Arts Center Dives into History of UP Wooden Boats


The Bonifas Arts Center in Escanaba, Michigan, is diving deep into the history of wooden boats in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula (UP). Through its exhibit, “Wooden Boats Afloat: Stories of Traditional Boat Building in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula,” the Bonfias Center hopes to cast light on the impact of wooden boats on the UP’s economic, social and cultural history.

The exhibit includes displays on the Great Lakes Boating School and of Birch Bark Canoes, traditional fishing vessels, as well as weekly informational sessions. These sessions aim to share the history and stories of the UP and its connection to boating. The public is welcome to attend sessions at no charge on Wednesdays from noon to 1 p.m. Total, there are eight sessions in the series, which began July 15 and run until September 7. Previous sessions included a discussion on commercial fishing boats on Green Bay by Noreen Johnson and will conclude on September 6 with a talk by Robert Archibald on Great Lakes fishing history.

The Wooden Boats Afloat series is sponsored by a grant from the Michigan Humanities Council.

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