Information Contacts:    

Jim Schmiechen
(269) 857-5605 / 414-9199

John Peters
(269) 857-2967

Click HERE for a pdf of
the news release or the image below for a high resolution copy.




"Tales of the Villages", a new treat being prepared for the Saugatuck Museum's south gallery, integrates a 6-foot high, 12-foot wide illustrated color wall map of the Saugatuck-Douglas area with an interactive computer display to provide a virtual tour through these historic villages, highlighting significant people, places and events of both past and present. Map artwork, being created by Holland artist-cartographer Mark Cook based on Historical Society research, recalls the entertaining illustration/poster maps of the 1940-50 era, combining street layouts with stylized sketches and notes.

More than three years in development, this project has been made possible by gifts from Douglas Dunes Resort and Macatawa Bank totaling $20,000, with matching funds from the Saugatuck/Douglas Historical Society. According to Project Director and Museum Chair Jim Schmiechen, a historian at Central Michigan University, "We've long envisioned this as the centerpiece of a permanent exhibit that will offer thousands of annual Museum visitors an engaging way to soak up the story of the Saugatuck-Douglas area with the sweep of an illustrated map. The museum and the Historical Society are grateful to the Dunes Resort and Macatawa Bank for generously helping to make it a reality."

The new exhibit, he adds, is targeted to be in place for the Museum's 2008 opening next Memorial Day.

As many as 70 map-highlighted references will be keyed by number to let visitors select and learn about sites of interest to them by calling up information, narratives and images via several video/interactive touch-screen terminals near the map. The screens also will offer topical "interactive programs" such as History of Hotels/Boarding Houses; History of Boatbuilding and Boat Builders; Buildings and Architecture; Artists and Painting; Local Biographies; History of Saugatuck-Douglas Schools; and 13 Tales of the Villages. Also retrievable are local history videos: The Story of the Big Pavilion; and A Video History of Saugatuck and Douglas.

In addition, the computers will allow public access to the Historical Society's digitized archives of historical photos, pages of The Commercial Record dating back to 1868, the Saugatuck-Douglas Building Survey and more.

Cook has been creating maps for various publications for 25 years, with special interest in historical projects. In 2003 he teamed with painter Gijsbert van Frankenhuyzen [sic] to produce a colorful Saugatuck Dunes poster map for Friends of the Saugatuck Dunes State Park. With his son Brian he produced the original "Tales from the Villages" map that was part of the Saugatuck Museum's award-winning 2005 exhibit. He also created the large wall map of Michigan troop movements featured in the Museum's Civil War exhibit of 2006. His work will highlight two upcoming Hope College publications -- one a chronicle of Chief Waukazoo and the early Holland colony and the other a volume of memoirs of Hope College during World War II years.

Voted "Best Museum" by Lake Magazine readers in 2005 and winner of a dozen state awards for exhibition and publication design, the Saugatuck-Douglas Museum is 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 "learning stations" along its harbor-front walkway. It was selected as one of four sites for the 2007 International Society of Architectural Historians "Architectural History Tour" in October, along with sites in Palm Springs (CA), Berlin and Tokyo.

Founded in 1992, the 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, now closed for the winter, is open noon to 4:00pm daily from Memorial Day through August, then Saturday/Sunday in September and October. It is staffed by Saugatuck-Douglas Historical Society volunteers; admission and parking are free.

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Saugatuck Museum to add Interactive Map Exhibit
Gathering in the Saugatuck-Douglas Museum for a first look at a scaled-down prototype of the new "Tales of the Villages" interactive map exhibit are (L to R) Dan Esterline, co-owner of Douglas Dunes Resort, artist Mark Cook, Museum Chair/historian Jim Schmiechen and Lisa Lungaro, Douglas Branch Manager for Macatawa Bank.