In The News

Friday, March 4, 2022
‘Grand Rapids deserves this’  |  African American Museum and Archives Eyes New Home

The founder is working to move the Museum to a location at the edge of downtown and the Heritage Hill neighborhood that's nine times larger than the current one.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich — On a Tuesday afternoon, George Bayard is hard at work at the Grand Rapids African American Museum and Archives. The venue just hosted a comedy show, and Bayard spent much of the afternoon putting artifacts back in their normal spot within the museum.

"When you look at Grand Rapids and the stories that are here, when you look at the people that came from here, and you look at all the information that we've discovered just in the seven years that we've been here, 2,000 square feet is not enough room to tell all those stories," he said. [READ MORE]


Friday, September 23, 2016
GRHS Members Receive State History Award

M. Christine Byron and Thomas R. Wilson of Grand Rapids were awarded a State History Award from the Historical Society of Michigan at the State History Conference in Alpena on Friday, September 23. Their book, “Vintage Views Along Scenic M-22 Including Sleeping Bear Dunes,” was selected as one of the publication recipients of this prestigious award. The book was published in 2015 by Vintage Views Press and is available at local bookstores.
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Co-authors M. Christine Byron and Thomas R. Wilson are presented their State History Award from Janet Mendler of the Historical Society of Michigan

Contact Information:
M. Christine Byron or Thomas R. Wilson


Thursday, August 18, 2016
Rethinking Grand Rapids’ cemeteries: How the historic spaces can shape the city’s future

By Justin Farrar, Rapid Growth Media reporter

GRAND RAPIDS, MI — My family spends its weekends with dead relatives. Strange, I know. Hear me out: We relocated to Grand Rapids last December. To help evoke a sense of roots in our new community, I started researching the many ancestors I have residing in the city’s cemetery system. I myself may be new to Grand Rapids, but no less than four generations of my family, including great-great-great-grandparents who rolled into town 30 years after its founding in 1826 and a great-great-grandmother who had a house on Lake Street built exclusively for her Persian cats, all built livelihoods, raised children and, finally, left this mortal coil right here in Furniture City.
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May 15, 2015
Grand Rapids Press Reporter Garret Ellison honored with 2015 Baxter Award by the Grand Rapids Historical Society

By Sharon Hanks  |  The Rapidian

GRAND RAPIDS, MI — Grand Rapids Press Reporter Garret Ellison was honored with the 2015 Baxter Award Thursday, May 14, by the Grand Rapids Historical Society.   The award was presented in recognition of Garret's  numerous, highly researched and widely read news articles appearing in The Press and MLive that significantly contributed to the preservation and interpretation of the Grand River Valley history.
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January 13, 2015
Downtown library to host Historical Society’s ‘History Detectives Day’

By Eric Tank  |  The Rapidian

GRAND RAPIDS, MI — The Grand Rapids Historical Society will introduce attendees to stories from our city’s history, including the bulldozing of downtown in the name of urban renewal, furniture factories and the legacy of Fannie Boylon, Grand Rapids’ first female home designer.

On Saturday, January 17 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. the Grand Rapids Public Library (GRPL) downtown branch (111 Library St. N.W.) will host “History Detectives Day” presented by the Grand Rapids Historical Society.
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January 6, 2015
Design architects to share stories of Old Federal Building’s transformations

By Cathy Lawrence  |  The Rapidian

GRAND RAPIDS, MI — When’s the last time you were inside the Old Federal Building? Was it during a long-ago GRAM Friday night wine, cheese and jazz event for singles? During a school trip to the Egyptian exhibit? When it was “The Hub” in the early days of ArtPrize?

In 2010, the building was added to the Kendall College campus and its complete restoration was finished just two years later.
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December 29, 2014
History Detectives 2015 [Download: Program Brochure PDF]

By Melissa Fox  |  GRPL — Grand Rapids Public Library

GRAND RAPIDS, MI — History Detectives 2015 is set for Saturday, January 17! And we have a not-to-be-missed lineup of speakers and programs! There’s a little something for everyone! Topics range from Urban Renewal to the Kent County Poor Farm to the story of Grand Rapids’ first female home designer.

A little about History Detectives — the event features local historians who present their research projects and resources. Eight organizations co-sponsor the program: Grand Rapids Public Library, Grand Rapids Historical Commission, Grand Rapids Historical Society, Grand Rapids Civil War Round Table, Grand Rapids Public Museum, Greater Grand Rapids Women’s History Council, the Kutsche Office of Local History at Grand Valley State University, and the Western Michigan Genealogical Society.
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September 3, 2014
Resting place of pioneers: Historian to guide Fulton Street Cemetery tours

By Garret Ellison |
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GRAND RAPIDS, MI — Venerable pioneer John Ball once survived a shipwreck off the Georgia coast, swam six miles to shore and paid for his ticket home by teaching school children for a winter in the town of Darien.

Ball, who donated the land that’s now John Ball Park and Zoo, led a remarkable life before ever setting foot in Grand Rapids. The large boulder that marks his grave was dug from the hillside, which he donated to the city.
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June 13, 2014
Local couple has kept the books on local history for 25 years [GRHS Baxter Award Recipients 2014]

By Jeffrey Cunningham |
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GRAN RAPIDS, MI — Henry Boersma still looks at his wife Louise “Loekie” Boersma with a twinkle in his eye — like he did more than 70 years ago.

The couple first met in a math class as freshman at Calvin College. “She was the first and only girl I ever dated,” Henry said. “And the only girl I ever kissed.”

The two have been making history together for the last 66 years. They also were recently honored by the Grand Rapids Historical Society with the Albert Baxter Award. The award is presented annually to someone who has contributed to the preservation and interpretation of the history of the Grand River Valley.
[read more]


November 7, 2013
Learn how beer brewing started in Grand Rapids at historical society presentation

By Garret Ellison |
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GRAND RAPIDS, MI — In the early 1800s, if you wanted some purified liquid, you didn’t reach for a glass of water. You reached for a beer.

Grand Rapids Historic society board member Bill Seeger will share the story of how beer brewing started in West Michigan next week during a free presentation at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum.

Seeger, who has spent many years researching how English and German immigrants brought beer to "Beer City USA," will explain the beverage’s historical significance as an alternative to tepid water of early America.
[read more]