The Central Upper Peninsula and Northern Michigan University Archives, located on the campus of NMU, recently received the Historical Society of Michigan's Superior Award. It was recognized for its leadership and service related to UPLINK, an effort to digitize and preserve Upper Peninsula historical records.
UPLINK began in 2021 with a two-year implementation grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission. It is a consortium of heritage organizations, including archives, libraries, museums and historical societies. The intent is to pool resources and skills to make digitization of materials—photographs, documents and analog audio-visual media—and their online preservation affordable.
In addition to hosting the project website, the Central U.P. and NMU Archives is the principal service site in the region.
“UPLINK represents the dedicated efforts of countless volunteers throughout the Upper Peninsula struggling to identify, collect and preserve our rich history,” said Marcus Robyns, archivist and UPLINK project director. “Heritage organizations working together through UPLINK digitize and make available online the documents and recordings that, taken together, become our collective memory for future generations of Yoopers. This effort is a great example of NMU's commitment to civic engagement in the Upper Peninsula.”
"We have been fortunate to work with the NMU Archives and UPLINK for the past two years, and their assistance in helping us digitize our archives has been invaluable,” wrote Cathy Egerer, vice president and archivist at the Grand Marais Historical Society, in her nomination. “With the help of UPLINK and the Burt Township Board, we have been able to create a Grand Marais Heritage Center where our archives can be housed and available for the public to view in digital format.
"As this project progresses, parts of our archives will be placed online for remote access. Saving our local history in Grand Marais and Burt Township is challenging for a small organization like ours. Our association with UPLINK has made a huge difference and allowed us to move forward quickly."
The Central U.P. and NMU Archives has also held related community outreach events at various locations in the regions, where residents are invited to bring in materials that warrant preservation via UPLINK.
Many digital collections documenting the history of the Upper Peninsula are now freely accessible and searchable on the UPLINK website. These include the following: newspapers such as The Mining Journal and Grand Marais Gazette; business records from the Copper Range Company and others; lighthouse records from Ontonagon; and oral history collections related to Italian Americans, the Marquette Women's Center and more.
NMU digitized materials, ranging from yearbooks and historical photos to audio interviews and videos, are also accessible online.
Find more information on UPLINK here. For more information on UPLINK, click here.
Prepared by Kristi Evans and Ian McCullough