Friday, August 9, 2013

Welcome to the Open House!

The days grow bittersweet for us here at Fort St. Joseph; we grow more and more excited about Open House as the hours draw slowly by and evermore sad as the ominous event of backfilling comes near. Media Day was a complete success and it was so lovely to see all of our family and friends come out and support the opening event of our marathon of public outreach. The sun rose bright on a damp and sparkling vista of Niles this morning (I know we were up to witness it). Setting up for Media day has never gone so smoothly, everyone was so helpful setting up refreshments and chairs. A big thanks to Mary Ellen and Janine for amazing refreshments!
The highlight of the Media Day to the Fort St. Joseph family was the Mayor of Niles, Michael McCauslin, announcing that the city of Niles has given a mirandum of verbal agreement, basically an oral contract, that the city of Niles will do everything in their power to ensure the development for the Fort St. Joseph Interpretive Center. This is a huge mile stone for the project! The success of this plan would mean a place to hold public lectures, do laboratory analysis and house artifacts.
Dr. John Dunn, President of Western Michigan University, talked about how proud he was of the field program and how Western never abandoned the tradition when others turned away. The education gain by hands-on experiences is critical to career success and making you invaluable as a global citizen. This is our 38th consecutive year of having a field school at Western and how we have not just reached out to the community of the University, but to the American nation and global community.  
John Lamore receiving the Volunteer of the Year Award
For all of those physic geeks that claim time travel is impossible: Dr. Alex Enyedi challenges all of you! Step down the incline through the vegetation and you step back 250 years into the time of Fort St. Joseph. You see the buckle that fell of the shoe, the button that was torn off a coat and the dish that was dropped. You will see the story of how people lived but to see the drama, the struggle and achievements of those people, the archives must be opened as an archeologist opens a 1x1 unit. Dr. Brando took us level through level of the documents that show the life and times of Fort St. Joseph. While one of our own, Seth Allard, gave a moving speech about not just history and culture and the change that has been present in Niles but about companionship and the importance of working together. When the French came, they needed Native peoples to show them the ways to survive in their new home and as we come back 250 years later once again we need the help of the natives of Niles to reveal the secrets hidden beneath the soil. The remarks made by all the various speakers today was a perfect summation of everything we try to accomplish during our short time here at Fort St. Joseph.
Special thanks to our volunteer of the year John Lamore, tamer of the wilderness and stump vanquisher of the earth. Our site would not look as beautiful or have as many elegant views of the St. Joseph River as it does today without his dedication to the clearing and maintenance of the landscape of Fort St. Joseph.   
Official opening of the site
The events of the weekend are in full swing! A reminder that there will not be site tours at 2 o’clock this Friday but rather all weekend from10am-4pm during the open house! Be sure to stop by to see wet screening demonstrations several times throughout the day and various other marvelous events!


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