Ongoing Programs

Connections Along the Grand River

Connections Along the Grand River features histories of communities, industries, and environments along the Grand River: how they came into being, and the role of the river in their survival and revitalization. The Kutsche Office of Local History partnered with more than 20 local history organizations and local historians in West Michigan. After many discussions, debates, and planning and listening sessions, there is now a traveling exhibit of all featured communities, standalone exhibit panels for each organization, and both a print and digital magazine to share this work even further.

To view the full project, visit:

Gi-gikinomaage-min (We are All Teachers)

“Gi-gikino’amaage-min (We are All Teachers): Defend Our History, Unlock Your Spirit” aims to document the urban Native experience in West Michigan. The project launched in November 2014 with a community history harvest at the Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi Northern Health Center, and the project team began collecting its first oral histories in February 2015. We continue to collect oral histories through this project and digitally preserve more than three generations of Native American voices.

To view the full project, visit:

Stories of Summer

The twin lakeshore communities of Saugatuck-Douglas became an important touchstone in thinking about the region’s LGBTQ history as the towns became a “home for all,” including a college youth invasion, motorcycle gangs, beach-goers, concert-goers, as well as the LGBTQ community. This project documents the area’s rise to become a destination for the LGBTQ community and other contemporary stories through oral histories and digitization of objects, photographs, and ephemera while the people who experienced these times are still able to share them. 

To view the full project visit:

Standing Rock: Photographs of an Indigenous Movement

Levi Rickert, publisher and editor of Native News Online, covered the emergence of the Standing Rock/Dakota Access Pipeline protests that began in 2016. Rickert's work yielded over 1,500 photographs that capture the intensity of the movement. Standing Rock: Photographs of an Indigenous Movement provides a glimpse of the struggle for indigenous water rights and tribal sovereignty, from Standing Rock to Washington, DC to the Michigan state capitol.


To view the full project, visit:

Youth Leadership Initiative

Preparing young people for college and successfully getting them to graduate, apply, and enter institutions of higher learning must start well before high school. The Youth Leadership Initiative partnered with local schools and non-profit organizations to provide directed mentoring, leadership training, and to empower young people and their families through their own local histories.

For more information on the project, visit:

Page last modified November 18, 2020