The story behind: This Basket Is My Ancestor
History museums can get a bad rap as boring places that never change. Let us cast aside the notion that they are merely storehouses for relics of the past. In a rapidly changing world museums are striving to be centers for dynamic learning and sharing. We hope that when you visit our facility you will recognize that local history is national history. Our little slice of heaven is part of the larger story of our country; a country that is filled with diverse heritage and cultures. In understanding each other and our history better we can find pride in our shared story and work together to enhance our community.
With these intentions in mind the Leelanau Historical Society recognized that our Anishinaabek basket room was devoid of the human story behind the beautiful works of art. Thanks to the support of basket room patron, Katherine Hall Wheeler’s children, we collaborated with Laura Quackenbush the original curator of the traditional Anishinaabek arts collection. It is with great respect that Laura reached out to Elders, Hank Bailey and Linda Woods, in order to share the history and legacy of basket making. Documenting this story on video felt like the most effective and accessible way to share their wisdom. Laura worked closely with Hank and Linda as well as videographer and filmmaker Rich Brauer. Filming day was an intimate experience filled with meaningful stories, deeply felt and respectfully heard.
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 be premiered at our exhibit opening reception on June 27th 2019.
Please visit the Traditional Anishinaabek Arts Room and experience the history and beauty for yourself, during the museums open hours.