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Annual Local History Roundtable

"Changing Communities"

The 7th Annual Local History Roundtable was held on Thursday, March 24, 2016 in the Mary Idema Pew Library on GVSU's Allendale Campus. Focused on the theme, "Changing Communities," the meeting explored how West Michigan cities like Grand Rapids, Holland, and Muskegon have transformed over the past century and more.

The conversation will continue today, Friday, March 25 in a Campus Dialogue with Prof. Todd Robinson, author of Grand Rapids' book of the year, held 12noon-1 p.m. Please join us!

Todd Robinson

Thank you!

Thank you for making this year's Roundtable such a success.

Each spring, the Local History Roundtable brings together librarians, archivists, curators, community members, preservationists, educators, students, and others who share a passion for local history. The one to two day conference is organized by a local, volunteer planning committee. A different theme and location is chosen each year.

Highlights of this year's meeting included an opening keynote address by Professor Todd Robinson, author of A City Within a City: The Black Freedom Struggle in Grand Rapids. Professor Robinson is a specialist in urban and African-American history. He is currently an Associate Professor of History at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas. Other highlights include:

  • A closing address by Mr. Timothy Gleisner, Head of the Local History Department and Special Collections at Grand Rapids Public Library;
  • Discussion with Professor Delia Fernandez, Assistant Professor of History at Michigan State University, and a specialist on Puerto Rican and Mexican Grand Rapids;
  • Panel presentations focusing on our changing lakeshore communities; and
  • A dinner business meeting for museums, library/archives, and historical society staff.

Kutsche Office members always receive free admission to the Roundtable, among other benefits. Visit the "Friends of the Kutsche Office" page to learn more and to become a 2016 member.


Roundtable Program

Please view our program for this year's Roundtable. 

Local History Roundtable

Past Roundtables

  • 2015 ("Food, Farm, and Table"): Held at the Grand Rapids Public Library, featured speakers included Hank Meijer (Meijer, Inc.) and Ellen Messer (Tufts University).
  • 2014 ("Immigration and Civil Rights"): Held at the Holland Museum, featured speakers included Bing Goei (State of Michigan) and Nora Salas (GVSU)
  • 2013 ("Natives, Settlers, and Founders: Our Shared Community History"): Held at the Grand Haven Community Center, featured speakers included Eric Hemenway (LTBB), Wallace Ewing, and Marjie Viveen
  • 2012 ("Transportation and Waterways"): Held at the Annis Water Institute in Muskegon, featured speakers included Kevin Finney (Jijak Foundation), Carl Bajema (GVSU), Daniel Yakes (MCC), Christine Byron (GRPL), and Tom Wilson
  • 2011 ("Meaning of the 150th Civil War Commemoration"): Held on GVSU's Allendale campus
  • 2010 (General meeting): Held on GVSU's Allendale campus