Federal Grant Gives UWS Chance to Preserve Shipping History

Northland Uncovered: UWS Grant

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Shipping is the industry that keeps the Twin Ports alive and UW-Superior has recently secured a grant to preserve the history of what has kept the area afloat for so long.

Ships traveling in and out of the Duluth-Superior Harbor are a common sight to Northlanders.

Now, thanks to a $50,000 federal grant, UW-Superior will play a big part in preserving the past.

In the aisles of the archive department at UWS are rows of tubes containing thousands of items related to shipping history.

“It’s amazing what we don’t know,” said Shana Aue, who works in the special collections department at UWS.

The school received a National Maritime Heritage Grant from the National Park Service to restore a collection of historic materials from Fraser Shipyards.

The collection mostly contains technical drawings.

“Some are large format drawings and some are on negatives,” explained Aue.

These drawings cover a very large time frame.

“The drawings were in use from basically the 1950s to the 1980s,” said Aue.

Some even date back to the very early 1900s.

Some drawings show just sections of the ships and others show the entire ship.

That’s because these drawings were often used to guide ship repair and refurbishing.

“So they just show a lot of changes in the technology and a lot of just records of work that was done on a lot of really important ships,” said Aue.

Engineers are already calling Aue asking for details.

“It’s important to see what work has been done on a ship previously. It’s important to see how an engine is put together,” explained Aue.

Over the years, documents get lost and parts of shipping history can be forgotten, but this grant will help keep these memories alive in one of the shipping capitals in the world.  

The project is set to begin in July and is expected to last about two years. 

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