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.
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.
Great Michigan Read: What the Eyes Don't See
The Kutsche Office, in conjunction with the Grand Rapids Public Library, is a Michigan Humanities Great Michigan Read partner for 2019-2020. What the Eyes Don't See: A Story of Crisis, Resistance, and Hope in an American City is Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha’s riveting account of her discovery that Flint’s children were being poisoned by lead leaching into the city’s drinking water. The Great Michigan Read aims to connect Michigan residents by deepening readers’ understanding of our state, our society, and our humanity.
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.
Growing Community Project (Oceana County)
The "Growing Community" Project aims to tell the history of the people who have lived and worked in Oceana County, Michigan by collecting oral histories and making digital copies of family photographs, news clippings, letters, journals, and other materials shared by community members.
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.
Nuestra Comunidad Hispana
Celebrating Holland, Michigan's Latino communities. Launched as part of Hispanic Heritage Month 2015 celebrations, this project celebrates the city of Holland's diversity through the eyes of its Latino residents.
Our Asian Pacific American Community
The nearly 50 oral histories, transcriptions, and photos collected as part of the 2016 "Our Asian Pacific American Community" Project are now a part of the permanent collections in the Herrick District Library in Holland, Michigan.
Grand Day in Grand Rapids
On October 5, 2013, scores of African American visual artists, performers, musicians, and writers gathered to be interviewed and have a group photo taken at the Grand Rapids Ellington Academy of Arts and Technology (GREAAT). Called “A Grand Day In Grand Rapids,” this recreation of an iconic Harlem jazz era photo marked the first time that the local African American art community has been brought together with the goal of documenting their work.
View the full project website.
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.
View the full project website.