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DCHS welcomes new director

Kathy Laakso

I am very happy to announce that Douglas County Historical Society (DCHS) has hired Tony D. Tracy as executive director. Tony, originally from Kettle River, Minn., is a graduate of St. Cloud State University. Although Tony’s degree in American studies and heritage preservation makes him very suited for working at DCHS, he has been working in the corporate sector for 16 years as a general manager with an aviation company and his last three years as a manager with a large retailer. Tony is married and lives in Duluth with his wife Billie and two daughters, Abiageal and Victoria. In his spare time, Tony has been a professional musician for the past 40 years and performs with the band Uncle Lucky as well as solo shows in the Twin Ports area. We feel that Tony’s diverse experience in management as well as the arts makes him the perfect choice to lead DCHS as it continues to grow and happily, Tony feels the same way.

“I spent the last 20 years looking for the right opportunity and feel blessed to join the team at DCHS,” he said.

While I am stepping aside as director, I will be staying on in a different capacity. Our organization has grown so much it’s time to reorganize. I will now head up events, History Theatre and oversee exhibits. I want to thank those who have been supportive of DCHS – financially, through volunteering and by attending our events – during my 14 years as director. Stop in some time and meet Tony.

The Douglas County Historical Society’s new exhibit, “David F. Barry: Wisconsin’s Frontier Photographer” opens July 24 with a reception and program from 5-8 p.m. at the DCHS museum located at 1101 John Ave. in Superior. This permanent exhibit features original photographs of Barry’s Native American portraits as well as his local images of Superior. This exhibit is sponsored by Nancy Day of Framing by Nancy, and is funded in part by the Wisconsin Humanities Council.

The son of Irish immigrants, David Francis Barry was born on March 6, 1854 and grew up in Columbus, Wis. It was here that Barry first learned the relatively new art and process of photography by working for photographer Orlando S. Goff, who had a studio in Columbus. After Goff moved his photography business to the Dakota Territory, he contacted Barry to join him in his studio in Bismarck. While Barry helped run Goff’s studio he perfected his own photography techniques. Later he set out on his own, with a portable photo gallery, and it was during these travels that he photographed famous Native Americans and earned the name Icastinyanka Cikala Hanzi — Little Shadow Catcher. Barry and his wife, Patti eventually arrived in Superior, where they remained for the rest of their lives.

The DCHS History Theatre will hold a reading of its latest original play, “Blind Faith,” from 5:30-8 p.m. on Thursday at DCHS. This reading will also be an audition for roles, men and women, ages 17 and up. Please join us, whether auditioning, just wanting to read, or if you would like to work backstage. The production is scheduled for Sept. 20. For more information, give us a call.

The Douglas County Historical Society is located at 1101 John Ave. To contact us, please email us at or call us at 715-392-8449.

Kathy Laakso is the coordinator of events and exhibits and artistic director of history theatre for the Douglas County Historical Society.