Archive for the ‘Ye Map of Camp Bearskin’ Category

Mush for a Cure & Canoecopia

Friday, March 13th, 2009

Two fun events involving Bearskin staff members are happening this weekend:  Mush for a Cure here on the Gunflint Trail and Canoecopia in Madison, Wisconsin.


Our musher Erik Simula will be running his dog sled team in Mush for a Cure, a FUNdraiser for breast cancer research. Many events for this race will be held at nearvy Trail Center.   See the schedule of fun events on the Mush for a Cure web page.  A community spaghetti feed, a mass sourdough start (mushers jump out of their sleeping bags to begin the race), and outrageous pink costumes all add to the fun.  Last year Erik received the DORK award for biggest crash on the trail.  He hopes to pass that off to somebody else in this race.

Mush for a Cure started small three years ago and has grown dramatically. If you are one of of Erik’s many fans and would like to make a pledge for breast cancer research  to support Erik and his team, e-mail us at    Watch the Mush for the Cure website for updates on the race.  This event might be one that you would enjoy attending in future years.

You can also get a taste of the Gunflint Trail if you are anywhere near Madison, Wisconsin this weekend.  Canoecopia is billed as the biggest canoe show in the country.  Most of the exhibitors are outfitters and paddle sports retailers, but resorts that offer a canoe country experience also exhibit.  We sent Quinn and Andy off to the show in our big red Bearskin truck with boxes full of brochures, a giant Ye Old Camp Bearskin map copy, and one of Erik’s hand made birch bark canoes.  They are going to have great fun talking to folks about beautiful Bearskin.  If you happen to be one of the thousands of people visiting Canoecopia this weekend, stop by and say hi to Andy and Quinn.  You can get a snapshot view of what Canoecopia is like here:

Ye Map of Camp Bearskin, Part 4

Tuesday, April 1st, 2008

At long last, Ye Map of Camp Bearskin is done and ready to go back up the wall of the Main Lodge. When last we wrote about the restoration, the map was undergoing a humidification process to help flatten it out. (   Mary Britton Clouse of Book & Paper Artifacts was predicting it might need to go through this step several times. The map never did get completely flat, but that is part of its character.  It’s definitely much better.         


The next step took the map on a bit of a journey.  We want to be able to make reprints of the map, so it was taken to Albinson Reprographics for high resolution scanning:


Bert Clouse is the framing expert at Book & Paper Artifacts, so after the scanning was completed his work began. Here he is attaching acrylic spacers to the glass in preparation for “microsealing” the map, enclosing it in an airtight sandwich of materials to slow down the process of deterioration.


The microseal layers were assembled with the map inside the “sandwich” and then the edges were tightly sealed. This will prevent any future water damage:

: bert2.jpgbert3.jpg

The completed picture within its microsealed enclosure was quite a bit thicker than the original water-stained cardboard and tar mess that originally held the map inside the handmade frame.  The log frame is just as much a work of art as the map, so it was important that the finished product somehow fit back into the frame the way it once was.  Bert successfully repositioned the map into the frame and also replaced the picture hanger with much sturdier, more professional wire.


The finished map looks great.  It still shows its age — it could not be made “new” again, but is much smoother, cleaner and stronger.  And we especially appreciate that it is well preserved for the future.


We haven’t brought it back up to Bearskin yet.  I was somewhat traumatized by paying for this restoration, carefully carrying the map out to the car and gently placing it inside, and then as we pulled away from Book & Paper Artifacts nearly getting side-swiped by a fast moving car turning onto Lowry Avenue.  The map is now beautifully preserved from water and sun damage, but unless they encased it in titanium I doubt it would survive a car crash. We’ll get the nerve to carry it up to Bearskin soon, where hopefully it will safely stay for many, many more decades.

Addendum:  The map is back at Bearskin, after a safe journey up north surrounded by a padding of dozens of toilet paper rolls (because that is what people who run resorts always fill their car with after a trip to the Twin Cities.) It is back up in its special spot on the Main Lodge wall, where it looks great!

Ye Map of Camp Bearskin / Part 2

Sunday, November 4th, 2007


We received a short note this week from Mary Britton Clouse, of Book & Paper Artifacts, the conservator (and urban chicken rescuer) who is working on the project of restoring the hand-painted Camp Bearskin map. (

She wrote, “I deframed the map yesterday and documented the process to record the unusual construction of the hand hewn frame. The corrugated cardboard backing was particularly nasty as it had a layer of tar incorporated into the board — an early solution to waterproofing packing materials. The next step was to take upright easel shots to document the front and back of the map and details of the most significantly damaged areas.”

She took numerous close-up photos of the most severely water damaged or torn portions of the map.  Their next step will be to prepare a report detailing “what damage or deterioration is present; what treatment procedures (ie. cleaning, flattening, repair) are proposed; and what risks and or benefits may be associated with the proposed procedures. ” 

Of course, the word “risks” worried us a bit.  But it certainly is far less of a risk for an experienced conservator to be dealing with this.  At first we were just going to take it out of the frame ourselves, until an astute guest asked, “How do you know it isn’t all stuck to the glass?” Or very fragile.  Or glued together in places.  Or backed with cardboard and (who knew?) tar.  So we’re happy the map is in the care of an expert and we’re hoping that the “risks” are minimized by the skill and background of the experienced people working on the project.

This is the map after being taken out of the frame. 

Deframed Camp Bearskin Map

The total damage on the front does not look so bad, until you look closely.  It’s when you see the back that it is obvious that it’s suffered quite a bit of damage over the years. 

Deframing the map/back

Coming soon:  a report of the damage, repair processes and, of course, risks.  Just taking the thing off the wall and driving it down to Minneapolis in the first place was a risk.  Here’s hoping that the rest of the risks aren’t major.

Ye Map of Camp Bearskin

Tuesday, October 2nd, 2007

Detailed section of Ye Map of Camp Bearskin

For decades guests at Bearskin have been captivated by the remarkable historical minutiae found on a large old map in Bearskin’s Main Lodge. Entitled “Ye Map of Camp Bearskin,” the map is dated 1935, and shows details of a world within 8 miles of Bearskin Lodge  that disappeared long ago – private cabins and hunting shacks, logging camps, railroad tracks, stands of virgin timber, areas of excellent moose hunting, secret walleye and lake trout spots. 

The story goes that the map was hand painted by Nell Stolp Smock, a watercolor artist and children’s book illustrator, although mysteriously, her name has been carefully erased from the bottom of the picture.  The large map is encased in a log frame which is a work of art in its own right, clearly hand-built and carved with great artistry.

At the moment, the map is missing from the wall of Bearskin Lodge, which worries visitors who are accustomed to routinely seeing the map hanging in its special place of honor in the Lodge lobby.  After all these years the map is somewhat water damaged and wrinkled.  We decided it had enough historical importance that we should bring it to a specialist in the conservation of historical documents in hopes of preventing additional deterioration.  We’d like future generations to also enjoy viewing “Ye Map of Camp Bearskin.”

Mary Britton Clouse and Bert Clouse run Book & Paper Artifacts, a business that specializes in saving old documents. They also perform urban chicken rescues, but that’s another story. (In fact, here is that story: )  

Many of the old maps belonging to the James Ford Bell Library at the U of M were restored by Mary and Bert.  They found the Camp Bearskin map to be quite fascinating, so they were excited to take on the project.  It will take many weeks to complete the job, as the process is extremely complex.  Mary and Bert have agreed to take pictures as they work and will keep us posted on the progress of the restoration.  We will post the pictures and updates in the blog so you can see the process as it occurs. 

Examining the map