WMU News

Fish for All exhibit debuts in Traverse City museum

Feb. 23, 2000

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. -- An exhibit prepared by Western Michigan University historians that examines the regulation and management of Lake Michigan fisheries will debut at the Dennos Museum Center in Traverse City, Sunday, March 19.

The exhibit, "Fish for All: Perspectives on the History of Lake Michigan Fisheries Policy and Management," takes a historical look at the regulation of fishing on Lake Michigan and how it has been influenced by federal and state governments, Native Americans, and commercial and sport fishermen. It is the result of more than a year of research and development by a team led by Dr. Michael J. Chiarappa, WMU assistant professor of history, and Dr. Kristin M. Szylvian, WMU associate professor of history. Comprised of more than 100 artifacts, photographs, documents and pieces of artwork, it also includes excerpts from more than 50 oral interviews conducted by the team.

Chiarappa, who teaches maritime history at WMU, hopes that the exhibit will build greater understanding of the public debate surrounding one of the region's, and the world's, most contested natural resources.

"This is really an issue of worldwide significance," he says. "Fisheries resources around the globe are threatened whether it is by pollution, access or invasion of non-native species. This is an issue not just confined to the Great Lakes."

The exhibit has been funded in part by a $198,720 grant from the Great Lakes Fisheries Trust and by the Great Lakes Center for Maritime Studies, a partnership between WMU and the Michigan Maritime Museum in South Haven, Mich.

The research team was guided by an advisory group comprised of representatives from those groups with a stake in the lake's fisheries, including Cindi John of the Grand Traverse Band of the Ottawa and Chippewa Indians, Forest Williams of the Michigan Fish Producers Association, Ellie Coon of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, Earl Wolfe of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, and Bruce Wojcik of the Michigan United Conservation Clubs.

The "Fish for All" exhibit will remain at the Dennos Museum Center until June 4th. The museum's hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 1 to 5 p.m. on Sunday. The cost for admission is $2 for adults and $1 for children 18 or younger.

Other museums that will feature the exhibit and the dates of those exhibitions are: the Michigan State University Museum in East Lansing, June 11-Aug. 27; the Door County Maritime Museum, Sturgeon Bay, Wis., Sept. 16-Nov. 26; and the Michigan Maritime Museum in South Haven, Dec. 2 to March 3, 2001.

For more information, contact Paula Lange at the Great Lakes Center for Maritime Studies at 616 387-7330.

Media contact: Marie Lee, 616 387-8400, marie.lee@wmich.edu

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