Some of the brave and heroic stories of the American West will be preserved thanks to a partnership between the Hauenstein Center for Presidential Studies at Grand Valley State University and the National Park Service.
On May 20, staff and students from the Hauenstein Center will be at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln to celebrate the opening of the Heritage Center, a museum dedicated to homesteading and the Homesteading Act. A Homesteading Reconsidered Symposium will be held, where Gleaves Whitney, director of the Hauenstein Center, will give a talk on American Presidents and the Homestead Act and introduce a panel of presidential experts. The panel will include Bill Barker, a Thomas Jefferson impersonator, and Jim Getty, an Abraham Lincoln impersonator.
Two Grand Valley history majors, Heather Landis and Sarah Gosline, along with Matthew Pear, a junior at Black River Public School, will undergo training at the University of Nebraska to take oral histories of descendants of homesteaders. The students will be interviewing the grandchildren and great-grandchildren of those who settled in the West.
“Grand Valley can be proud of this unique partnership,” said Whitney. “We are excited to work with the rangers and historians at the Homestead National Monument to build up the story bank of homesteaders in the American West.”
For more information, contact the Hauenstein Center at (616) 331-2770 or www.allpresidents.org, or contact GVSU News and Information Services at (616) 331-2221.