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Finnish American Heritage Center Wins Historical Society Award

The following press release was issued by the Historical Society of Michigan:

LANSING, Mich.—The Historical Society of Michigan announces the winners of its 2019 Upper Peninsula History Awards, which will be presented during its 70th annual Upper Peninsula History Conference in Escanaba, Michigan, June 28-30, 2019. Each year, the Historical Society of Michigan presents two awards at the Upper Peninsula History Conference: the Charles Follo Award for individuals and the Superior Award for historical organizations based in the Upper Peninsula. The awards recognize individuals and organizations that have made outstanding contributions to the preservation and promotion of U.P. history.

The 2019 Charles Follo Award—named in honor of Charles Follo, a school teacher from Escanaba who worked to establish historical societies and promote the history of the Upper Peninsula—is presented to Frederick Stonehouse of Marquette, Michigan. Stonehouse has written more than 30 books on maritime history, and his articles have appeared in numerous publications. He has served as a consultant for both the U.S. National Park Service and Parks Canada and appeared on television as an on-air expert for National Geographic, History Channel and Fox Family. Stonehouse holds a master’s degree in history from Northern Michigan University and has returned to the university as an instructor. He also plays an active role in the Marquette community, where he serves as the city’s mayor.

The Historical Society of Michigan established the Superior Award in 2006 to recognize historical societies, museums and other historical organizations that have preserved and advanced U.P. history. This year’s recipient is the Finnish American Heritage Center in Hancock. In 1896, Finnish immigrants founded Suomi College (now Finlandia University) in Hancock to perpetuate the Finnish language and culture in North America. In 1990, the Finnish American Heritage Center opened its doors on the Suomi College campus. The center serves as a cultural focal point and a national hub for exhibits, lectures, musical performances and community programs. It is also the home of the Finnish American Historical Archive, the Finnish American Folk School and the monthly newspaper The Finnish American Reporter. The center has produced two video documentaries and published two books.

The Upper Peninsula History Conference pays particular attention to U.P. history topics and themes. The conference moves to a different location in the Upper Peninsula each year to explore that area’s heritage. The 2019 Upper Peninsula History Conference’s major sponsor is The Meijer Foundation. The conference’s lead sponsors are EMP (Engineered Machined Products), Escanaba Daily Press, Delta County Historical Society, Escanaba Downtown Development Authority, Bay College and Delta County Chamber of Commerce.

The Historical Society of Michigan, publisher of Michigan History and Chronicle magazines, is the state’s oldest cultural organization, founded in 1828 by territorial governor Lewis Cass and explorer Henry Schoolcraft. A nongovernmental nonprofit, the Society focuses on publications, conferences, education, awards and recognition programming, and support for local history organizations to preserve and promote Michigan’s rich history.

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