 1998.

Ed Brown, ed. 1987 Festival of American Folklife Program Book. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution, 1987.

Marshall Cook, ed. Wisconsin Folklife: A Celebration of Wisconsin Traditions. Madison: Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts, and Letters, 1998.

Richard M. Dorson. Bloodstoppers and Bearwalkers: Folk Traditions of Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Boston, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1952, 1980. 3rd Edition. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2008.

Dave Erickson and Frank Boll, producers. Wisconsin Folks. 60-minute VHS video. Madison: Wisconsin Arts Board, Wisconsin Educational Communications Board, and Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System, 1998.

James P. Leary. So Ole Says to Lena: Folk Humor of the Upper Midwest. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2001.

Yvonne R. Lockwood. Finnish American Rag Rugs: Art, Tradition, and Ethnic Continuity. East Lansing: Michigan State University Press, 2010.

Yvonne R. Lockwood and Marsha MacDowell. Honoring Traditions: Michigan Heritage Awards, 1985-2004. East Lansing, Michigan: Michigan State University Museum, 2004.

Earl Otchingwanigan, producer. Earl's Wigwam. Marquette: Northern Michigan University, 2005.

Robert T. Teske, ed. From Hardanger to Harleys: A Survey of Wisconsin Folk Art. Sheboygan, Wisconsin: John Michael Kohler Arts Center, 1987.

Robert T. Teske, ed. Wisconsin Folk Art: A Sesquicentennial Celebration. Cedarburg, Wisconsin: Cedarburg Cultural Center, 1997.

Thomas Vennum, producer. Earl's Canoe. 27-minute video. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution, Office of Folklife Programs, 1999.

Through the Great Lakes Folk Festival website: Festival of Michigan Folklife Festival catalogs: http://www.greatlakesfolkfest.net/

Through the Michigan Traditional Arts Program website:

Through “Public Folk Arts and Folklife Projects of the Upper Midwest” at http://digital.library.wisc.edu/1711.dl/wiarchives.csumc:

  • 1) Ethnic Music in Northern Wisconsin and Michigan Collection (CSUMC0011-CG)
  • 2) Wisconsin Folk Art: A Sesquicentennial Celebration Project Collection (CSUMC0037-CG)
  • 3) Wisconsin Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program Collection (CSUMC0031-CG)
  • 4) Woodland Indian Traditional Artist Project Collection (CSUMC0006-CG)

Through Wisconsin Arts Board website:

Key Subjects

  • English


  • Amasa (Mich.)
  • Amberg (Wis.)
  • Armstrong Creek (Wis.)
  • Aurora (Wis.)
  • Bark River (Mich.)
  • Bessemer (Mich.)
  • Carney (Mich.)
  • Caspian (Mich.)
  • Cedar River (Mich.)
  • Channing (Mich.)
  • Coleman (Wis.)
  • Crivitz (Wis.)
  • Crystal Falls (Mich.)
  • Daggett (Mich.)
  • Dickinson County (Mich.)
  • Dunbar (Wis.)
  • Fence (Wis.)
  • Florence (Wis.)
  • Florence County (Wis.)
  • Forest County (Wis.)
  • Gaastra (Mich.)
  • Gogebic County (Mich.)
  • Goodman (Wis.)
  • Hermansville (Mich.)
  • Homestead (Wis.)
  • Hurley (Wis.)
  • Ingalls (Mich.)
  • Iron County (Mich.)
  • Iron County (Wis.)
  • Iron Mountain (Mich.)
  • Iron River (Mich.)
  • Ironwood (Mich.)
  • Keshena (Wis.)
  • Kingsford (Mich.)
  • Loomis (Wis.)
  • Marinesco (Mich.)
  • Marinette (Wis.)
  • Marinette County (Wis.)
  • Menominee (Mich.)
  • Menominee County (Mich.)
  • Mercer (Wis.)
  • Middle Inlet (Wis.)
  • Niagara (Wis.)
  • Norway (Mich.)
  • Pembine (Wis.)
  • Peshtigo (Wis.)
  • Porterfield (Mich.)
  • Pound (Wis.)
  • Quinnesec (Mich.)
  • Ramsay (Mich.)
  • Rock (Mich.)
  • Saxon (Wis.)
  • Spread Eagle (Wis.)
  • Stambaugh (Mich.)
  • Stephenson (Mich.)
  • Vilas County (Wis.)
  • Wakefield (Mich.)
  • Wallace (Mich.)
  • Watersmeet (Mich.)
  • Wausaukee (Wis.)
  • Wilson (Mich.)


  • Accordion music
  • Accordionists
  • Animal husbandry (angora rabbits)
  • Basket making
  • Birchbark baskets
  • Birchbark canoe building
  • Boatbuilding
  • Canoes and canoeing--Design and construction
  • Chainsaw wood-carving
  • Crocheting
  • Czech pastry brush making
  • Decorative wood-carving
  • Decoys (Hunting)
  • Dollmaking
  • Felting
  • Fly tying
  • Folk dancing, Finnish
  • Folk music, Irish
  • Gunstocks--Design and construction
  • Harness making and trade
  • Jigsaw wood-carving
  • Knitting
  • Log buildings
  • Ojibwa fish decoy carving
  • Polka musicians
  • Proverbs, Finnish
  • Quilting
  • Rag rugs
  • Rug weaving
  • Religious shrines and altars (Polish-American)
  • Rosemaling
  • Rugs
  • Scandinavian scribe log building
  • Sewing
  • Shrines
  • Soap-making
  • Spinning
  • Stone masonry
  • Taxidermy
  • Weaving
  • Wine and wine-making
  • Whittling
  • Wood-carving
  • Wildlife wood-carving

Traditional Practitioners

  • Barakat, Susan
  • Beekman, Jackie
  • Borzecki, Andrzej
  • Bunij, Joseph
  • Chosa, Ben
  • Dean, Howard “Pop”
  • Goode, Ferde
  • Kruschinski, Willi
  • Logan, Brian
  • Malliette, Anne
  • Malota, John

Fieldworkers deposited documentation at the Wisconsin Arts Board.

Processing Information

In 2005, information about the collection was entered into WAB's Pearl database of Wisconsin traditional artists by staff member Twyla Clark.


For materials at the Michigan Traditional Arts Program, contact:

Research Collection and Reference Library
Michigan Traditional Arts Program
Michigan State University Museum
West Circle Drive
East Lansing, Michigan 48824-1045
Web site: http://museum.msu.edu/s-program/mtap/Collections/

When requesting information, please complete a MTAP Research Request Form and contact the following specialists according to media type:
Images: Pearl Wong, wongpear@msu.edu, (517) 432-5107
Recordings, Archival Information: Lynne Swanson, swansonl@msu.edu, (517) 355-2370
Artifact Information: Mary Worrall, worrall@msu.edu, (517) 432-4118

For materials at the Wisconsin Arts Board, contact:

Wisconsin Arts Board
201 W. Washington Ave., 2nd Floor
P.O. Box 8690
Madison, Wisconsin 53708
Email: artsboard@wisconsin.gov
Phone: 608-266-0190
Web site: http://artsboard.wisconsin.gov/

Consult the Michigan Traditional Arts Program Research Collection and Reference Library or the Wisconsin Arts Board for information on use restrictions regarding their respective materials.

Preferred Citation

Please consult the Michigan Traditional Arts Program Research Collection and Reference Library or the Wisconsin Arts Board for guidelines. We suggest the following citation form: When using direct quotes from a person documented: [Name of person documented]. [Date]. [Tape/video/digital media]-recorded interview by [Fieldworker name]. [Place interviewed]. [Name of collection/project]. [Repository, city, state]. When using a specific image: [Identify subject matter/people in caption]. Image by [Photographer/fieldworker name]. [Date]. Courtesy of [repository]. To quote fieldworker, follow bibliographical style.

Collection Inventory and Description
Series: I: Manuscript Materials
Subseries: Michigan Traditional Arts Program Research Collection
Marsha MacDowell and Yvonne Lockwood, “First Phase Final Report,” Michigan/Wisconsin Borders Project, 1996 February 8
Subseries: Wisconsin Arts Board
Box   1
Folder   1
Box   1
Folder   2
Barakat, Susan (basket maker; Winchester, Wisconsin)
Box   1
Folder   3
Beekman, Jackie (weaving, knitting, felting; Presque Isle, Wisconsin)
Box   1
Folder   4
Chosa, Ben (spear fishing decoy carver; Lac du Flambeau, Wisconsin)
Box   1
Folder   5
Dean, Howard (lure carver; Sagner, Wisconsin)
Box   1
Folder   6
Goode, Ferdy (canoes, snowshoes, baskets; Minoqua, Wisconsin)
Box   1
Folder   7
Kruschinski, Willi (lures, boats, duck decoys; Winchester, Wisconsin)
Box   1
Folder   8
Logan, Brian (Scandinavian scribe log building; Winchester, Wisconsin)
Box   1
Folder   9
Malliette, Anna (knitting; Eagle River, Wisconsin)
Box   1
Folder   10
Gander, Walt - Fieldworker
Scope and Content Note: Includes lists of folk artists and their contact information from Iron, Vilas, Forest and Florence counties.
Gilmore, Janet - Fieldworker (Marinette and Menominee counties)
Scope and Content Note: Final report highlights visits to area museums, shops, exhibits, locations, and the following people: Lyn Derusha (Art Network; Menominee, Wisconsin), Bill Burns (wood carver; Marinette, Wisconsin), Carol Hall (woodcarver; Amberg, Wisconsin), John Malota (birdhouses; Goodman-Dunbar, Wisconsin), Andrzej Borzecki (Polish-American roadside shrines; Armstrong Creek, Wisconsin), and Joseph Bunij (Polish-English interpreter; Armstrong Creek, Wisconsin). Lists include contact information for 67 fine artists, 38 traditional artists, and 24 organizational contacts in Marinette County, and 56 fine artists, 12 traditional artists, and 2 organizational contacts in Menominee County.
Box   1
Folder   11
Final report (Marinette and Menominee counties)
Box   1
Folder   12
Miscellaneous supporting materials
Box   1
Folder   13
Grumke, Gina - Fieldworker - Final report (Florence County)
Scope and Content Note: Report includes very short descriptions of local town contacts plus the following 17 artists: Kelley and Jim Anderson (wood workers; Homestead, Wisconsin), Dan Blank (chainsaw art; Duluth, Minnesota), Lisa Clark (sewing, fly tying, soap and wine making; Florence, Wisconsin), Richard Coppock (woodcarver; Spread Eagle, Wisconsin), Terry Fox (quilter; Spread Eagle, Wisconsin), Vicki Frey (basket maker; Norway, Michigan), Grace Harris (oil painter; Fence, Wisconsin), Mike and Debbie Hedmark (harness makers; Niagara, Wisconsin), Crystal Hogan (Irish folk musician; Iron Mountain, Michigan), Tony Isso (woodcarver; Florence, Wisconsin), Jeannie Jokinen (doll maker and seamstress; Spread Eagle, Wisconsin), Lydia Krivanek (seamstress, crochet, pastry brushes; Aurora, Wisconsin), Bonnie Liubakka (rosemaling; Florence, Wisconsin), Jim Tatosky (woodcarver; Florence, Wisconsin), and Jennell Weigel (spinning, raising angora rabbits; Florence, Wisconsin).
Olson, Ruth - Fieldworker (Iron and Gogebic counties)
Scope and Content Note: Includes descriptive paragraphs about the following 11 traditional artists: Edith Hakamaa (rag rugs; Ironwood, Michigan), Irene Harma (rag rugs; Hurley, Wisconsin), Curt Isakson (basket making; Ironwood, Michigan), Veikko Jarvi (Finnish Folk Dance; Ironwood, Michigan), Joe Kasper (wood carving; Saxon, Wisconsin), Lillian Kostac (rag rugs; Hurley, Wisconsin), Joanne Kula (quilting; Ironwood, Michigan), Elsie Nevela (accordion; Ironwood, Michigan), Sylvia Niemi (rag rugs and Finnish proverbs; Ironwood, Michigan), Ursula Schramm (spinning, weaving, knitting; Hurley, Wisconsin), and Edward Winters (wood carving; Mercer, Wisconsin).
Box   1
Folder   14
Final report (Iron County)
Box   1
Folder   15
Photo logs
Box   1
Folder   16
Tape indexes
Scope and Content Note: Includes indexes for Ruth Olson's interviews with Jeff Prust (chainsaw sculptor; Hurley, Wisconsin) and Valere Vanderschaagen (miner; Hurley, Wisconsin).
Box   1
Folder   17
Michigan-Wisconsin Border Project research
Series: II: Graphic Materials
Subseries: Wisconsin Arts Board
Color Slides
No. 1-30
Andrzej Borzecki, Armstrong Creek, Wisconsin
No. 31-40
Mrugala farm buildings, Armstrong Creek, Wisconsin
No. 41-53
John Malota birdhouses, Goodman-Dunbar, Wisconsin
No. 54-58
Klimek farm buildings (stone smokehouse), Peshtigo-Pound, Wisconsin
Physical Description: Located in 1 binder 
No. 1-3
Susan Barakat
No. 4-14
Jackie Beekman
No. 15-16
Ben Chosa
No. 17-21
Howard “Pop” Dean
No. 22-47
Ferdy Goode
No. 48-61
Willi Kruschinski
No. 62-76
Brian Logan
No. 77-79
Anne Malliette