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Annual Local History Roundtable

8th Annual Local History Roundtable

Registration now open!

The 8th Annual Local History Roundtable will be held on Thursday,  March 23, 2017 at the Mary Idema Pew Library and Information Commons on Grand Valley State University's Allendale campus.

 This year’s theme “Reconstructing Home” examines the history of diverse communities coming to and settling in West Michigan from the earliest settlers to newcomers. We will explore the reasons that spurred these families to come to the region. We also will discuss how these individuals and communities reconstructed traditions of home upon arrival, considering the roles of assimilation and cultural preservation in this process. We are looking forward to vibrant day-long conversations on historical and contemporary examples of how place becomes home.

Please visit our program for the day to see the list of speakers and schedule for the day. 

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 the 2016 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.


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