WMU News

Fish for All exhibit lands at MSU Museum

June 2, 2000

KALAMAZOO -- An exhibit prepared by Western Michigan University historians that examines the regulation and management of Lake Michigan fisheries will open at the Michigan State University Museum in East Lansing Sunday, June 11.

The exhibit, "Fish for All: Perspectives on the History of Lake Michigan Fisheries Policy and Management," runs through Aug. 27. It 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. The exhibit 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.

An educational program that coincides with the exhibit looks at the history of fisheries policy and the individuals behind the regulations. It will be offered at 7 p.m. Thursday, June 22, at the Michigan Historical Center, 717 West Allegan St. in Lansing. "Cultivating the Great Lakes: Retrospective Views on Lake Michigan Fisheries Policy and Management" will feature a panel discussion with key state and federal Great Lakes regulation policy officials who played an active role in fisheries policy making during the 1950s-70s.

The Fish for All 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 can be viewed at the MSU Museum during its regular hours of 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, and 1 to 5 p.m. on Sunday. Admission is free, but there is a suggested donation of $2 for adults.

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

For more information, contact 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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