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The Center for the Study of Upper Midwestern Cultures is committed to the languages and cultural traditions of this region’s diverse peoples. We foster research and the preservation of archival collections, while producing educational and outreach programs for a broad public audience. We also assist community groups, classrooms, and scholars with projects involving Upper Midwestern Cultures.

The Region

A territory of woods, waters, fields, small towns, and blue collar cities, the Upper Midwest has long been a cultural middle ground: the meeting place for centuries of Woodland and Plains Indians, the American region with the most entrenched and varied European-American population as well as growing communities of African, Asian, and Hispanic Americans. While the contours of the Upper Midwest are not precisely defined, most consider Minnesota, Wisconsin, and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan as the heart of the region (with overlap into lower Michigan, Ontario, Manitoba, the Dakotas, Iowa, and Illinois).


  • New Virtual Exhibit: Traveling Traditions

    The Sustaining Scandinavian Folk Arts in the Upper Midwest project at UW–Madison is delighted to announce the launch of a digital exhibit, created by UW graduate student Mirva Johnson, entitled “Traveling Traditions: Nordic Folk Arts …

  • Virtual Event: EnCompassing Culture

    We would like to draw your attention to a virtual event to be held over Zoom on Thursday, November 5, 2020 from 6:30-8:30pm. The event is called “EnCompassing Culture: Reclaiming Indigenous Space through StoryMap,” and …

  • New Grant Work At CSUMC

    We at CSUMC are excited to report on two new grants that are being administered through our center for the next three years.

  • Remembering Dean Phil Certain

    Since we learned of his passing on August 11, Phillip R. Certain has been on our minds a lot (https://ls.wisc.edu/news/remembering-phil-certain). Phil served as Dean of Letters and Science at UW–Madison from 1993 until 2004. When …

  • National Endowment for the Arts National Heritage Fellows, 2020

    Two groundbreaking Wisconsin artists have been named 2020 National Heritage Fellows by the National Endowment for the Arts, the highest honor awarded to folk and traditional artists in the United States. Karen Ann Hoffman of …

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