2014-06-26 / Front Page

Historical Society Earns Award

Les Cheneaux
By Paul Gingras


Members of the Les Cheneaux Historical Association (LCHA) with the Superior Award at the Les Cheneaux Historical Museum in Cedarville Monday, June 23. Pictured (from left) are museum curator Mary Hill, historical association vice president Shirley Jewell, and beautification committee president Margie Denoyer. Mrs. Denoyer is holding a folder packed with support letters and information sent to the historical society explaining the impact and activities of the historical association. The LCHA Board of Directors includes president Gayle Herron, vice president Shirley Jewell, treasurer Deb St. Onge, secretary Laurel Jellison, Barbara Smith, Dewey Lopes, Ernest Hagen, John Shoberg, Tammy Cruickshank, Charles Haske, and Dennis Polk. Members of the Les Cheneaux Historical Association (LCHA) with the Superior Award at the Les Cheneaux Historical Museum in Cedarville Monday, June 23. Pictured (from left) are museum curator Mary Hill, historical association vice president Shirley Jewell, and beautification committee president Margie Denoyer. Mrs. Denoyer is holding a folder packed with support letters and information sent to the historical society explaining the impact and activities of the historical association. The LCHA Board of Directors includes president Gayle Herron, vice president Shirley Jewell, treasurer Deb St. Onge, secretary Laurel Jellison, Barbara Smith, Dewey Lopes, Ernest Hagen, John Shoberg, Tammy Cruickshank, Charles Haske, and Dennis Polk. Celebrating the Les Cheneaux Historical Association’s outstanding preservation of local history, and promotion of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, the association received the Superior Award at the Historical Society of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula History Conference Saturday, June 21. Representatives joined members of the Les Cheneaux Beautification Committee at Blaney Park to accept the honor, a gathering that included more than 150 people dedicated to the art and history of the region.

An acknowledgment of excellence, the Superior Award has been offered every year since 2006. The goal is to acknowledge historical societies, museums, and other organizations that conduct research, develop archives, and promote local history. The LCHA includes about 225 members who support historical facilities, their associated programs, and community gatherings.

It is fulfilling to know that LCHA efforts are held in such high regard, said Mary Hill, curator of the Les Cheneaux Historical Museum in Cedarville. Its members work hard to compile history for the benefit of future generations, she told The St. Ignace News. Because of that, “we feel very good that we’ve been recognized for all the work that we do.”

The Les Cheneaux Beautification Committee nominated the historical society for the award. Representing the committee at the banquet were Robert W. Smith, Sue and Ken Drenth, and Margie and Chuck Denoyer. Historical society representatives included Mrs. Hill and Janet and Ernie Hagen.

Among its achievements, the organization operates two museums, sponsors the Antique Wooden Boat Show in Hessel, and offers artist-ofthe week workshops, music programs, and a speaker series. These and other achievements sparked the nomination.

“They’ve done a nice job and deserve recognition,” Mrs. Denoyer said.

Supporting the nomination were the Les Cheneaux Islands Association, the Clark Township Board of Trustees, the Les Cheneaux Lions Club, Les Cheneaux Community Schools, and the Les Cheneaux Chamber of Commerce and Tourist Association.

On behalf of LCHA president Gayle Herron, who did not attend the conference, Mrs. Hill read her comments to the assembly. Mrs. Herron acknowledged LCHA supporters, employees, and volunteers, including “our very talented craftsmen in the boat shop at the Maritime [Museum who] build either a beautiful canoe or kayak to raffle off as a fundraiser to help support the operating costs of the museums. The canoe this year is Wee Lassie, and it is magnificent,” she said.

“In turn, the lades from the Quilter’s Guild create and stich a gorgeous quilt that is also raffled at the end of the summer…the Les Cheneaux

Historical Association enjoys a great working relationship with many organizations in the community and we wish to thank them for their support,” she added.

Mrs. Herron and Mrs. Hill are central to developing archives and offering activities at the historical museum and its counterpart, the Les Cheneaux Maritime Museum. Mrs. Hill said she strives to develop the facilities for future generations to access collections ranging from wooden boats to the memorabilia of generations of island residents, to stories and artifacts related to the original settlers of Cedarville, Hessel, and outlying areas.

For Mrs. Hill, the best part of her job is making displays. The museums contain images that could have been easily lost in obscurity, and the museums themselves are buildings straight out of the past. A gift from a local family, the log cabin at the historical museum was moved to Cedarville from Hessel, and the maritime museum is a developed, historical boathouse.

LCHA members are on hand throughout the summer to explain key sites to visitors and residents. The organization also supports the arts by offering an artist-of-the week workshop, music programs, and a speaker series.

In her nomination letter for the Superior Award, the Mrs. Denoyer explained that developing a strong connection to history arose naturally in the Les Cheneaux Islands area.

“This area of Michigan is historically wealthy,” she said. “The waterways were once highways of the voyageurs, the rich resources were fought over in wars, the Native American culture and heritage is present and thriving, and fishing, logging and mining continue to be important to both our past and present.”

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