The Leelanau Historical Society is proud to announce the launch of an addition to the permanent exhibit The Katherine Hall Wheeler, Traditional Anishinaabek Arts Room. The virtual exhibit and video component features Anishinaabek basket makers of Michigan’s Leelanau Peninsula.  

In 1987, the Society began documenting, interpreting, collecting, and preserving birch bark and quillwork baskets and black ash baskets. In 2005, a unique conservation grade exhibit space in which much of this collection is continually on display. 

The addition of this virtual exhibit honors the human story behind these works of art. The Leelanau Historical Society collaborated with Laura Quackenbush, the original curator of the Traditional Anishinaabek Arts Collection.

Filming of “This Basket is My Ancestor”

It is with great respect that Laura Quackenbush worked closely with Peshawbestown Elders, Hank Bailey and Linda Woods, and Rich Brauer in order to share their wisdom. Filming day was an intimate experience filled with meaningful stories, deeply felt and respectfully heard.  This project was made possible thanks to the support of basket room patrons, Katherine Hall Wheeler’s children: Janie Markham, Gil Wheeler, and Katherine Vestal.

As the last take was filmed, we were greeted with the sight of a bald eagle outside the window. It was a special ending to our day and we all watched with exhilaration as it gracefully flew north. Rich and Laura worked hard to make sure the final video was exceptional and it’s easy to see that their investment paid off. We are all very excited to share the video with our members and visitors and hope that it will facilitate deeper inquiry into history. The video was premiered at the 2019 exhibit opening reception.

This video was made possible by the Wheeler Family