The Beaumier U.P. Heritage Center's new exhibition, “The 51st State?”, will open with a public reception at 6 p.m. Friday, Oct. 11. Yooper hors d'oeuvres and refreshments will be served. Admission to the reception and exhibition is free.
“The 51st State?” will explore how the Upper Peninsula became part of the state of Michigan and attempted initiatives to separate it from the Lower Peninsula. The exhibit will explore how the U.P., originally the homeland of the Anishinaabek, was acquired by the United States, as well as the financial and cultural realities of statehood in the 21st century.
At “The Frostbitten Convention” in Ann Arbor in 1836, a group of delegates ratified a compromise between the State of Ohio and Territory of Michigan, which finalized the location of the border between the two neighbors. As compensation for giving up its rights to the “Toledo Strip,” Michigan was gifted most of the Upper Peninsula, even though the land had still not been officially acquired from the region's Native American tribes.
At the time, most Michigan residents were angry about the compromise, thinking they got the short end of the stick. However, that all changed when the region's great wealth of resources began to be exploited and helped fuel the growth and expansion of the state and country. The exhibition will feature dozens of photographs, maps, artifacts and documents related to various statehood initiatives throughout the decades.
"The 51st State?" will be on display in the Beaumier Center gallery in Gries Hall at Northern Michigan University until March 28, 2020.