Recorded Webinars & Programs

Archives Against the Grain series

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. Explore the full playlist here, where you can hear from:

  • Leigh Rupinski: Archivist for Public Services and Community Engagement at GVSU.
  • Delia Fernández: Assistant Professor in Michigan State University's department of history. Fernández discusses her experiences with trying to locate Latina/o stories in the archives, particularly those in her hometown of Grand Rapids.
  • Christine Byron: Retired local history librarian and author on the basics of what you can expect to find in a local history archive and how to look for stories and materials that are often left out.
  • Gina Bivins: Board member of Grand Rapids Historical Society on the role museums and museum collections can play in recognizing and correcting archival gaps.


This list will be updated as new programs occur throughout 2021.

2020-2021 Programs

For the health and safety of our community, the Kutsche Office of Local History switched to all-online programming for the 2020-2021 academic year. This broad series of webinars included live and pre-recorded content, with a wide variety of topics and guests that all touch on West Michigan's local history.


  • “L’dor V’dor: Jewish Histories of Muskegon” with Marilyn Preston: Dr. Preston speaks on community-engaged scholarship, creating enriching experiences for students and community partners, and the 130-year history of Muskegon's B'nai Israel congregation. This work was supported by the Kutsche Office's Community Collaboration grant. There are also shorter excerpts from this video available, including reflections on the importance of oral histories, research ethics and oral histories, and advice on developing a community-based learning course.
  • Public Health & Public Trust with Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha (INT 100/201 approved): Flint, MI pediatrician and State Representative Rachel Hood discuss public health, environmental inequality, and the relationship between true democratic representation and healthy communities (Must be logged into a GVSU Blackboard account to view).
  • Deconstructing Confederate Monuments (INT 100/201 approved): Using Allendale, MI's Confederate soldier monument as a jumping-off point, scholars Dina Bailey, Ashleigh Lawrence-Sanders, and Kevin Levin examine how memorializing the Confederacy became so widespread, how Confederate memorialization contributes to racism and historic erasure, and where we can go from here.
  • Memories of Historic Woodland Park (INT 100/201 approved): Author Dianna Cross Toran shares the history and generations of stories from Newaygo county's Woodland Park, an historically Black family resort community.
  • Black Tourism in West Michigan (INT 100/201 approved): Dani Willcutt (GVSU class of 2010) explores how race has shaped travel and leisure in the Great Lakes State. 
  • The Lowell Showboat: Blackface Minstrels & Community Identity in Lowell, MI (coming June 18, 2021): GVSU professors of history Matthew Daley and Scott Stabler trace the history of Lowell, MI's popular blackface minstrel showboat performances, which lasted from 1932-1977.
  • Oral Histories & GVSU Veterans History Project (coming July 1, 2021): James Smither, Director of GVSU's Veterans History Project, reflects on working with veteran communities and the interesting places oral history projects can go.
  • Anthropology & Local History (coming July 12, 2021): GVSU professor emerita Jan Brashler highlights the rich connections between anthropology, archaeology, and local history in West Michigan.


The Kutsche Office of Local History has a slate of online tutorials to assist people with different aspects of recording, sharing, and planning projects related to local history.

Using the digitized Stories of Summer collection at Grand Valley State University's Special Collections & University Archives, these videos walk viewers through conducting research in a digital archive, analyzing sources, working with digitized oral histories, and special considerations for different kinds of archival materials. This project was supported by a National Endowment for the Humanities Common Heritage grant.


This five-part series of video shorts provides information into how to conduct oral histories and what considerations should be taken before beginning an oral history project.

12th Annual Local History Roundtable: Leading the Charge for Change

The 12th Annual Local History Roundtable centers around the idea of women Leading the Charge for Change. A series of three live Zoom webinars explore the way West Michigan women have collaborated to create change in their communities.


View the full playlist at, including

Grand Rapids Time Traveler series

The Grand Rapids Time Traveler series explores the history of West Michigan's largest city, decade by decade. View the entire playlist here, or select from the following videos:


This list will be updated as new programs occur throughout 2021.