Heikinpäivä Museum to feature "gizmos"
HANCOCK -- A one-day "Museum of Homecrafted Tools, Gadgets
and Gizmos" will be held in conjunction with the Hancock "Heikinpäivä
Celebration," from noon to 4 p.m on Saturday, Jan. 19. The
Celebration and Museum are being sponsored by the City of Hancock Finnish Theme
This outdoor museum will pay tribute to the ingenuity and inventiveness
of Finnish immigrant men (as well as men of other nationalities) and their sons
who settled or homesteaded in the rural areas of the Copper Country from the
late 1800s through the first half of the 1900s.
When these men needed a tool or gadget, they didn't go to the hardware store.
They made it.
Sometimes they made things that we still can't figure out what they are.
Those are the ones we're calling "gizmos!"
They worked with the materials that they had on hand -- or could find out in
the woods, or in the junk pile behind the garage or barn. They schemed,
they designed, they tested it out, re-worked it some more, until it
"filled the bill."
These men lived by an ethic of being self-sufficient. The rules of this ethic
went something like this:
- If you need it, you make it!
- You NEVER throw anything away!
- If you can't find it today, you'll find it some other day, looking
for something else.
- If you look at something long enough, you'll find a use for it.
- If it breaks, fix it -- with "hay" wire (baling wire).
- You never waste good money on store-bought stuff.
Still scattered in the rural homesteads of the Copper Country are hundreds of
these fascinating self-invented and home-made tools and gadgets.
This is an invitation to citizens of the Copper Country who still happen to
have some of these home-made tools, gadgets or gizmos in their garage, shop or
barn to bring them in for a one-afternoon display during Heikinpäivä.
The "Museum" will be held on the snow-covered lawn of the Hancock
Middle School. All items will be displayed either hanging from wooden
tripods or attached to wooden chopping blocks. Thus, the Museum is
designed for any weather and any temperature.
For the safety and security of contributed items, all items will be attached
either by wire or light chain to the display tripods or chopping blocks.
Rules and Guidelines:
- The item must have been "home-made," preferably invented by a
Copper Country settler or homesteader.
- The item should be of wood and/or metal. Plastic items are
- Items should be relatively small and not weigh more than 10 pounds.
- A maximum of 100 items can be accommodated and accepted for display.
- All items will be registered, tagged and identified as to inventor, maker,
town/township location and current owner.
- Contributors will be given a receipt documenting their contributed item(s).
- All contributed items must be picked up by 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 19,
unless other arrangements have been made for their return.
Items whose name, purpose, or function are not known will be placed in the
"gizmo" category. A contest will be held whereby viewers can
record their best guesses for identifying the object.
Anyone wishing to contribute an item for the Museum should bring it to the
basement Archives Office at the Finnish American Heritage Center during the week
of January 14 -18. Items will be accepted on the morning of January 19 on a
space available basis.
While reasonable provisions will be made to protect the item from damage or
theft, the Hancock Finnish Theme Committee and the Museum organizers
assume no responsibility or liability for the safety of the items.
Contributors need to understand and accept these conditions upon contributing
items for display.
For information about contributing items for the museum, call Vern Simula at
For general information about Heikinpäivä, call Jim Kurtti at (906)
487-7302 or check the Heikinpäivä
Web site at
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