$10K awarded to WMU for Fort St. Joseph

Published 6:17 pm Friday, August 5, 2011

Western Michigan University will soon host its Fort St. Joseph Archaeological Open House, thanks in part to a major grant from the Michigan Humanities Council. The grant provided $10,175 to help hold the annual event.
“This is an opportunity to witness the intersection of science and the humanities. By exploring this actual archaeological excavation site, visitors will gain a unique perspective of the rich cultural heritage Fort St. Joseph offers,” said Katie Wolf, Michigan Humanities Council executive director. “We are very excited to partner with Western Michigan University to make this wonderful, hands-on learning experience available to the public.”
The open house will be held free of charge at Fort St. Joseph on Aug. 13-14 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.  The fort is located at the intersection of Fort Street and Bond Street in Niles. This event is only one of two programs in the state where the public can witness ongoing archaeological excavations in conjunction with professional interpretations that provide insight into life in Michigan before statehood.
This year’s theme is “Trading on the Frontier at Fort St. Joseph” and will feature ongoing excavations by students under the direction of professional archaeologists, as well as fur-trade demonstrations as they were practiced in the 18th century, musket drills and lectures.
Posters, artifact exhibits and reenactments will bring the past to life and present the relevance of archaeology in understanding our past and future. As part of this grant, an educational booklet will also be produced on the fur trade.
The goal of WMU’s open house is to cultivate public understanding and appreciation for Michigan’s past, archaeology and the history of the fur trade industry and how it shaped the cultural heritage of Fort St. Joseph.
A media day event will be held Aug. 11 from 9-11 a.m. at the fort location. For information on attending media day or the open house, contact Kelley Walter at (443) 226-3626 or kelleymwalter@gmail.com.
The Michigan Humanities Council is a private, nonprofit organization created to foster a better understanding of each other and our state through local cultural, historical and literary experiences for all.