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Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center

Your adventure begins here!

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Open 7 Days a Week (except some holidays)
At the top of Wisconsin,
on the shores of Lake Superior
29270 County Highway G
Ashland, WI 54806


Celebrate the History and Heritage of Lake Superior

The Exhibit Hall

Exhibits at the Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center help you experience the history of the Northern Great Lakes Regiona

Step back in time! Listen to spirited songs of voyageurs singing as they paddle their fur laden, 35-foot birch bark canoe across Lake Superior. Peek inside an 18th century fur trade post. Feel the pulsating rumble of an explosion in a deep-shaft iron mine. Our unique displays stage an overview of human cultures interacting with the land and natural resources of the Northern Great Lakes region, from the Ice Age to the present.

Second Floor Gallery

Forest Losge: Wunderland Northwoods Estate

Fairy Land

The exhibit, Forest Lodge: Wunderland Northwoods
Estate is now open on the second floor of the Visitor Center.
The exhibit is the fascinating story of the deep connection between three
generations of one family and the land they loved.

Ancestral Women: Wisconsin’s 12 Tribes

The Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center is pleased to announce an upcoming exhibit, Ancestral Women: Wisconsin’s 12 Tribes.
This exhibit featuring hand-woven portraits by Mary Burns will be on display June 7 through October 1, 2017.
Through hand-woven jacquard weavings, the Ancestral Women Exhibit honors and celebrates elder women, one from each of the 12 Native American tribes in Wisconsin. These are women who have held families and communities together, and who kept traditions, cultures, and languages alive. They were (or are today) the glue in the fabric of their communities.
Tribal members determined who they wished to see honored in this exhibit. They then provided photographs, which were redrawn and redesigned by Burns, creating the basis for the weavings. Other imagery was drawn into each piece as well, such as a clan symbol or a border that included traditional beadwork – something that helped tell a story about each woman and her tribe.
Included in the exhibit are the 12 portraits, 6 clan symbols, and 4 additional landscape pieces that speak to essential connections
with the land: maple sugaring, wild ricing, birch bark canoe building, and one of a sunrise over water titled Awakening Spirit.
Mary’s inspiration for the exhibit came to her while she was working with the Wisconsin Historical Collections. She was fascinated by an
image of a young Ho-Chunk Woman, Emma Pettibone. As Mary designed and wove a weaving based on this image, the idea for the entire exhibit unfolded. Mary stated, “I wanted to create an exhibit based on an elder woman from each of Wisconsin’s 12 tribes. My hope was to work with the tribes to honor the women they chose and to tell their stories. My goal was to celebrate and create a tribute to these women.”“I created all of the designs and wove them on my hand-jacquard loom. The warp and weft are cotton. The hand-woven textiles connect us to the strength, beauty and determination of these women. It has been an honor for me to create this work,” stated Burns
Mary lives in northern Wisconsin. She started weaving when she was in high school and currently weaves on looms ranging from 10” to 10’
wide. Visit her websites and
Felting, natural dyeing and eco-printing are additional techniques Mary has mastered. She is an award-winning artist, and her work has
been shown throughout the United States. She was an artist in residence at Andrews Experimental Forest in 2015. Her work has been exhibited extensively including the international exhibits for Complexity 2016, Complexity 2014 and the Handweaver’s Guild of America’s Convergence 2016 Leader’s Exhibit.

The Ancestral Women opening reception will be held on Tuesday, June 20 at the Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center from 6 – 9 pm. Hors d’oeuvres and light refreshments, sponsored by the Wisconsin Historical Society, will be served beginning at 6:00 pm. followed by the evening festivities at 7 pm. An Opening Drum Song will precede presentations by Tinker Shuman, Lac du Flambeau tribal elder, and Mary Burns, Artist/Weaver. A Closing Drum Song will conclude the evening celebration.

On July 20, Dr. Patty Loew will also make a presentation celebrating the history and importance of tribal women beginning at 7 pm at the
Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center.

  • Ancestral Women: Wisconsin's 12 Tribes

    NGLVC 2nd Floor Traveling Exhibits
  • Ancestral Women: Wisconsin's 12 Tribes

    NGLVC 2nd Floor Exhibits
NGLVC Indoor Mural

Community of Life Mural

The Community of Life Mural was completed in the spring of 2013. Artist Kelly Meredith designed six vignettes depicting the various ways that residents of the Lake Superior region have lived on and with the land we call home. The six vignettes include tributes to Native Americans, fur traders, loggers, farmers, commercial fisherpersons, and people who love the outdoors, as well as many different species of plants and wildlife.