Michigan Humanities is pleased to announce $171,925 in grants to 13 organizations in support of public humanities programming. The 13 projects explore a range of humanities topics and include exhibitions, oral histories, digital storytelling, speaker’s events, and digital placemaking.

“Our new round of Humanities Grantees are creating a diverse set of online and in-person projects to ensure the humanities remain vibrant in Michigan while we face these unprecedented times together,” said Shelly Kasprzycki, President and CEO of Michigan Humanities.

Humanities Grants award up to $15,000 per project to Michigan nonprofits doing work to support cultural, educational, and community-based public programming with a humanities element. These grants play a vital role in sharing our diverse culture, state, community, and identities, and are intended to connect us to Michigan’s rich cultural heritage and historical resources. Spring 2021 Humanities Grant draft proposals are currently being accepted with a final application deadline of March 18, 2021. Visit michiganhumanities.org for additional information.

Fall 2020 project details can be found on the Michigan Humanities website at michiganhumanities.org/humanities-grants. The organizations with award amounts, by county, are listed below.



By County—Fall 2020 Humanities Grant Awards   

Allegan County

Saugatuck-Douglas History Center—Century of Progress: A Timeline of Saugatuck-Douglas LBGTQ History, $8,250

Project Abstract: A Century of Progress tells the story of the Saugatuck-Douglas LGBTQ community over a period of more than 100 years. Why did Saugatuck become a haven for gay men and women? What was it like to identify as queer in the early and mid-20th century? What is the story of equality and human rights for the local LGBTQ community? What social and economic progress has the local gay and lesbian community made over the last 100 years? The exhibit will feature a wrap-around timeline with text, photos, artifacts, and more, all designed to convey highlights of the story of the LGBTQ community over the past 100 years including struggles experienced and progress made.

Emmet County

King House Association—King House Timeline Exhibit, $10,400

Project Abstract: We are requesting funding to cover the costs of designing museum-quality panels that will be arranged to create a timeline display telling the story of Middle Village/Good Hart from prehistory to the present. The panels will feature maps, photographs, drawings, and artifacts and will be installed around the interior walls of the newly renovated King House. The panels will be designed by John Metcalf of Good Design Group, A digital version of the timeline display will provide more in-depth information about different aspects of the story.

Grand Traverse County

The Writer’s Series of Traverse City—The Thanksgiving Play performance and discussion with Native American playwright Larissa FastHorse, $5,575

Project Abstract: The Writers Series will host a virtual staged reading performance of The Thanksgiving Play by Native American playwright Larissa FastHorse, followed by a live virtual interview and Q&A session with Ms. FastHorse. The event is a collaboration with Parallel 45 Theater in Traverse City. Ms. FastHorse will also spend the afternoon in the Front Street Writers classroom (virtual visit) talking to high school Juniors and Seniors enrolled in the program.

Gratiot County

Alma College—Three Nights at the Opera, $15,000

Project Abstract: Travel back in time to Alma at the turn of the 20th century, and enjoy three nights of recreated historical performances while learning about the city’s past. Over these three nights, the Wright Opera House will be returned to its glory days as the center of culture and community in the city. Featured historical performances will include vocalists, dramatic scenes, readings of verse, a silent film with live music, and even a visit from the Alma College Glee Club. Each performance will be preceded by a discussion of the role that the opera house played in the city’s history and concluded by an open discussion of the performance.

Mackinac County

Museum of Ojibwa Culture—Honoring Our Hometown Native American Heroes, $15,000

Project Abstract: Many of our Native American Veterans have not felt honored after returning from military service, especially for those who served in Vietnam and are unable to leave behind the psychological trauma of war. This project is being created to empower our community to honor the sacrifice and service of our local hometown heroes and will send a clear message to our residents and visitors that we appreciate our armed service men and women, past, present and future. With the applied humanities aspect of understanding this trauma and the need for an honoring project we will create custom designed, all-weather commemorative banners that feature service details and photos of local military veterans.

Marquette County

Northern Michigan University—The Decolonization Exhibition, $13,226

Project Abstract: The project proposed for this opportunity is entitled, “The Decolonizing Exhibition.” It will tell the story of the Native American people of the Upper Peninsula (known as the Anishinaabeg) through their personal experiences and perspective. Native American students and faculty at Northern Michigan University, working through and with the Center for Native American Studies (CNAS), Native American Student Association (NASA) and the Great Lakes Peace Center (GLPC), will develop the narrative, design and install the exhibition, with the assistance of the Beaumier U.P. Heritage Center. In addition, a second traveling version of the exhibition will be created that will tour the Upper Peninsula.

Mecosta County

Ferris State University—Preservation and Exhibition of the Bruce Davidson Photo Collection, $15,000

Project Abstract: The proposed project is to preserve and exhibit 15-30 photographs from the Jim Crow Museum’s collection of Bruce Davidson photographs chronicling the Civil-Rights movement of the 1960s. This effort seeks to protect these photographs and prepare the collection to be shared among cultural, educational, and community-based organizations as a traveling exhibition depicting and documenting Black America’s struggle for Civil-Rights. This project is necessary to document and share the legacy of struggle, achievement, and action associated with human responses to enduring injustices surrounding race and racism and to inspire others to continue to document and strive for social justice.

Midland County

Midland Center for the Arts—Midland County Historical Society Oral History Project, $14,475

Project Abstract: The Midland County Historical Society Oral History Project will capture over 100 hours of oral history interviews from community members of Midland, Michigan as they share their stories relating to the COVID-19 pandemic and Midland 500-year flood. The oral history audio recordings and summaries will be available online and at the Historical Society’s research library and a “virtual” exhibit will be linked on the Center’s website. In addition, a physical exhibition will be produced and will feature vignettes in storefront windows throughout downtown Midland. Grant funds will be matched with Center dollars received from community members and Center donors.

Temple Arts—Wonderfully Made: The Artis Family Collection of African American Art, $15,000

Project Abstract: “Wonderfully Made” is an exhibition of outstanding African-American art collected and curated by one Michigan family and supports the museum’s mission to provide inclusive programming that serves all residents of the Great Lakes Bay region. This exhibition is significant in both its artistic and cultural merit. It supports the Museum’s mission to bring more inclusive programming to the Great Lakes Bay region — to make the museum more relevant and accessible to all residents. A provisional checklist of the works set for exhibition as well as images from a past installation are provided in the attachments section.

Saginaw County

Saginaw Valley State University—Two Exhibitions Centered on Michigan’s Contributions to Hip Hop and Architecture, $15,000

Project Abstract: The Marshall M. Fredericks Sculpture Museum is requesting Michigan Humanities support for the following two humanities exhibitions with complementary programming: Hip Hop Top 10 and Michigan Modern: An Architectural Legacy. Each exhibition will feature a variety of educational programs for youth and adults including lectures, workshops, hands-on activities, and (in person and/or virtual) field trips. The Museum will also develop and deliver complementary online content for each exhibition. These humanities exhibitions and programs will expose visitors to new ideas and artistic expressions while fostering a sense of community through the exchange of ideas during and after visiting.

Wayne County

Marygrove Conservancy—Digitizing Marygrove’s Defining Detroit Collection, $15,000

Project Abstract: The Defining Detroit Collection (DDC) project’s overarching goal is to digitize and preserve an important Detroit historical and cultural collection and build accompanying art-infused lesson plans to ensure widespread and long-term accessibility for multiple audiences. The project team—consisting of Marygrove Conservancy staff, professors emeriti, Detroit Historical Society staff, and several consultants with extensive experience in the humanities, archival sciences, community activism, and education—will curate the collection and create a schedule of programming and educational resources for all ages, as well as plans and policy recommendations for its sustainability.

Planet Detroit–(RE)Storying Agency: (RE)Mapping and (RE)Imagining the Terrain of Metro

Detroit, $15,000

Project Abstract: Our project will engage metro Detroit residents in a participatory experience exploring local ecology, environmental justice, and human interaction with the natural world. Guided and grounded by community experts, we will create a multimedia self-guided participatory tour, short audio/video pieces, and a web archive centered on sites of interest in Metro Detroit. In a time where we are struggling to feel connected with each other and the earth due to the coronavirus pandemic and a legacy of environmental injustice, this project will encourage reconnection and critical imaginative thinking about our cultural relationships to the ecology of the region.

St. Joseph County-Indiana

Michiana Public Broadcasting—A Story of the Pokagon Band of the Potawatomi, $15,000

Project Abstract: The Pokagon Band of the Potawatomi has a complex story beginning before time was written and continuing beyond the future. This documentary tells the stories of the Pokagon Band people and their relationship to southwestern Michigan and northern Indiana. The main concept of the documentary is how the Pokagon culture survived and how it will be preserved into the future. These questions will be explored through their careful preservation of culture, history, ecology, art, music, language and tradition.