Annual Local History Roundtable

Changing Lands: Past, Present, Future.

Registration Open!


Registration is open for the 15th Annual Local History Roundtable on March 20, 2024.

Read more about this year's theme and presenters.


This event is free and open to the public.

Advance registration helps us make sure we can accommodate all of our guests.

Recordings from the 14th Annual Local History Roundtable (March 22, 2023) are now available on our YouTube channel.

Dr. Delia Fernández-Jones' keynote focused on on migration, placemaking, and activism among Grand Rapids' Latino communities. Our other panel presentations included a look into the history and current use of County Poor Farm properties in West Michigan with Adam Oster from the Library of Michigan and local historians Marjorie Viveen, Charlie Brock, and Nancy Brock, as well as ongoing projects from Grand Stand Pictures and the Michigan State Historic Preservation Office to document Civil Rights history in Grand Rapids and Muskegon.

Our keynote address is co-sponsored by the Latina Network of West Michigan

Spanish interpretation provided by the Hispanic Center of Western Michigan

Dr. Fernández-Jones' book available for purchase at the event thanks to Books & Mortar of Grand Rapids

Revisiting West Michigan's Poor Farms

Revisiting West Michigan's Poor Farms

Documenting Our Civil Rights Stories

Documenting Our Civil Rights Stories

Making the MexiRican City

Making the MexiRican City

Past Roundtables


  • 2022 (Living with History): The 2022 Annual Local History Roundtable explored how the present informs how we talk about the past, and how we can bring history out beyond the walls of our institutions. Presenters included Afua Ofori-Darko, Kate Crosby, Rebecca Hopp, Kimberly Van Driel, and Matthew Vriesman. Recordings of the keynote presentation and panel discussion are available on our YouTube channel.
  • 2021 (Leading the Charge for Change): The 12th Annual Local History Roundtable took place entirely online out of concerns for the health and safety of our community. Presenters included Katelyn Bosch VerMerris, Liette Gidlow, Allison Lange, Sophia Brewer, David McCord, Brenda Nemetz, and Kristen Wildes. Recordings of all 2021 sessions are available on our YouTube channel.
  • 2020 (Women as Changemakers): The 11th Annual Local History Roundtable, scheduled for March 2020, was cancelled due to COVID-19. The 12th Annual Local History Roundtable will have a similar theme and feature some of the presentations that had to be cancelled in 2020.
  • 2019 (Connections Along the Grand River): Held at GVSU's L. William Seidman Center; featured speakers included: Jan Brashler (GVSU) and the following local history organizations and historians - Ada Historical Society, Allendale Historical Society, Boston/Saranac Historical Society, Cascade Historical Society, Grand Rapids City Archives, Eastmanville History, Grand Rapids Historical Society, Grand Rapids Public Museum, Grand Rapids Public Library, Grandville Historical Commission, Ionia County Historical Society, Jenison Historical Association, Lamont History, LGROW, Lowell Area Historical Museum, Ottawa County Parks and Recreation, Plainfield Historical, Portland Area Historical Society, Tri-Cities Historical Museum, Wallace and Jane Ewing, and Paul Trap
  • 2018 (Returning to our Roots: Explorations of Western Michigan's Diverse Communities): Held at GVSU's Kirkhof Center; featured speakers included: Ronald J. Stephens of Purdue University, Kathryn Remlinger (GVSU), and Andrea Riley-Mukavetz (GVSU)
  • 2017 (Reconstructing Home): Held at GVSU's Mary Idema Pew Library and Information Commons; featured speakers included Professor Bich (Beth) Minh Nguyen (author of Stealing Buddha's Dinner), Julie Tabberer, Head of the Local History Department and Special Collections at Grand Rapids Public Library, and Nathan Nietering of Saugatuck-Douglas History Center. 
  • 2016 (Changing Communities): Held at GVSU's Mary Idema Pew Library and Information Commons; featured speakers included Todd Robinson (author of City Within a City), Tim Gleisner (now of Herrick District Library), and Delia Fernandez (Michigan State University)
  • 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 

Page last modified February 14, 2024