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Highlights Archives

Exploring the Lake Superior Fur Trade


Fur trade re-enactor Mary Vanderpoel, to whom this year's Connecting Cultures event is dedicated

Historical re-enactors from throughout the Midwest will converge on Madeline Island Friday through Sunday, July 20-22, to set up an encampment at Madeline Island Museum for three days of demonstrations, re-enactments, handicrafts and other activities — all of them directly related to the history of the Great Lakes fur trade. The special event, Connecting Cultures: Exploring the Lake Superior Fur Trade, will explore all facets of the fur trade that flourished in the region from 1700 to 1850. A dynamic group of expert fur trade re-enactors will camp at the museum and present a variety of educational and entertaining programs from 10:30 am to 5 pm on Friday and Saturday and from 10:30 am to 3:30 pm on Sunday. And there is no more appropriate setting for such an event than Madeline Island, which served as an important hub of the fur trade well into the 19th century.

A Widely Varied Cast of Characters

Costumed interpreters will explore the length and breadth of the French, British and American fur trade. Museum visitors will have all of their senses engaged as the traders depict the documentation of the old Northwest through the eyes of a frontier artist, the role of women in the fur trade, voyageur life, the making of glass trade beads, Great Lakes maritime history, fur trapping, the fine art of making trade silver, cartography, and the art of ink-making and calligraphy, flint-knapping, and the daily management of the fur trade. There will be much to see, touch, hear, taste and smell, with open-air cooking, lots of fur trade gear for hands-on exploring, bagpipe music and activities just for children.

This one-of-a-kind, family oriented event brings the fur trade to life on Madeline Island, one of the principle Lake Superior fur trade posts for more than 150 years. The 2012 "Connecting Cultures" event is dedicated to the memory of Mary Vanderpoel — teacher, historian, artist and avid fur trade re-enactor (pictured above).

If You Go

For complete details on admission, hours, accessibility, location and directions, see our visitor information pages.

:: Posted July 16, 2012

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