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[MI] Historical society opens 35th season

Historical society opens 35th season
Friday, May 27, 2005
By Helen Lounsbury

AU GRES - For the soul who thinks Michigan history is the stuff of dull, dry lectures, Arenac County Historical Society members beg the chance to show otherwise.

The group is in its 35th season, offering monthly programs May through September that depict Michigan people and events past. Professional presenters use storytelling, music, slide shows and re-enactment to engage audiences.

"Any one of these is going to give you a new look at history," says Barbara House, society trustee and program coordinator. "The presenters use humor and audience interaction to make history come to life. I love the whole season."

The season opened Thursday with Michael Deren impersonating a 1941 Civilian Conservation Corp. member, House says. Deren, a musician and songwriter, takes show-goers on a journey to discover what America's 3.4 million corpsmen did during the Great Depression.

In June, historian and educator Howard Taylor presents "Little Known Stories of Michigan's Past." Taylor, who founded a Depression-era farm settlement operating in Grayling, portrays real, not legendary, history, planners emphasize.

"He's a funny, animated storyteller," notes Gail Schmidt, whose Northeast Arts Council administers state cultural grants to museum programming. "And it's not Paul Bunyan stuff. People learn the real thing."

July's program sails to the high seas with Edmund Fitzgerald expert Michael Snyder. Snyder, a former school teacher and U.S. Coast Guardsman, spent 15 years researching the Fitzgerald tragedy, planners say. He'll describe the Great Lakes' uniqueness and how a storm, 30-foot waves and multiple currents worked together to shatter the Fitzgerald.

August and September programs shift to genealogy. On Aug. 25, descendants of Arenac settlers use family histories to present "Footprints Through Arenac County." Patrons, too, share family histories during this interactive presentation, House says.

In September, genealogy professionals give a "how to" session on researching. Presenters include the Latter Day Saints Family History Center director, from West Branch, and a Huron Shores Genealogical Society member.

Museum hours are 1-4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Memorial Day through Labor Day.

"We've got lots of new assessment books and other records coming in from (Arenac) townships," says Annabell Goodman, museum director. "And materials are name-indexed now, so its easier to find who you're looking for."

18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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