Information Contacts:  

Click HERE for a pdf of
the news release.

Jon Helmrich
(269) 857-3574

John Peters
(269) 857-2967


JUNE 15, 2009 -- WGVU-FM's Morning Show with Shelley Irwin will air a special half-hour show about this year's new exhibit at the Saugatuck-Douglas Historical Society Museum on Friday, June 26 at 9:30 a.m. The show can be heard on radio at 88.5 and 95.3 FM or 1480 and 850 AM, or on-line at

Historical Society member Jon Helmrich, Irwin's co-host for the station's monthly "View From The Dunes" feature, will join Irwin in talks with exhibit curator and writer Jim Schmiechen, noted West-Michigan historian Kit Lane and Society President Harold Thieda, in an interview session recorded a few days earlier at the Museum. The group will discuss the intricacies of creating "Summertime... A Century of Leisure at the Lake Michigan Shore", arguably the most ambitious exhibit in recent memory, as well as its new exhibit-related book, an updated and expanded edition of the Society's Big Pavilion book written by Kit Lane and designed by Society member Ken Carls.

Helmrich, who created the monthly "View" feature for The Morning Show in February of 2007, has since helped the show enhance our community's recognition through interviews with key area leaders ranging from city officials and association executives to artists and gallery owners, entertainment venue operators, preservationists, business owners and events coordinators. Meanwhile, Irwin recently received a Merit Award for Community Involvement from the Michigan Association of Broadcasters for her "End of Summer Tour" feature recorded in the Saugatuck/Douglas area.

Since its recent season opening on Memorial Day weekend, the Museum already has recorded more than 1500 visitors, an 80% increase over the same period last year. It has become one of Michigan's best-known and most-visited small-town museums, annually drawing nearly 10,000 visitors to its exhibits and more than 40,000 visitors to its outdoor garden and harbor-front walkway. Winner of a dozen state awards in recent years, it was selected as one of only four world-wide sites for the International Society of Architectural Historians "Architectural History Tour" in October 2007.

Its 2009 exhibit combines digitized home movies and period photography with artifacts and scale models to document the origins and evolution of the lakeside recreation culture that has made this community a summertime vacation destination with growing nationwide attraction. Woven around a centerpiece walk-through structure that celebrates the 100th anniversary of the Big Pavilion's opening in 1909, the display features a video documenting the rise and fall of the Pavilion and houses a detailed model of that historic venue. Although conceived a year or more ago, the new exhibit's theme resonates with the National Trust for Historic Preservation's recent naming of Saugatuck-Douglas one of it's "Dozen Distinctive Destinations for 2009".

Founded in 1992, the Saugatuck-Douglas Historical Society Museum occupies the historic Saugatuck Pump House at 735 Park Street, along the west shore of the Kalamazoo River at Mt. Baldhead Park, a short walk north from the Saugatuck Chain Ferry landing. The Museum is open Noon to 4pm daily from Memorial Day (May 24) through August, then Saturdays/Sundays in September and October. Admission and parking are free. Tel: (269) 857-7900. See more information about the Historical Society, its Museum and its Old School House Discovery Center at

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