Digital Programs Hub

The Kutsche Office of Local History is going digital for our 2020-2021 academic year programs. This allows us to share our programs further than ever while respecting the health and safety of our communities. For more information concerning GVSU's response to COVID-19, please visit the Lakers Together website. Our programs will be a mix of prerecorded and live online events. They will cover unique West Michigan historical topics just like our past programs, along with addressing concerns for history organizations adapting to the year’s rapidly-changing circumstances.

Join our mailing list, follow us on Facebook or Twitter, or check back here often to sign up for new events and to access recordings of past events.

Cover of "What The Eyes Don't See" by Mona Hanna-Attisha

Public Health & Public Trust with Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha

Monday, October 19 @ 7:00-8:30 pm (EST) - Register here

We are picking up where we left off last spring by hosting a digital version of our Great Michigan Read conversation. What the Eyes Don't See: A Story of Crisis, Resistance, and Hope in an American City shares Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha’s quest to provide scientific proof of lead-laced water poisoning Flint’s children. The Michigan Humanities Council and Grand Rapids Public Library will join us in bringing this powerful story to West Michigan. Join us and Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha to discuss public health, environmental inequality, and the relationship between true democratic representation and healthy communities.

The 2019–20 Great Michigan Read is presented by Michigan Humanities and supported by national, statewide, and local partners, including the National Endowment for the Humanities and The Meijer Foundation. Learn more about Dr. Hanna-Attisha's work and the Great Michigan Read here.

Two people review documents while drinking coffee at the 11th Annual Local History Roundtable

Coffee with the Kutsche Office

Wednesday, August 26 @ 2:00 - 3:00 pm (EST) - Register here

Wednesday, October 21 @ 2:00 - 3:00 pm (EST) - Register here


To keep our community connected, the Kutsche Office is hosting two informal coffee hours this fall to discuss local history and connect with one another. These will be held via Zoom and anyone who is part of the local history community or interested in what is going on with West Michigan historic organizations during COVID-19 is welcome to join.

Please RSVP to ensure you receive the Zoom invite to attend one or both of the events. If there's a particular topic you hope to discuss, let us know when you sign up!

A statue honoring Union and Confederate soldiers in the Garden of Honor in Allendale, MI.

Deconstructing Confederate Monuments

Monday, October 26, 2020 @ 6:00 - 7:30 pm (EST) - Register here

Allendale Township is home to Michigan's only known monument honoring Confederate soldiers in their fight against the United States of America. It is one of over 700 monuments to the Confederacy erected in at least 24 states, and is now part of a movement pushing to remove these tributes to the Confederacy. The Kutsche Office of Local History is hosting a roundtable this fall to examine how memorializing the Confederacy became so widespread even outside the South, how these memorials contribute to historic erasure, their links to histories of racism, and where we can go from here. Scholars Dina Bailey, Ashleigh Lawrence-Sanders, and Kevin Levin will discuss their own work examining the way America remembers the Civil War and answer questions about the history and the future of these memorials.

Vintage post card for Muskegon, Michigan

Black Tourism in West Michigan

Tuesday, November 10 @ 10:00-11:15 am (EST) - Register here

From sandy beaches to city nightlife, Michigan has a lot to offer people looking for a getaway. However, the tourist experience has never been the same for everyone.Learn more about how race has shaped travel and leisure in the state. Dani Willcutt (GVSU class of 2010), doctoral student of History at Michigan State University, will share her work on the Black tourist experience in West Michigan.

FALL 2020: Videos 101

Click here to get an email reminder once this is available!

COVID-19 moved many local history and community institutions online. Digital videos are a great way to shift your offerings online, but the entire process can be tricky to navigate. This program will provide guidance for creating online video content that is engaging and that plays to the strengths of the video format. This is a great program for institutions who are unfamiliar with creating video content, or who want a refresher on condensing and reformatting their traditional in-person materials.

Artistic view through camera viewer in AV terminal room of WGVC-TV.

News & Information Services collection (GV012-01), GVSU Special Collections & University Archives

FALL 2020: Touring Idlewild

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Micala Evans Cochran, historian, community activist, and PhD Candidate at Eastern Michigan University, will join the Kutsche Office to share stories of Idlewild. This Northwest Michigan community was a bustling resort for Black Americans in Jim Crow-era Michigan. Today, Evans Cochran operates tours of the place her family has called home for four generations.

Beachgoers at Idlewild, 1938.

Getty Images

WINTER SERIES: Archives Against the Grain

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What you don't find in the archive tells you just as much as what you do find there! Archivists and historians will share approaches to historic resources that allow you to see and share a more complete record of your community's history. Learn to read between the lines of common primary sources and where you can find keys to the rest of the historical record. Our first installment is with Leigh Rupinski: Archivist for Public Services and Community Engagement at GVSU, conducting instruction, outreach, and improving accessibility for the university's archives.

People view an exhibit

FALL 2020: Intro to Oral Histories

Click here to get an email reminder once this is available!

Scholars, local historians, and other people interested in “history from below” use oral history to document the voices of those who may not be found in the traditional historical record—women, communities of color, LGBT communities. This also includes people who may not be seen as leaders within their communities. Oral histories capture those every day lived realities. This short video series will provide information into how to conduct oral histories and what considerations should be taken before beginning an oral history project.

Two people sitting across from each other and reviewing documents.

WINTER 2021: L’dor V’dor: Oral Histories of the B’nai Israel Congregation

Click here to get an email reminder once this is available!

The B'nai Israel congregation has been the heart of Jewish life in the lakeshore community of Muskegon for 130 years. Dr. Marilyn Preston, Associate Professor in the Integrative, Religious, and Intercultural Studies Department, used a Community Collaboration grant from the Kutsche Office of Local History to help preserve their stories through oral histories and collaborating with GVSU Special Collections. Dr. Preston speaks on community-engaged scholarship, creating enriching experiences for students and community partners, and the long history of this Jewish community in West Michigan.

B'nai Israel Temple's Hebrew school, circa 1950.

B'nai Israel Temple collection, GVSU Special Collections & University Archives

SPRING 2021: Annual Local History Roundtable

Click here to get an email reminder once this is available!

The 2021 roundtable will look a little bit different this year.

Join us for a month-long set of programs exploring social movements for change in the past and present day. Stay tuned for program details.

Annual Local History Roundtable logo