“People, Place and Time: Michigan’s Copper Country Through the Lens of
J.W. Nara,” a traveling exhibit created by the Michigan Tech Archives,
is on display through July 27 at the Peter White Public Library at 217
Front Street in Marquette, Michigan. The exhibit explores the life and
times of Calumet photographer J.W. Nara and is open to the public
during regular library hours.
The public is invited to an illustrated lecture by Michigan Tech
archivist, Erik Nordberg, about J.W. Nara’s work. The presentation
features additional historic photographs and explores the themes
depicted in Nara’s work. This event is scheduled for 3:00pm on
Thursday, July 26, in the library’s community room.
Born in Finland, J.W. Nara immigrated to the United States and
established a photographic studio in Calumet in the heart of America’s
most productive copper mining region in the early 1890s. Nara’s lens
captured downtown Calumet at its zenith, the lives of underground
workers in the mines, local residents socializing at weekend picnics,
and events of the bitter 1913 copper miners’ strike. Nara’s lens also
recorded the Keweenaw Peninsula’s rural landscape, providing some of
the only photographs of farms and farm families during this era. As a
commercial photographer, Nara took thousands of studio portraits –
many purchased by immigrants to Michigan’s historic copper district
and shipped to family and friends across the globe.
The traveling exhibit, funded in part by descendants Robert and Ruth
Nara of Bootjack Michigan, works from historical photographs held at
the Michigan Tech Archives. A small exhibit catalog is available at no
charge and includes three Nara photograph postcards from the
The exhibit will remain on display at the Peter White Public Library
through July 27. For more information on the exhibit, contact the
Library at 906-226-4318 or the Michigan Tech Archives at 906-487-2505
and via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.