|The Castle Museum's "History on the Move" mobile museum|
by Janet I. Martineau
History is alive and well in mid-Michigan.
In the recent awarding of 17 State History Awards bestowed by the Historical Society of Michigan, the state’s official historical society, this area took home four of those awards.
The Castle Museum’s History on the Move museum on wheels was honored in the educational programs category. When schools faced a decline in money funding field trips, the Historical Society of Saginaw County modified a tractor-trailer, colorfully painted its exterior and filled its interior with artifacts to visit schools throughout Saginaw County.
Sheila Hempsted, on the staff at the Castle Museum, travels with the rig to present the free visits and hand-on programs which are available to all 14,000 public, charter, and private elementary school students (grades K-5).
Its first traveling exhibit dealt with archeology. It is now touring a lumbering era program.
“This award recognizes the hard work our team has completed to provide local culture and history to Saginaw County schools,” said Ken Santa, president & CEO of the Castle Museum, 500 Federal,.
In the category of publications/private printing, Roselynn Ederer of Thomas Township won for her book “Indiantown.” It features oral histories and information from newspapers, deeds and journals in delivering a history of two cultures—the Native Americans who lived there first and the German immigrants who followed them. The residents of Indiantown also played a significant role in developing Michigan’s agricultural industry.
Ederer has written numerous local history books, among them “Where Once the Tall Pines Stood,” “Growing Up on the Banks of the Mighty Tittabawassee,” “On the Banks of the Beautiful Saugenah,” “Church Bells in the Valley,” “Saginaw County” and “Thomas Township.”
Winning a publications/university and commercial press award was Edward C. Lorenz, on the history and political science faculty at Alma College, for his book “Civic Empowerment in an Age of Corporate Greed,” published by Michigan State University Press.
|Edward C. Lorenz|
In it Lorenz documents how corporate executives at Velsicol Chemical in St. Louis left behind an economically shattered community and some of the most heavily polluted industrial sites in America. Velsicol’s actions included stock and financial manipulations; the largest food contamination accident in American history when it mixed chemicals into cattle feed; environmental pollution and a massive shift of jobs overseas.
The book provides analyses and conclusions, and offers communities facing similar situations a blueprint for action.
And for his role in preserving, protecting and interpreting Michigan’s Native American history and culture, William Johnson received the distinguished professional service award.
For the past decade, Johnson has served as the curator of the Ziibiwing Center of Anishinabe Culture and Lifeways in Mount .Pleasant. Through his efforts, the center’s excellence in exhibits and events has earned it numerous awards, including the 2006 Museum Award from the Michigan Cultural Alliance, the 2008 Harvard University’s “Honoring Nations” Award, and a Gold Muse Award from the American Association of Museum’s Media and Technology Committee.
In 2011, Johnson became the chairman of the Michigan Anishinaabek Cultural Preservation and Repatriation Alliance. He worked as a coordinator of Flint’s Stone Street Ancestral Recovery and Reburial Project, helping oversee the proper burial of more than 108 ancestral remains and their associated funerary objects that were inadvertently discovered during a construction project. And he has also worked with many Michigan museums and colleges to accrue and respectfully inter Native American remains that had been removed from their resting places.
Johnson serves on the Mount Pleasant Indian Industrial Boarding School Committee. The boarding school, which operated from 1879 until 1934, sought to educate Native American children but also had the darker purpose of “taking the Indian out of the child.” The committee is charged with preserving and transforming this site to become a place of awareness, education and healing.