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Community Organizing for the Environment: Lessons from History
Sep
17
7:00 PM19:00

Community Organizing for the Environment: Lessons from History

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From the conservation movement which established state and national parks in the early part of the 20th century to the federal legislation of the seventies, the environmental movement has had a significant impact on everyone living in the United States for more than one hundred years.

Dr. David Benac, associate professor of history at Western Michigan University, has done extensive research on the American environmental movement as well as the history and heritage of the timber industry in culture and landscape. His research investigates how individuals and communities develop cultural ties to environments (built, natural, and landscape) and how these connections emerge in grassroots activism. On Tuesday, September 17 at 7:00 p.m., Dr. Benac will visit the North Berrien Historical Museum to detail substantial moments in environmental activism including one episode of national significance which came out of Berrien County.

No RSVP is required for this free event. Please contact peter@northberrienhistory.org with any questions.

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Pomona Point Neighbors at Paw Paw Lake
Nov
19
7:00 PM19:00

Pomona Point Neighbors at Paw Paw Lake

Join us as we dive into the waters of Paw Paw Lake’s rich history as a resort destination. Dr. Stephen Myers, a retired Professor of Medicine, moved to Pomona Point in 2008. His recent book, Pomona Point Neighbors at Paw Paw Lake, traces the growth of summer cottages and—later on—vacation homes along the shores and hills of the Point in the Fairview subdivision of Watervliet Township.

For his presentation, Dr. Myers will detail some of this history and how he became interested in the topic. He will also share information from his published biography of artist Charles Hetherington, a Chicago man who built one of the oldest surviving cottages in Fairview and is remembered as an American Expressionist painter.

No RSVP is required for this free program.

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When War Came to Dorr
Aug
20
7:00 PM19:00

When War Came to Dorr

Historian and museum exhibit designer Valerie van Heest will share the story of how a recent WZZM newscast shed light on the long-forgotten story of three preteen boys from Dorr, Michigan, who found a strange object floating downward from the sky, that years later they learned was a FU-GO balloon, an unusual weapon launched by the Japanese near the end of World War II.

This newscast led to Van Heest’s involvement in fleshing out the local story and studying the amazing history of the FU-GO balloons, which, though ultimately unsuccessful in their mission to wreak widespread havoc and destruction in America, were a scientific marvel as the first experiment with the concept of an intercontinental ballistic missile. The newscast also led to the acquisition of the very balloon that landed in Dorr, Michigan, 74 years ago.

No RSVP is required for this free program. Questions may be directed to peter@northberrienhistory.org or call the North Berrien Historical Museum at (269) 468-3330.

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Agriculture History Day
Aug
17
12:00 PM12:00

Agriculture History Day

Southwest Michigan if often referred to as a “fruit belt.” Therefore, the North Berrien Historical Museum is dedicating a day to learning about the agricultural history of the area.

Visitors will step back in time to an era when the bushel basket was an essential component of the fruit market. There will be multiple opportunities for former workers of Benton Harbor Fruit Market, Monte Package Co., Saranac Machine Co., and St. Joe Iron Works to REUNITE WITH FAMILIAR FACES. Tours of the museum’s collection of basket machinery by Sam Monte of Monte Package Co. and Bob Hatch of St. Joe Iron Works will begin at 12:00 p.m. and 2:00 p.m.

CALLING ALL KIDS! We have a program designed just for you! Harvesting History: Picking & Packing the Fruit Belt will take place at 1:00 p..m. and 3:00 p.m. Kids ages 6–12 will learn through craft making and demonstrations about the significance of Southwest Michigan’s Fruit Belt and how it supplied markets in Chicago and beyond. All children participating in this free program will walk away with their own handmade craft and a better understanding of local agriculture.

No RSVP is required for this free event. Snack and refreshments will be available. For questions, contact peter@northberrienhistory.org or call the Museum at (269) 468-3330.

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Nature Nuggets Book Signing
Aug
8
7:00 PM19:00

Nature Nuggets Book Signing

Retired Sarett naturalists Chuck Nelson and Dick Schinkel have had many experiences—some funny, some insightful, some just weird. These were not limited to Berrien County, with forays to China, Kenya, and the Galapagos Islands in their pocket.

The two have co-written and published a book, Nature Nuggets, which contains these adventures and anecdotes. The cover states that the authors “never let the facts get in the way of a good story.” Nelson and Schinkel will appear at the Museum to tell some of these stories as well as sell and sign copies (cash only).

No RSVP is required for this free program. Contact peter@northberrienhistory.org for questions or call the Museum at (269) 468-3330.

Photo by Don Campbell c/o The Herald Palladium

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Pere Marquette Railroad
Jul
16
7:00 PM19:00

Pere Marquette Railroad

The Pere Marquette Railroad operated in the Great Lakes region and the southern parts of Ontario for the first half of the 20th century. The Pere Marquette later became the Chesapeake & Ohio line, and now the CSX line.

Nadra Kissman, one of the founders of the New Buffalo Railroad Museum, will visit the North Berrien Historical Museum to discuss the commercial and cultural force of the Pere Marquette and how it helped develop and sustain the community.

No RSVP is required for this free event. Questions can be directed to peter@northberrienhistory.org or call the Museum at (269) 468-3330.

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Industry History Day
Jun
22
12:00 PM12:00

Industry History Day

North Berrien has been and still is an area flourishing with many industries. On June 22, the North Berrien Historical Museum will be celebrating these local achievements with a multifaceted event which will include a kids activity and craft, a lecture, and a celebration of the former Watervliet Paper Mill.

Watervliet Paper Mill, 12:00–4:00 p.m.: Employees, family members, and all others who are interested are invited to view the Museum's Paper Mill collection. Help identify photos, tell your story, and meet up with friends from past years.

Assembling the Past: Michigan's Automotive Industry for Kids, 1:00 p.m. & 3:00 p.m.: Kids ages 6–12 will learn what drove Michigan's automotive industry. They will run their own automotive assembly line, build rubber band cars, and test their vehicles for distance. Kids participating in this free program will take home their handmade toy. Please note that there are two opportunities for kids to participate in this program.

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Hagar Township's Jacobia
Jun
18
7:00 PM19:00

Hagar Township's Jacobia

The Jacobia Estate in Hagar Township was the brainchild of Henry William Jacobs—inventor, entrepreneur, aeronautical enthusiast—who foresaw Southwest Michigan’s potential to become a tourist mecca. The centerpiece of Jacobs’ eponymous resort was a 160-foot water tower with an observation deck. The 180-acre retreat upon which this structure stood was located along the shore of Lake Michigan and also included cottages, barns, a chapel, a dance pavilion, and a 150-foot stairway to the beach known as Jacob’s Ladder.

Although Jacobia only existed for a handful of years in the first quarter of the twentieth century, the legacy of its founder and his vision of Southwest Michigan’s tourism potential still endure. Using research and images, Peter Cook, the Programs Director of North Berrien Historical Museum, will detail the rise and fall of Jacobs and his towering ambition.

No RSVP is required for the free program. For questions, please email peter@northberrienhistory.org or call the Museum at (269) 468-3330.

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House of David: Myths & Fables Reviewed & Defused
Mar
19
7:00 PM19:00

House of David: Myths & Fables Reviewed & Defused

Founded in Benton Harbor as a religious society in 1903, the House of David has long been the subject of urban legends and tall tales. In an effort to dispel some of these mistruths, three representatives of the House of David will team up at the North Berrien Historical Museum on Tuesday, March 19 at 7:00 p.m. to present the numerous fables and misrepresentations of the House of David dating back to the 1920s up to the present.

Brian Ziebart is a trustee, archivist, and historian for the House of David and has spent more time with their collections than anyone else. Debbie Boyersmith is the preservationist for Eden Springs Park whose family was part of the House of David for many years. Ron Taylor is a trustee, archivist, historian, and the museum director whose family joined the House of David at Sydney, Australia, in 1919—100 years ago.

The presentation will take on three aspects of the falsehoods circulated and widely accepted: present day publications and broadcasts, the Eden Springs Park’s  many recognized features and entertainments, and a review of a twisted legal history that spanned a decade before the State Supreme Court overturned the several lower court decisions. But the legends have never died. The three speakers hope to make the presentation both entertaining and educational.

No RSVP is required for this free program. For questions, please call the Museum at (269) 468-3330 or email peter@northberrienhistory.org.

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