Area Historians Receive State Awards

Contributed by Historical Society of Michigan

logoLANSING (MICH.)— The Historical Society of Michigan announces its 2018 State History Awards, which will be presented during its annual Michigan History Conference in Sturgis, Michigan, Sept. 21-23, 2018.  The Society presents the State History Awards every year to individuals and organizations that have made outstanding contributions to the appreciation, collection, preservation and/or promotion of state and local history. The awards are the highest recognition presented by the Historical Society of Michigan, the state’s official historical society and oldest cultural organization.

Area historian and author will be recognized for their work:

A State History Award in the category of Books: Private Printing will be presented to Muriel Zandstra for the self-published book “Armand Merizon: His Life and Art 1920-2010.” Michigan artist Armand Merizon was born in Kalamazoo in 1920 and, at the age of three, moved with his family to Grand Rapids. There, he spent the rest of his life in a conservative Dutch community where his drive to create art prevailed despite discouragement from his family, church and community. His astounding body of work ranged from realism to abstraction to impressionism. This book showcases some of Merizon’s best paintings, but this is not simply a coffee-table art book. The author also provides readers with an overview of the artist’s life and work, including his struggle with macular degeneration and arthritis.

Local artists, historians talk to Liqueur about Paige's story.
Murphy Darden (second from right) talks to visiting artist.  Community Voices

The Historical Society of Michigan will present a State History Award in the category of Communications: Websites to Lin Starr Pollard of Dowagiac for the creation of a website for the Underground Railroad Society of Cass County. When the society discovered the importance of its online presence, it quickly began ventures into the digital sector with a website centered on the history of the Underground Railroad in Cass County, as well as an update on the society’s activities and restoration processes in the area. The society’s website is an excellent example of the power of technology to deliver relevant history.

A State History Award in the category of Education: Educational Programs will go to Diana Agy of the Jackson College Heritage Center in Jackson for the documentary “Answering the Call.” This past year, the center created a documentary film and two genealogical quilts recognizing the life’s work of William Maher and his quest to keep the memory of his friends’ service alive for future generations. “Answering the Call” is a multimedia project focused on the history of Zenneth Pond, one of Maher’s friends who lost his life during a military flight mission. Students organized the documentary and worked with the Jackson Michigan Recruiting Center’s active military to provide a tribute to the fallen soldier during the program’s presentation.

The Historical Society of Michigan will present a State History Award in the category of Education: Educator to Murphy Darden of Kalamazoo in recognition of his outstanding work in African-American history education. Darden has devoted the last 20 years to the preservation and interpretation of African-American history. His grasp of the importance of history and material culture has led him to acquire a priceless collection of artifacts pertaining to African-American history in Kalamazoo; his home state of Mississippi; African-American cowboys; and other artifacts that relate to the Jim Crow Era, agriculture, and the military.

The 18 winners are: (Detailed descriptions of each recipient are listed at the end of this news release.)

·         Lifetime Achievement AwardStanley “Stan” Bozich of Frankenmuth

·         Distinguished Volunteer ServiceJoan Bulley of East China

·         Distinguished Professional ServiceKarl Crawford of Petoskey

·         Books: University & Commercial Press

o   “Building the Modern World: Albert Kahn in Detroit” by Michael Hodges(Wayne State University Press)

o    “Manoomin: The Story of Wild Rice in Michigan” by Barbara J. Barton(Michigan State University Press)

o    “The Poisoned City: Flint’s Water and the American Urban Tragedy” byAnna Clark (Metropolitan Books)

·         Books: Private Printing

o   “Armand Merizon: His Life and Art 1920-2010” by Muriel Zandstra (Muriel Zandstra)

o    “Before Fair Lane: Historic Homes from Henry Ford’s Hometown—Dearborn, Michigan (1832-1916)” by Glenn O’Kray (The Museum Guild of Dearborn)

·         Books: Children & Youth

o   “To the Copper Country: Mihaela’s Journey” by Barbara Carney-Coston(Wayne State University Press)

·         BusinessesDetroit History Tours in Highland Park

·         Communications: WebsitesLin Starr Pollard of Dowagiac for the website for the Underground Railroad Society of Cass County

·         Education: Educational ProgramsDiana Agy of the Jackson College Heritage Center in Jackson for the documentary “Answering the Call”

·         Education: EducatorMurphy Darden of Kalamazoo

·         InstitutionsFlint Public Library in Flint

·         MediaHolland Film Group in Holland for “Wilderness to World Class”

·         Restoration/PreservationHistoric Ottawa Beach Society in collaboration with Ottawa County Parks and Recreation in Holland

·         Special Programs/EventsBarnes-Hecker Mine Remembrance Committee in Negaunee

·         Best Article in Michigan History Magazine“Pedaling Beyond the Petticoats: Women Cyclists in the Gilded Age” by Roger Gilles of Grand Rapids

The Michigan History Conference explores significant people, places and events in Michigan’s past through a diverse offering of keynote speakers, breakout sessions, workshops and tours. Each year, the conference moves to a different location to feature the local history of that area and to address notable statewide historical matters. Registration closes Sept. 14.

The lead sponsors of this year’s Michigan History Conference are The Meijer Foundation and the Sturgis Area Community Foundation Newell A. & Grace A. Franks Fund. The conference is also sponsored by Abbott Nutrition, Burr Oak Tool & Oak Press Solutions, the City of Sturgis, Designs by Vogt’s, Glen Oaks Community College, GT Independence, River Country Tourism Council, the St. Joseph County Commission on Aging and Sturgis Bank & Trust Company.

The Historical Society of Michigan also hosts the Upper Peninsula History Conference, which focuses on the history of the Upper Peninsula, and Michigan in Perspective: The Local History Conference, which concentrates on Southeast Michigan and statewide history.

The Historical Society of Michigan is the state’s oldest cultural organization, founded in 1828 by territorial governor Lewis Cass and explorer Henry Schoolcraft. A nongovernmental nonprofit, the Society focuses on publications, conferences, education, awards and recognition programming, and support for local history organizations to preserve and promote Michigan’s rich history.


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