Annual State History Conference

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138th Annual Meeting and State History Conference
September 28-30, 2012
Monroe, MI




Friday, September 28

9-12 Pre-Conference Workshop

Monroe County Community College, La-Z-Boy Center, 1555 S. Raisinville Road, Monroe

Oral History for Local History Organizations and Genealogists
Tamara Barnes, Historical Society of Michigan & James Cameron, Michigan Department of Education
This workshop will focus on the process of developing and implementing an oral history project including identifying interview subjects, developing a questionnaire, using digital technology, and making oral histories accessible to the public. Case studies will include the “African American Experience in Salem County Oral History Project,” showing how small historical museums and churches can benefit  from such a program and how oral history can be used to complement the work of genealogists.

Conference attendees: $25. To register for the workshop only — HSM Members: $35, Non-members: $45

12-4 Conference Registration Quality Inn and Suites, 1225 N. Dixie Highway, Monroe

1-4 Pre-Conference Tours
Tours run CONCURRENTLY—Choose only one. Participants drive their own vehicles to start location of Tours 1 and 3.

Tour 1
River Raisin National Battlefield/War of 1812 (self-drive to tour location) 1403 E. Elm Avenue, Monroe Tour participants will drive to the location of the battlefield in Monroe and take a personal tour led by historian Ralph Naveaux. Learn about this key battle in what is often referred to as the second war for independence. Walking is required. $15

Tour 2
The Museums of Monroe (Bus transport provided)
Tour participants will board a bus leaving from the Quality Inn and Suites to visit the museums of Monroe, including the La-Z-Boy Museum, Navarre-Anderson Trading Post, Labor History Museum, and the Monroe County Historical Museum.
Guides will be at each site. $15

Tour 3
Immaculate Heart of Mary (IHM) Motherhouse (self-drive to tour location) 610 W. Elm Avenue, Monroe. Participants will meet at the IHM Motherhouse to tour the historically significant building situated on 210 acres. Constructed in 1932 in the American Craftsman style, it features inlaid decorative tile floors, exposed beams in the hallways and much more. A chapel forms the central wing of the Motherhouse with a magnificent organ overlooking the main floor. An archives for the order is located on site.  Tour leader will be Sister Mary Jo Maher. $15

4:30 President’s Reception
Monroe County Community College, La-Z-Boy
Center,1555 S. Raisinville Road, Monroe
Publication State History Awards presented at 5 pm.

6:00 State History Awards Banquet
Monroe County Community College, La-Z-Boy Center

Saturday, September 29

8-12 Conference Registration
Monroe County Community College, La-Z-Boy Center
1555 S. Raisinville Road, Monroe

8:30 Annual HSM Business Meeting

9:00 Opening Keynote

10-11:15 Concurrent Sessions I

Breakout 1
The Boy Governor Stevens T. Mason and the Birth of Michigan Politics
Don Faber, Author and Journalist
In death, he was called “a statesman of enlarged views,” and in life he flared like a comet across the skies of
early Michigan. Stevens T. Mason, who served as acting governor before he was of voting age, led Michigan
into statehood, fought a war with Ohio, and put in place many of the institutions the state enjoys today.
Although he knew humiliation and disgrace, Mason wrote his persona on Michigan in large letters, and he
stands in the front ranks of our state’s great men and women. 

Breakout 2
Fermi Fuel Melting Incident: A Nuclear Accident Long Before Three Mile Island
Earl Page, Nuclear Safety Engineer and Risk Analyst at Fermi 2, Retired
In 1966, long before the well-known Three Mile Island accident, a fuel melting incident occurred at Fermi 1, a liquid metal fast breeder prototype reactor south of Detroit. Fermi operators were challenged to discover its cause and to effect a repair. Learn how this event unfolded and what was learned.

Breakout 3
Industrial History of Monroe County
Rob Peven, Monroe County Planning Director
Monroe has a long and unique industrial history that continues to this day. Monroe County’s planning director will share the story of major and minor companies that had an impact on Michigan and beyond; some of the successes, challenges, and failures; where the county is now; and plans for the future.

Breakout 4 - Mini-Workshop
What is Real? How to Detect Reprints of Newspapers

Rick Brown,
There have been more than 600 newspaper editions that were reprinted—and 95 percent of them were produced well over 100 years ago! To the untrained eye, many of these specimens appear to be original. Using a reprint detector’s kit, attendees will ferret out what is real and what is not. 

11:15-11:45 Exhibits Open & Networking Time

11:45-1:30 Luncheon and Keynote 

Michigan Historic Sites from a National Perspective
Mary A. Bomar
National Park Service Director, Retired Nationally known speaker and champion for resource preservation, the Honorable Mary A. Bomar will emphasize the importance of collaboration and cooperation in ensuring a bright future for cultural resources as she highlights Michigan’s National Parks. Annual Meeting Raffle will follow the speaker 

1:30-2:45 Concurrent Sessions II

Breakout 5
The Tragic Effect of Michigan’s Indian Policy on Monroe County’s Native Pottawatomi
Dorothy Heinlen, Dundee Old Mill Museum and Monroe County Historical Commission
This session will explore Michigan’s Indian Policy and its dramatic impact on Monroe County’s Native Americans. The presenter will discuss what happened to their reserve, the human toll these policies took, and how they have coped through the years.

Breakout 6
Remember the Ladies: Women in Michigan Politics
Judy Karandjeff, League of Women Voters
While women make up 51 percent of the population, the number who serve in public office does not reflect that percentage. Judy Karandjeff will highlight historical and current female political figures who have had an impact in Michigan politics. She will also share data on women in politics, and discuss some of the reasons women do—and do not—run for office. She will also describe resources that are available to help women who are considering public service.

Breakout 7
“The Eyes of the Nation Are On Monroe”: The Newton Steel Strike
Jim DeVries, Monroe County Community College
For a brief 10-day period in the Spring of 1937, the eyes of the nation were on Monroe. Local history became national, and the entire community marched forth on center stage to play a significant role in the pivotal "Little Steel" strike of 1937. Oral histories completed with the participants in the 1980s provide a “new” slant on the meaning of the flow of events. 

Breakout 8 - Mini-workshop
Preserving Windows to the Past: The Handling and Storage of Scrapbooks
Kristen Lynn Chinery, Archivist
Scrapbooks have been a popular means of collecting memories for generations and provide a unique record of everyday life. With their assortment of photographs, newspaper clippings, pressed flowers, badges, invitations, and postcards, these windows into the past can be a preservation challenge. Archivist Kristen Chinery will discuss simple methods for the handling and storage of scrapbooks that will ensure continued access to these historical items.

2:45-3:15 Refreshment Break—Exhibits open

3:15-4:30 Concurrent Sessions III

Breakout 9
Before God and the Devil: The Black Legion, 1925-1936
Edmund La Clair, Monroe County Community College
In 1925, disillusioned members of the Klu Klux Klan created a secret vigilante organization to breathe vibrancy into the corrupt Klan. By 1936, America watched in shock as police uncovered evidence of arsons, murders, and even plots to overthrow the government. History professor Edmund La Clair will discuss the evolution and activities of the notorious Black Legion from its inception up through the organization’s collapse.

Breakout 10
The Boys of '61: The Michigan Battery
Matthew Switlik, Monroe County Historical Museum, Retired
This presentation takes a look at the personnel, motivation, and operations of Michigan’s first artillery unit in the Civil War. Later known as “Loomis’ Battery,” it had a unique origin which affected its history throughout the war and into postwar reunions. An extensive collection of veteran photos, collected in 1895, is central to the presentation.

Breakout 11
El Museo del Norte: A Museum Without Walls Jennifer Garcia Peacock, Graduate Student, American Culture Department, University of Michigan Elena Herrada, Director, Fronteras Norteñas Maria Cotera, Associate Professor, American Culture Department, University of Michigan Since 2009, the University of Michigan has been collaborating with community groups in southwest Detroit to create a grass roots museum and cultural center that could document the historical presence of Latinos in Michigan. After much thought, stakeholders decided to develop a "museum without walls" that would bring greater attention to the long history of Latinos in the region and raise awareness about the need for a center that documents this history. This session will talk about the challenges and successes that  the project has encountered as well as highlight some of the unique history Latinos bring to the region.

Breakout 12 - Mini-workshop
Diversity Outreach through Creative Collaborations
Christopher Lee, University of Michigan
The University of Michigan’s Eisenberg Institute, the African American Cultural and Historical Museum of Washtenaw County and the Historical Society of Michigan recently joined forces to expand diversity outreach in history. Christopher Lee, a PhD candidate in U-M’s School of Education, will share his experiences and challenges as he worked to expand Michigan History Day participation in Southeast Michigan’s urban school districts. He will also discuss his projects in Ann Arbor and offer insight into what he sees as the challenges and opportunities for diversity outreach among historical institutions.

6:30 Closing Banquet & Keynote
IHM Motherhouse, 610 W. Elm Ave., Monroe
PLEASE NOTE: This special event is NOT included with your conference registration and requires a separate ticket.
Members $35, Non-members $40. Due to the location of the banquet, only non-alcoholic refreshments will be available.


Sunday, September 30

9:00-10:30 Historic Downtown Monroe Walking Tour
Tour departs from the Monroe County Historical Museum, 126 S. Monroe St.
Chris Kull, Monroe County Historical Museum
John Patterson, Monroe County Convention & Tourism Bureau

As we close the 2012 State History Conference, join us for a Sunday morning walking tour of historic downtown Monroe. Founded in 1785 and incorporated in 1817, Monroe is Michigan’s third oldest city and is the site of a War of 1812
battlefield. Three historic districts, including the central business district, have been established. Many of the buildings in the central business district are over 100 years old.