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Rachel Pott
Rachel Pott
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I am a marketing major about to start my second year at Northern Michigan University, however, this will be my third year in college. I previously attended a small community college...

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The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Dallas WiertellaApril 30, 2024

Exploring the expedition of Lewis Cass at Beaumier

Beaumier Heritage Center’s new exhibit highlights the exploration of Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota.
CLAIMING+MICHIGAN+%E2%80%94+The+canoe+showcased+at+the+exhibit%2C+Claiming+Michigan%3A+The+1820+Expedition+of+Lewis+Cass%2C+which+is+now+on+display+at+the+The+Beaumier+Heritage+Center+until+January.+
Rachel Pott/NW
CLAIMING MICHIGAN — The canoe showcased at the exhibit, “Claiming Michigan: The 1820 Expedition of Lewis Cass”, which is now on display at the The Beaumier Heritage Center until January.

With great celebration, the Beaumier Heritage Center welcomed the opening of its newest exhibit, “Claiming Michigan: the 1820 Expedition of Lewis Cass.” The exhibit opened on Sept. 16 with a ceremony and light refreshments to commemorate this achievement of honoring Michigan’s history and culture. 

Unbeknownst to many, this exhibit depicts the full journey of Lewis Cass (not to be confused with Lewis and Clark—other early adventurers) and his exploration of what would become the states of Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota. However, Cass was not the first to discover these lands and without the guidance of the Anishinaabeg, the Indigenous peoples of the region, his expedition may not have been successful. This exhibit attempts to balance all of these complex histories of North America, despite focusing on Cass’s expedition. 

“It really is a story that no one has ever really done an exhibit about before. You can find bits and pieces in different places, but no one has ever done a full exhibit like this,” said Dan Truckey, the director and curator of the Beaumier Heritage Center. 

Cass’s complex history may be a reason for the limited resources and public knowledge of this story.

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“Lewis Cass is a complicated, controversial figure now. So in some ways, doing something about him is not very timely because he is now seen in a different light,” Truckey said. “But I thought that was actually a good point, and to be able to tell the whole story of what his motivations were. I think that is an important story.” 

Cass also played an important role in the rich history and development of Michigan, even after his initial expeditions into the territory. 

“He was the second territorial governor and was a very important figure in the development of Michigan as a territory and as a state eventually,” Truckey said.

While the exhibit has only been on display for a short amount of time, the Beaumier Heritage Center has already received some positive feedback from visitors. The interactive elements of the exhibit in particular have been popular.

“People have been coming in and seeing it evolve and they just love it,” Truckey said. “The canoe was a big draw. Getting that in here has drawn people in and they love seeing that.”

The canoe was moved into the Beaumier Heritage Center by the NMU Swim and Dive Team, which Truckey was extremely grateful for.

“We could not have done it without their help. It was just essential, and I am really thankful for their help,” Truckey said. 

Many other artifacts, like maps, are on display—which Truckey believes adds to the positive feedback of this exhibit. 

“Once people get in there and they see the map and the photographs, and they see the story that is being told, it draws people in. I think we have had a really good response to this exhibit,” Truckey said.

This exhibit is open to the public and free to attend. Truckey encourages visitors of all backgrounds, not just those interested in history, to visit and learn more about the people behind the history of Michigan.

“I think it is important to attend this exhibit because it is a story a lot of people do not know, or they do not understand the significance of it,” Truckey said. 

In addition to this exhibit, the Beaumier Heritage Center is currently working on a new exhibit to open in March, which will feature extraordinary women of the Upper Peninsula. 

“Claiming Michigan: the 1820 Expedition of Lewis Cass” exhibit, can be viewed during the Beaumier Heritage Center’s hours, Monday through Friday 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. with Thursdays additionally being open until 8 p.m., and Saturdays noon to 4 p.m.

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About the Contributor
Rachel Pott
Rachel Pott, News Writer
I am a marketing major about to start my second year at Northern Michigan University, however, this will be my third year in college. I previously attended a small community college near my hometown, Charlevoix, Mi. In high school, I was a part of my school’s journalism program and helped to produce bi-weekly student newspapers. In my free time, I enjoy outdoor activities like skiing, boating, fishing, and biking. I also love to work out, read, paint, and bake.