JUNE 28, 2009




Jim Schmiechen and Harold Thieda greet Jon Helmrich and Shelley Irwin on the patio, talk about the origins of the Museum and riverside garden.

Harold Thieda overviews the Society and its volunteer activities.

Strolling through the new exhibit, Jim Schmiechen pauses to explain the big-screen video presentation.

Kit Lane tells Irwin about the newly updated Big Pavilion book published for this year's exhibit.

Curtis Kamman comments on the experience of volunteering as a Museum docent.

WGVU-FM's Morning Show host Shelley Irwin and Society member Jon Helmrich, Irwin's co-host for the show's monthly "View From The Dunes" feature, visited the Museum on June 23 to tape interviews for a special half-hour show about this year's new exhibit. The show aired the following Friday, June 26 at 9:30 a.m., and can be revisited on-line via the station's web-site archive. Just click on the WGVU logo below and then click on the audio icon to listen to the broadcast

Irwin and Helmrich talked with exhibit curator and writer Jim Schmiechen, historian Kit Lane and Society President Harold Thieda, then visited with Curtis Kamman who was on duty as that day's volunteer docent along with his wife Mary. The interviews discussed 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 had 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".

See our newly updated web pages about the Museum and its 2009 exhibit - just click HERE.

Article and photos submitted by John Peters.


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The Saugatuck-Historical Museum is located in the historic Pump House at the foot of Mt. Baldhead on the west bank of the Kalamazoo River. The Museum will open Memorial Day weekend 2009 with a new exhibit titled:

"Summertime: A Century of Leisure at the Lake Michigan Shore"

The Museum will be open daily from Noon to 4 PM through Labor Day and on weekends in September and October from Noon to 4 PM.

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Tech Center Phone 269 857-7901

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