About Us

Mission
Giving voice to diverse communities through history.


Vision
The Kutsche Office of Local History will be a regional and national model for fostering intentional and deep community connections through the collection, preservation, and dissemination of the diverse histories of underrepresented populations.

Values
We value deep community connections, respect for storytelling and academic rigor to strengthen communities throughout West Michigan. These values involve bringing together faculty, staff, students, local historians, and community members to facilitate conversations and develop programs that leverage the lessons learned from the region's past. We value diversity in local and regional histories. We value interdisciplinary methods to unearth, collect, and preserve local and regional histories.


Dr. Kutsche's Vision

The Kutsche Office was established with a generous gift to the University from Grand Rapids resident and retired anthropology professor, Dr. Paul Kutsche. Dr. Kutsche dreamed of creating a hands-on history program, and Grand Valley State University’s Brooks College of Interdisciplinary Studies with its emphasis on both academics and service offered the perfect location where students from a wide variety of disciplines creatively blend knowledge with experience.

Dr. Paul Kutsche speaking to a group of people at an event.

Purpose

The Kutsche Office of Local History supports local history and cultural heritage institutions, organizations, and practitioners in West Michigan through expertise, networking, and collaborative projects. We do this through

  • Interdisciplinary research and teaching initiatives
  • Serving as a resource to more fully document, preserve, and make known the histories of underrepresented/marginalized groups in Western Michigan
  • An internship program that places GVSU students in opportunities both on and off campus
  • Publications (print and digital)
  • Annual programming that supports the Office’s mission and connects GVSU faculty and students with community members around areas of common interest
  • Support for collaborative grant writing and training on projects that support the Office’s mission
  • Teaching workshops for community members and GVSU faculty/staff/students on topics related to the Office’s mission

Young people seated at a table and speaking with each other at a Kutsche Office of Local History classroom event.

Our Past: Telling the Untold Stories

Click here to read our 10th Anniversary book and learn more about the first decade of the Kutsche Office of Local History.

 

Our Future: Strategic Plan

Click here to read our 2016-2021 strategic plan, including our priorities, outcomes, and key objectives.